Meat Consumption Expected to Rise

Lowell Catlett On Ag, Part Three

Meat Consumption Increases as Population Rises

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Lowell Catlett, who is a Regents Professor emeritus in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and Extension Economics and was the Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University until he retired in 2015, told California Ag Today that increased income for the lower to middle classes is leading to an increase in meat consumption.

“As their incomes rise and they want to change their diets,” Catlett explained, “the first change they want to make is meat-based proteins. When we [isolate] just the income effect of the world getting more money, we must increase global meat output in the next 20 years by 50 percent. As of 2014, the average adult American consumed approximately 198 pounds of meat annually. By 2024, that number is expected to rise to 207.5 pounds.”

A surge in meat consumption requires increased grazing acreage for those production animals. “If the world grows to 9 billion people,” Catlett said, “we must double meat-based proteins — whatever they may be. I maintain most will come from intensive animal operations that are well-managed, more efficient, have a small impact on the environment, and cater to the overall physical health of the animal.”

“We’ll be doing most of that global meat supply in the United States because we have the infrastructure to provide those intensive animal operations,” Catlett said.

GMOs Are Part of Nature’s Technology

Lowell Catlett On Ag, Part Two

GMOs Are an Ancient Technology

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor
Lowell Catlett says GMOs have been around for thousands of years.

There is not a morsel of food that 7.2 billion people put it their mouth today that is not GMO. “That is called agriculture,” said Dr. Lowell Catlett, Ph.D. He is a futurist with a positive and upbeat predictions about agriculture.

Catlett gave California Ag Today the inside story on hybrids and GMOs. One question arose about whether hybrids are indeed considered genetically modified organisms. “Of course they are,” he said. “If you want to say it’s transngenetic, somebody moved a gene out of a fish into corn, that’s trans genetic. If you say GMO, that’s all of agriculture.”

What many people do not understand is that their non-GMO products, do come from GMO sources. “I get a kick out of people saying, ‘Well, this is non-GMO milk for ice cream.’ That Holstein has been genetically modified for 400 years. She is a genetically modified organism. There is no question about it,” Catlett said.

“We have the ability to move things around with genetics. The whole green revolution that gave people more food than at any time in history was all about accelerating genetically. Genetic modification in the old traditional ways is [what] we now call hybridization or crossing, ” Catlett said.

Corn is a GMO crop as well. “It was domesticated about 8,000 years ago by Neolithic women by crossing two grasses. Also, diabetic insulin is the result of GMO technology,” Catlett explained. “If you love yogurt, most yogurt in the United States is manufactured through a genetic modification called CRISPR, which is mother nature’s way of modifying genes.”

This process is caused by the bacteria in the yogurt. “It is the technology that bacteria use to protect themselves from invading other bacteria or pathogens. Right now, the 27 countries that are the EU, or soon to be the 26 EU countries that have banned GMOs, are now having to come back and say, ‘Wait a minute, CRISPR technology is Mother Nature’s technology.’ Mother Nature was a good genetic engineer long before we did it in laboratory” Catlett said.

“It is going to be an interesting time for GMOs in the next few years as the technologies merge to help us have better understandings and better control over things,” Catlett said.

A Great Time to Be in Agriculture

Lowell Catlett On Ag, Part One

Agriculture Is Primed to Provide Different Food to Masses

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor
Lowell Catlett says California agriculture is in a good place.

Lowell Catlett, a former professor at New Mexico State University who continues to lecture with a style that keeps the audience engaged, shared with us what a great time it is to be in agriculture. “I think it is the best time because we have never had a period in history where we have had so many people, worldwide, rising out of abject poverty into middle class” he explained.

“They become consumers, and they want things, and they want a lot of things. They want the things that they see other people have. That means they want California pistachios, almonds and walnuts, and all the bounty that California produces, including its milk and eggs and cheeses, and everything else,” Catlett said.

“Once someone earns more money, one of the first things they change is their diets, and they like to get things that are unusual and unique. And California is the breadbasket of the world in terms of its ability to produce different things, and you’re seeing that translate into best time ever to be in agriculture,” he said.

Not only does current agriculture have the products, but there is plenty of money to buy those products. “There is so much money. The net worth of the United States right now over 123 million households is $94 trillion. The world’s output last year was $73 trillion, so we have $20 trillion more in household net worth than the whole world combined, The consumers want organic, or they want certified to the source. We have to certify those things to the source. They want all kinds of different food choices,” Catlett said.

“Before, people just wanted food, and they now want all these other foods. They may want gluten free, and they many not even have celiac disease. And it all helps the farmers to have markets we never had before, and that is fabulous,” Catlett said.