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Our lives are frequently and significantly affected by food. Because we must eat to survive, many human cultures have developed with food at their very core. The goal of this podcast is to explore the complexity and nuance of food systems, celebrate the progress we have made, and debate the best ways for humans to proceed forward into the future. 

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Sep 10, 2019

Dr. Jim Stack is a professor of plant pathology at Kansas State University and director of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network. His areas of research emphasis include detection and diagnosis of diseases in natural and agricultural plant systems, threat identification, vulnerability assessments, and risk analyses for natural, accidental, and intentional threats to plant systems, as well as epidemiology and management of field crop diseases in the Northern Great Plains. Additionally, he is a great thinker about the food system in general. This conversation largely centers around the more “wicked” problems that humans face, and how we may need to rethink our approaches in future. We definitely do not have all of the solutions, but only by talking through ideas are we going to make progress. Dr. Maureen Olewnik, the Global Food Systems Initiative Coordinator, joined Scott, Jim, and Jay for the talk as well. Enjoy!

For more information about Dr. Stack check out:



Rethinking Current Approaches to Food Security with Dr. Jim Stack – Food Systems/Plant Pathology


What is a reasonable population that the earth can sustain without maximizing the pressure on the systems that we need for survival. So that's what I mean by we've got it backwards. Instead of chasing population, we should be asking ourselves what's a reasonable population for the world so that we can develop systems that can meet that demand?


Something to Chew On is a podcast devoted to the exploration and discussion of global food systems. It's produced by the Office of Research Development at Kansas State University. I'm Jay Weeks PhD candidate in the Department of Agronomy, my co host is Scott Tanona, an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy who specializes in the Philosophy of Science. Sometimes, with large, complicated endeavors, we need to take a step back and ask whether our current approaches and underlying assumptions are truly serving our end goals. Given our ever globalizing food system, it's important to take inventory of what we've learned and consider where things could be improved, or go horribly, horribly wrong. Our guest today is Dr. Jim Stack. Jim is a professor of plant pathology here at Kansas State University, and the director of the Great Plains plant diagnostic network. His areas of research emphasis include detection and diagnosis of diseases in natural and agricultural plant systems, threat identification, vulnerability assessments, and risk analysis for natural, accidental and intentional threats to plant systems, as well as epidemiology and management of field crop diseases in the northern Great Plains. But as you'll hear, he was a great thinker about the food system in general, our conversation largely centered around the more quote unquote, wicked problems that humans face. And we definitely don't have all the solutions. But this was a really great and constructive discussion to have. Only by talking through ideas, are we going to make progress. Dr. Maureen Olewnik, the Global Food Systems Initiative coordinator, join Scott, Jim, and I for the talk as well. So we hope you enjoy Dr. Jim Stack. Welcome to the podcast.


Thank you very much. It's good to be here.


Been looking forward to this for a few weeks now. But before we get into the discussion that I hope all four of us are going to get to have. We always like to get your perspective on your background. So you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to be where you are today.


How did I get to be? Um, good fortune. I mean, I've been pretty blessed to have a series of great jobs throughout my career. Interests, interest and in are stemmed from probably having an Irish heritage. My folks from Ireland, so the topic of the day being hunger, and there's a lot of ties to Ireland. I tell the story often, you know, how bright my family is, they stayed in Ireland for the famine, and came over to the US for the Great Depression.


Good timing. Yeah


That’s right. Yeah. But I think during the years when I was trying to figure out what I was gonna do with my life, I always, always been a news junkie. So at the time we were talking about famines in Ethiopia, we're talking about famines in Bangladesh, we're talking about famines, and Biafra. These are headlines, these are pictures on the evening news. So I think that leaves an impression on people when you see at some place in the world, there's a true shortage of food, either through war through production failures through climate impacts, oh, the these are real. We don't see that much in the United States, certainly not to that level. But these are very real events that happen up to this day. The, you know, World Food Program, World Bank, are projecting that in Yemen, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, that it would be approximately a million deaths to food inadequacies over this two or three year period we're in right now. So this is a complex issue that we have not solved yet. And so I think that had a major bearing on the direction I took.


So when you know before we ever started the podcast, we always like to ask the guests what you know what they would like to talk about and sort of get a map for the conversation a little but had a time, when I asked you you said, you know, my interests are in food security. And they're broad, ranging from policy to production and distribution, said, as you know, there are many scientific issues embedded within the food security challenge, but equally important are the policy and philosophical considerations for all the science that is dedicated to addressing food security, perhaps we have not done enough thinking. Uh, so, you know, what was behind that? That response? And in, you know, given all these issues and things like that, well, you know, what do you think?


Well, so I'm guessing the podcast has a finite period of time. That question within, but I think people have called this a wicked problem, meaning that it's complex to the extent where one issue impacts the other. And this is clearly in that realm, this food security issue. But we automatically make assumptions about the solutions. Well, if there isn't enough food, it means we need to produce more. If there isn't enough food, it means we need to ship it from this location to that location. And I would argue that that thinking will ultimately exacerbate this problem, not solve it. And so that's what's behind that statement I made, I think, I think more thinking needs to go into this. So I don't know how to jump into this. But say, perhaps, our thinking backwards, is the way I like to explain it that we keep saying that the population is going to be this level. So we've been doing this for decades, say the population is going to be 4 billion, it's going to be 5 billion, it's going to be 6 billion, it's going to be 7 billion. And in order to feed six, 7 billion people, we need to produce more food. And we need to create the systems that get food to people who need food. So production and distribution. And that for those times when there is a natural disaster, famine, drought, whatever the natural catastrophe might be that we need to be able to move food to those people. So it's always about feeding the next population target. And right now we're saying and the puppet actually, the population models are pretty good. They've been very accurate over the last 20 to 30 years. So looking ahead, we have no reason to doubt that they're not too far off the mark. So we're going to have 9 billion people on the planet by 2043, quite likely to have 10 billion somewhere between 2055 and 2060. And now they're saying that that's not going to plateau, that we may in fact, have 11 billion people by the end of the century. And so what we need to produce more food, and we need better distribution systems, and we need better food aid systems so that we can produce more and and get it to the people who need it. Well, let's take that apart, and say, Well, what does that actually mean? Well, let's look at the challenges we have right now. Which are many, some of them are significant, the climate issues real, the climate is changing, there's ample data to support that. And that will have an impact on our ability to produce food. I would argue, okay, there are many issues in the food security, one of the most important water, and that doesn't get as much attention as it deserves approximately 70%, somewhere between 65 and 75% of the freshwater on the planet goes to agriculture. The last figures I saw were only about 24-25% of the agricultural lands are irrigated, but they provide 40% of our food. So there's no scenario under which we're going to feed the world's population without irrigated agriculture. That's off the table. And so we need to figure out a way if we're going to amp up our production systems that are going to require more water. Where's that coming from? At the same time, if you look at the original Millennium Development Goals of 1999, and now the Sustainable Development Goals of just a few years ago, if we look at those, what are they calling for? Well, they're calling for food security. No one should be food insecure, no one on the planet. Okay, so we're talking about 9 billion people are going to be food completely food secure. We're talking about enhancing public health to the level where People don't suffer from the chronic diseases that are plaguing us right now. As well as emerging infectious diseases, which have sudden and real impacts. And we're talking about raising standards of living. So if we do all those things, that means more energy, it means more water. And these are the very things that are challenging us in order to meet our food demands. So if we start, if we look at it from the perspective, we're always going to ramp up our systems to meet the advancing population, we never solve the problem, because the population will increase until it crashes. What I'm suggesting is we turn that around, that we learn from the biological systems that we study. And we know without exception, at least exception that I'm aware of, we know without exception, biological organisms stabilize according to the available nutrients. So I can predict how many bacterial cells there will be in a culture by the amount of carbon and nitrogen I put into that culture. I can predict predator and prey populations based on the relationships that have been long identified. And and that again, almost without exception, the exceptions come in when you haven't introduced infectious disease, or some other major climatic perturbation. But, you know, in general, predator prey populations follow certain behavioral patterns that we've been able to predict. Right now, we actually calculate how many cattle per hectare based on the productivity of the hectare. So the composition of the pasture grasses or whatever the the plant composition is, we can actually predict how many cattle or sheep that hectare can sustain. We have formulas for that. So my question is, why can't we do that for humans? Why can't we actually determine what is it reasonable population that the earth can sustain, without maximizing the pressure on the systems that we need for survival? So that's what I mean by we've got it backwards. instead of chasing population, we should be asking ourselves what's a reasonable population for the world so that we can develop systems that can meet that demand? And it doesn't mean withholding food from people who are hungry? It does not.


I was going to say this is going to be highly controversial.


Of course, it will be because that's our immediate thought is that it means withholding food does not mean that at all, it means basing the the the calculations on the productivity, the reasonable productivity of those systems, and letting our population stabilize around that mean, yes, it change, it means changing our thinking. But what's the alternative? The alternative is to accept the unspoken assumption that everything else is limitless. Now, is that a reasonable assumption I asked you are all these systems without limits? If they are all good, let's go.


Okay. So I've got a lot of questions. But I want to jump in first with a comparison to like mid late 20th century, right where 1970s, where people are worried about the population explosion. So there's no way the planet can sustain, you know, whatever, 6 billion people, right. And then we have the Green Revolution, right sort of things change. And in fact, we have technological solutions to actually ramp up productions in ways that people hadn't foreseen. So how do you compare that to the current situation? 


Yeah, so it's a good question. And I haven't always thought the way I do now, you know, there's, it's been an evolution. But I've been working on this issue for probably about 20 years in terms of my thinking. And so how this is different. One of the people who referenced was Paul Ehrlich, from Stanford, used to have a title like, I think it's one of his books, Population Bomb, right? You know, so the implication being, that the world's population is going to increase to a point and then there'll be a major crash. I don't see that at all. I don't see anything that's going to cause that. So what I'm talking about is constantly doing the same thing over and over again, and not achieving the goal. So our goal is food security for everybody. It's public health for everybody. It's a reasonable standard of living for everybody. That's what I'm talking about. If we always look ahead to what the population is going to be and keep ramping up, knowing that what we've been doing for the last 50 years hasn't achieved the goal. Perhaps we need to think about that a little bit differently. So what I'm suggesting is developing systems developing the technologies doing the science necessary. To get to a point where the vast majority of people, the overwhelming majority of people are, in fact food secure, we don't have abject poverty. Will we have income inequality? Always, but not to the point where people are starving? Or or people are dying because they lack access to the medicines and the health care they need. I think we can do that part. So when I look at this hunger challenge, the title of one of the manuscripts and developing is feeding a growing population in a shrinking world. Well, that question really comes down to three types of questions. The first one is can we feed 9 billion 10 billion 11 billion? Yes, I think we can. We can do the science and we can develop the technologies necessary to feed an increasing population. But I think the outcomes the same, where we always have starving people, we always have people that need health care, because of the way we're approaching the problems. So I just look at it in that respect. So the first question is, can we Yes, we can do the science, we can develop the technologies necessary. We're already doing now. Amazing developments are going on? The world is populated with a lot of very bright people. So yes, we can do the science to get to where we want to be. The second type of question is, will we feed 9-10-11 billion people? Oh, those are questions of policy. And our track record and policy is awful. It's just abysmal. And we haven't demonstrated an ability to learn from the failures in policy. And so I look at that and say, you know, will we? I think, yes, eventually, but not before a lot of people suffer unnecessarily, because we didn't do what needed to be done in a timeframe to affect the outcome in a meaningful way. So I think, you know, that's the second question, will we? The third questions more difficult? It's the one we dealt with to start. And that question is, should we? So the first two questions are scientific in nature, you can have a reasonable discussion, and maintain it being intellectual in nature. But the third one is become it's more philosophical, and so quickly, transitions into emotion. And it's very difficult to have that conversation. And again, I reiterate, the goal is actually the same. It's to ensure that we don't have a disproportionate number of people without access to health care and food. That doesn't even make sense in today's world. We already have the technologies, we've already done the science necessary to feed our current population, yet, hunger persists, we should be challenging ourselves on why that is. Right.


Good. So So then to be clear, then I think at least one different and there's a lot. We're all I'm sure gonna start jumping in on but one of the differences here as I was reading some of what you're saying a little pessimistically to start with, right through, right, oh, we're, and it's pessimistic on some views, right, in terms of like, sort of our policy and other things. But in terms of our ability to feed people, it's not pessimistic there, right. So so so what, what I was hearing for a moment was, Oh, we're not going to be able, there's limited resources, water, etc. We're not going to be able to feed all these people, we have to figure out how to limit the population. But what you just said wasn't that was right. Yeah.


It's a matter of fact, I'm an optimist by nature. Yeah. So we are going to solve these. The question is the timeframe. So if I was a young person, looking at a career, I'd be excited to jump into this arena. Because your career would be meaningful, you'd be solving some problems that have been intractable for as long as we've been walking upright. And so I, I think we have in place the educational systems that are necessary to generate the people that are going to solve these prompts. All that's going to play out, the question is, does it play out by 2050? Or does it play out by 2150? And that's what I'm saying is, is if we can change our thinking now, we can shorten that timeframe till we get to where we need to be. And I go back to what's our real thinking on limits? Are there any limits in this world? Is there a limit to freshwater? Well, no, we can desalinate the oceans. So now we have a lot of water. Is there a limit to land area? Well, yes, kind of but we keep ramping up yield per hectare. So you know, what is that limit? I don't think people don't it's actually a really good book. Charles man's the author. Oh, the wizard and the Prophet. It's very good book about that. And it's basically a profile I'll have Norman Borlaug and just went blank another person that they kind of had a co evolutionary pathway. But they looked at the world differently. One was a pessimist. One was an optimist. One was a technologist, one was a philosopher, you know, the, you know, they are social scientists, I should say, rather than philosopher, but, you know, they looked at the same situations from different perspectives and drew different conclusions. But it's an excellent read, and it deals with this, do we believe there are limits? And the problem I think we have is nobody's even asking that question in a meaningful way. We talk about sustainability, we talk about resilience. But those terms get tossed around so much. Now, they actually don't have any meaning whatsoever, because they're applied to everything. So I don't know if that answered your question or not. But..


so a couple of things. The first being, you know, a lot of people seem to think that the as conditions improve, and especially women have access to education in the developing world, and things like that, that the the population in those areas actually starts to decrease, right? Families have fewer, fewer children, things like that. So the idea is sort of that, you know, once we reach that 10 or 11, in the Senate, a living comes up that it'll sort of plateau. I mean, that's, that's the argument that I've heard. Second question is, you know, if we, if we all intellectually agree that, you know, there's a carrying capacity, and we need to, you know, slow the population down and things like that. You mentioned the emotional part, if we start putting that out there and saying, you know, maybe people should be having fewer children or something like that to slow population growth. How do you even How do you even start to approach that problem, because it's so emotional, and people want to have their own ability to make their own decisions, right?


Again, it's about how you frame this issue. The goal is not to control population. The goal is to create a system, an ecosystem, a planet Earth, that is appropriate for a certain population level. So it's not focusing on the population, it's focusing on the systems that support people. And so you, you identified a few things which are right on the mark, we already know how to do this. When you increase public health, when you increase education, birth rates decline. So we already know how to do this, we're just not doing it very effectively. Sometimes it's very difficult. If you just look at what's going on in the Congo, right now, with the Ebola outbreak, you have rebel groups, and you have populations that are attacking health care providers, because they believe that the vaccine is going to cause AIDS. And so education is, is absolutely critical illness, everywhere. So we already know how to do this, we're just we've just focused on the wrong thing. We're focusing on food production, we're focusing on being able to supply enough to a future population without focusing on the needs of the current population to the level necessary to affect the trajectory. Now people say, Oh, well, if the population gets too big a disease is going to come along, like avian influenza or something. And it's going to take out the population. I've run some numbers, we have some models who play with run some numbers, even if you go back to this Spanish Influenza of 1918. And use those numbers, which vary somewhere between 30 and 100 million people dead globally.


Let's take which as a percentage was really significant, right? 


Yes, absolutely. But even if you take that number, and you adjust it, it's not going to change the fact that if we continue to do what we're doing, at some point, we're going to hit 10 or 11 billion people. Because nothing's changed. All it's done is affected the it displaces the curve. But the curve still continues when that's resolved. And right now we have in place mitigation measures and response protocols that are going to minimize the number impacted. Well, what about war? Well, if you look at war, I mean, okay, this is gonna sound really awful. Not enough people die from wars anymore. You know, you go back 100 years and we talked about millions dying in a world war, but war has become technology oriented and strategic in nature. And so we spent a decade in Iraq, and 4000. People thought that's awful. But it didn't really impact the population. And that's I think you look at what are the major factors that could change that trajectory, they don't have the same level of impact anymore.


So in other words, I mean, these things are just the population is gonna keep on increasing, and even some things that slowed down even if we had a major disease or right sort of it's not, it's not changing the trajectory that we're on. It's just pushing, pushing the date further down,


Barring the zombie apocalypse. Yeah.


When you say that, we need to think we need to change the way we think. Who's the we and how do you impact? How do you move that needle on the we?


Yeah, so it's a good question. We have national, we have international organizations that have accepted some responsibility for food security, and for public health. Off wow, this guy, I don't mean this to be too critical. But the nature of international organizations is it's difficult to actually do what needs to get done. So you only have to look at the Ebola outbreak of was it 13 or 14, to see that it was clear to a lot of epidemiologists with a group now that predicted the trajectory of that, back in March of that year, World Health Organization stepped in in August. By that time, it was far too late to affect the outcome. And you did so you look at the Food and Agricultural Organization, the United Nations and the World Food Program. They've rallied around the notion that to solve this food security problem, we need further intensification of agricultural production systems. And we need better global trade systems. We need to bring more developing nations into the global economy to global marketplace. Well, there are consequences to that they're being realized right now. One of the consequences of intensification, of course, is more inputs to get more output. And there are implications for that. With respect to trade networks, we're already seeing the massive global mixing of path pests and pathogens that are having major impacts on our ability to produce enough food. Just look what happened in Bangladesh in 2016. And that was a consequence of the global trade system of moving wheat seed. Well, grain from one location to another.


For the listeners that wouldn't know what that is. Can you explain sorry.


So in 1985, a new disease of wheat emerged in Brazil. And it it stayed in Brazil for almost a decade, causing increasing impacts, like a lot of diseases, very weather dependent. So when the weather conditions and it's been linked to El Nino, when an El Nino comes in, you have epidemics. And this is a very impressive disease. So we've seen 500 1000, hectare fields, all debt. So it's very quick. It's very impressive. In the mid 90s 95, or so it was introduced to Bolivia, probably trade farmers bringing seed across the border. And then one or two years later into Paraguay, same route of entry. It stayed in South America until February of 2016, when there was a massive epidemic in Bangladesh, a Bongo we it's the second most important provider of calories in Bangladesh. And they but they don't produce enough so they historically imported from the Ukraine. Ukraine had two political problems, unable to make that meet the demand for Bangladesh, Bangladesh on the open marketplace, this is the suspicion you can never fully Prove these things. Week gets imported from South America and the genomics and genetics have been done on this. It's clear that the outbreak in Bangladesh was the population that came from South America. That's very clear. And so it was introduced. We is a very important prompt grown on more acres globally than any other crop. It provides 17% of the protein in the human diet. So it is the crop we have to protect, but we have a system or pathogen that moves in seed. And we have a global distribution system that's moving seed across the planet. That's just one example that's happening in every commodity it's happening. It's everywhere. That's the way we do business. now. So again, you go and say, Well, what should we be doing? Well, instead of focusing on prevention, which is overrated, we should be focusing on surveillance in early detection. So we can hit these things when they're small, and not wait until we have a flaming epidemic to respond. So there are a lot of things we can be doing better than we are doing currently. But it does take a change in thinking.

So what about the trade itself? Right, and, and the general approach of increasing production in certain areas, and then distribution, right, sort of, because there's, there's concern about sort of the global network and a whole range of issues. It's not just sort of the possibilities of transfer of pests and pathogens, but also, sort of further instability, like when prices change, and you have to, you know, get your food from other places rather than sort of local autonomy, right, or producing your food. And, you know, this is my area. So I know there's a lot of questions that come up when, when we're talking about this model of increasing production in certain areas and delivering. 


So it's a very complicated issue. Imagine, I don't even know where to begin on this one. But let me begin here. A few years ago, a group published a paper, recommending that we create global committees to regulate the production of food, so that if we do an analysis, we would determine that it's more environmentally friendly, it's more energy efficient to produce maize corn in Iowa, than it is in Kenya. So Kenya should not be allowed to produce corn. We should grow it in Iowa and ship it to Kenya. The same with water, we should be deciding that we should not be irrigating crops in western Kansas. That's dryland rain fed agriculture. So they should not be allowed to irrigate there. So there's, they actually published a paper on this, and they believe that I can't think of a worse model for achieving sustainability than what they propose us. So say, why just say, What could possibly go wrong?


Well, yeah, I mean, not to mention all the people who are going to be left behind in systems like that, right. I mean, okay.


It's a disaster in thinking I just, at least, that's my opinion. So you look at the trade issue, you know, we're moving so many problems with this, I think our our eagerness to bring some of these countries into the global marketplace, superseded our thinking on what was necessary for them to do that safely. So we should have been simultaneously investing in their infrastructure to ensure in this a double edge, we to ensure that what they were putting in the marketplace was clean material. The other is that what was being shipped in they were prepared to handle. And there is a long list of pests and pathogens that have been introduced into Africa on food aid. Because you have to move quickly. There's an economist Charles parings, from Arizona, who, who's he dedicated his career to studying the impacts from invasive species. And he said once that a cargo container has a sampling of the organisms every place it's been. And there's wisdom in that because that's, in fact, what we find hitchhikers. on everything. We're moving organisms in wooden wooden furniture. I have a couple of slides our use of electric guitars manufactured in China. When they arrived at the port in Australia, there was a hole in the assumption was it was a quality issue that they had drilled too many holes for the faceplate on this electric guitar. When they pulled the faceplate off, it was an exit hole, there were galleries, inset galleries all throughout this wooden guitar, we're moving insects and everything. The same with pathogens and pests. It's just there, there are consequences to the global movement of people and goods. If you look at what we know about evolution, their evolutionary consequences to this as well, if you look at what how we studied evolution, when I was going through the system, we learned about island biogeography geography that you know that if you had two islands separated by a certain distance, that the species would grow away from each other would evolve away from each other and genetic differences would take so we all know that the Galapagos a great place for having studied that. Okay, but those geographic boundaries now are irrelevant. We're putting plants and plant products on airplanes and flying them over mountains, or putting plants and plant products on ships and transporting them across the seas. So the geographic boundaries that once kept organisms confined to certain areas are irrelevant. The consequences of that are we're finding that our concepts of taxonomic separation, don't actually hold up. So an example being in the UK, they imported plants from South America, they ended up in a greenhouse, in a nursery, on a bench with local plants, to different species, that should not be able to interact, actually hybridized and created a new species, a hybrid species, we would, if you do your pest risk assessment, that wouldn't have been one of the options. So these two things hybridized. And the scary part is the phenotype of the hybrid would not have been predictable, based on the phenotype of the two parents. So how do you do a risk assessment, you can't sit that's just one example. There are others. So there are consequences to this global trade that we haven't fully grasped. We're making so much money, and it's solving so much problem. I don't think anybody wants to grapple with it right now. But the investment and the research necessary to deal with those problems, is wildly inadequate. The investment in the infrastructure we need for early detection and surveillance is wildly inadequate for what we're doing.


So, you know, I think part of what I get out of what you're saying is that a lot of these issues are consequences of incentive structures that are not well aligned to they're aligned to certain groups, but but not others. Right. In, you know, we we tend to focus on, you know, trying to find solutions through technology, and you know, hard science, when some of these might be, you know, social science issues and that sort of stuff. So you've laid out a whole bunch of, you know, areas that we need to think about, what do you what do you think about as far as solutions?


Well, yeah, let me let me follow up first, sure. happening, internet link, follow up. Something you said there about the social side. The social implications are staggering. And we already have examples of this. So if we look at the Arab Spring, we all remember the Arab Spring, okay. 2010, spread across North Africa into the Middle East, and we are still suffering, the ramifications of that Arab Spring. So what was the cause of that? Well, there were many underlying cultural problems, social problems, and political problems, lots of those. But the proverbial last straw was the sudden increase in the price of wheat, that the government jacked up the price of wheat sent the food vendor into the street, he ml itself emulates. And pretty soon you have massive protests in Tunisia that spread across the region, the proverbial last straw was food. Now fast forward, what's going on right now in the Mediterranean area, in Italy, and 2013, there was an outbreak of a disease in olives. In southern Italy. It's called Quick decline of Hollows, and it's caused by a bacterium. So it started to spread. And the government came in and does what phytosanitary agencies do, they slapped a quarantine on it. And then they decided to do an eradication zone. So they went in and started cutting down the trees. But this isn't like cutting down a field of corn. These trees are over 1000 years old. And these trees weren't just planted by the current generation. They've been in my family for 14 generations. This is a major issue, you had people climbing up in the trees and tying themselves to the trees to prevent the government from cutting them down. This, the local populations blame the scientists for bringing that in, because they were studying this organism at the local Experiment Station. Now, ultimate genetic analyses proved it wasn't the same organism, they the scientists weren't really responsible, but the scientists are actually facing charges and potential jail time for not reporting it in a timely manner. And so there were these massive social upheavals. Were This is present tense, this is still playing out. And social scientists are doing a really nice job of documenting it, give them a lot of kudos, they jumped right in and said, Okay, how do we sort this out? And the problem is scientists don't talk to the public very well, or very often, and we need to deal with that. But the social implications are massive. The Bangladesh story I told you earlier with the week PLAs pathogen, so the government came in and knowing the history in South America, they decided to eradicate, the only way to eradicate was they burn the fields. The problem was a lot of the acreage in Bangladesh is farmed by people who don't own the land. So they grow the wheat, to sell to the market, to get the money to pay the lease on the land, and what's left buys the food for their family. Now the government comes in and burns all that they have nothing and it drives them deeper into poverty is a bad too, the social implications of what I'm talking about are enormous. So I just want to toss that in based on your comment there.


And that's just a really important thing to pay attention to, you know, when we're talking about food security issues, right? It's not just sort of how many people are, are starving, or how many people are hungry, right, or sort of order and poor health due to not having sufficient nutrition, right, sort of it's, it's it's huge, as you just said, in sort of, there's a lot of stories that I think are like this, right?


So, there's the Yeah, the poverty hunger cycle. So people who are hungry, become malnourished, they earn less in the market, there's lots of data on this, they earn less in the marketplace. And they drop into poverty. Those in poverty, can't afford to buy enough food, or the right kinds of food become further malnourished. And that system, that cycle just continues. So we need to alleviate poverty, in order to eradicate hunger, but we need to eradicate hunger in order to alleviate poverty. So how do you break into that?


So do you think that these are things that we know some Mike, so you said, Well, we already know, we already have technological solutions to, you know, increasing production, and at least in some ways, and we'll find more, right? Some of the social science on this is seems to be pretty good, too. I mean, sort of this is similar, you know, on trade issues, you know, if you just open up trade, it's gonna hurt some people, right? And so, you know, it might lower cost overall, right, you know, but somebody who was producing the thing, right is now not going to be able to compete, right? And sort of similarly, like you want to go and sort of for, for the population as a whole for the country as a whole, eradicate this disease, stop it right and stop a greater disaster. Right? If you do that, without dealing with the repercussions on this, and the people who are growing that land, right, growing on that land, right, then often there's this, you know, a lot of damage that has now been done, right? So do our, is it something that people just overlook? In general, when we would jump in and do this? Or is there something we don't understand about some of these repercussions?


So one of the challenges we have for all of these issues, the bottom line, is the bottom line. And so it's about money. I think what we're seeing and I don't know the number, but if you look at then the number of countries that made that transition from poor and underdeveloped or lesser developed whatever terminology we'd like to use into that middle tier of countries that are, you know, becoming economically sound, and players in the marketplace. If you look at those almost without exception, that proportion of the population involved in agriculture plummet, and the viability of sustainability or just like the word of ice, but people who live off the land plummets, they can't that's not economically viable. In in the economic systems that are surviving, that are thriving. And so that's where we need social scientists integrated into these decisions were making to help in the transition from a sustenance based existence to having a place in the market. And that involves education, again, involves a different way of looking at the market. The United States, the biggest mistake we could make is believing none of this can happen here. That would be a horrific, none of that. None of what that we could have hunger than we could have a declining public health. We're already seeing a couple cities. Yeah, right. And so, but we act as though that can't happen here. Because we have such an advanced economy, it only 100 years ago, and that's just five generations, where we had food riots in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and it has happened here in the past, it can happen now. I think we're not paying attention to the things that are going to ultimately matter in my opinion.


How do we pay more attention to these things right as policy issues do we need? Do we need to get people in government? That's it You know, pay attention to these things or at least know who to who to listen to, or, you know what I mean? What do you think right now, you know, we've talked about these these wicked problems, right? There's a lot of implications. There's a lot of potential for, you know, positive things and a lot of potential for disaster. Right. You know, right here right now, you know, where do we need to go? What do you think?


Yeah, so a lot again, in that, but let me try to condense that. But right now, because and I don't remember the exact number. So I'm gonna throw a number I don't remember it is 80% of the population, the United States lives within 15 miles of a grocery store that sells whatever you want seven days a week, 24 hours a day. So foods on anyone's agenda. It's just not because it's available. And so far, it's affordable by most people.


Okay, so only, even relatively, right. So most people, right, yeah.


Only a very small proportion of the population is actually impacted by the cost of food. We do have certain issues. There are exceptions. Yeah. Food deserts. Yeah.


And I thought the numbers of people who are food insecure, even in like Manhattan are pretty high. But yeah.


Well, so some of that goes to definition. Yeah, right. What's food insecurity? Is anybody starving in Manhattan? No, do they have the so what is food security, it's about access. And it's about affordability in our access. It's available and affordable. And it's also about culturally relevant food. So not everybody eats everything. So it's, there are a lot of things tied up in food security. But going back to what do we do, I think we need to address the things that could impact. So this issue of pests and pathogens, we're not going to get out of the way, the only thing you need to know about trade rules is that trade rules. And if it gets down to a decision between taking a risk, based on the health of a system verse is the economics of the system, the decision almost always goes to the economics. So we will import things at a risk. If it means a potential economic impact. That's just the way we do business. So if that's the way we need to be overt about this, if that's the way we want to do business, let's put in place the systems that minimize the impacts of those decisions. I don't think those conversations are we avoid having those conversations, rather than having them and putting in place what we need to have to protect us. So I think some of this is just having the open discussions of about identifying what the real issues are associated with the way we do business now.


So So is detection sufficient? How much you have to deal because a lot of this issue is sort of production sort of in the in places where, you know, trade is occurring in the infrastructure and policies, right in places where they introduce greater risk to the people who are then right, or the place that we're importing, right? The food or whatever it is that we're talking about, right. So do you think detections enough or sort of we have to somehow impact policies sort of everywhere? What do you look at it?


We have simultaneously two issues being bantered about by FAO Food and Agricultural Organization. One is further intensification. And they indicated 90% of the increase food that we need will come from further intensification of the lands that are already under cultivation. That's a big ask. At the same time, they're saying we need to move to to low input sustainability that's coming out of the same organization. Kind of ought to be talking. So I look at it. Let's expand that out. We have a lot of academic institutions, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations have bought into the concept that we need intense, further intensification of existing agricultural systems. That's the agricultural community. If you go to the environmental community, they're publishing papers saying the worst thing that ever happened to the planet was intensified agriculture. Perhaps we ought to put them in the same room at the same time and hash this out. The same is true with the invasive species and the the biodiversity decline group. They look at agriculture as causing species loss as causing species decline. And they're recommending doing what we do for risk assessment. What do we do? We I look at where an organism occurs and the environmental conditions that allow it to flourish at that location. And then we do climate matching around the planet. And Harrington probably talks about this, but you do climate matching around the planet and say, the same conditions exists here and here. So let's not move stuff from here to those locations, because if it gets introduced, it may flourish. So that's kind of how we do a pest risk assessment. Well, the, the environmental group is looking at it and using the same technology and saying, Well, these species are threatened in this environment. So let's look around the planet and see where they would do well, and we'll move that whole community there. Well, that's kind of inconsistent and thinking, because that creating the opportunity for them to become invasive, because our ability to predict how organisms are going to behave in new environments is limited at best. And so again, these people ought to be in the same room. At the same time we go to meetings, we go to conferences that are theme oriented. So the cross fertilization of these ideas, is not taking place, at a level adequate to actually come up with the solutions you're looking for. We, in my opinion,


Yeah. On campus, as you know, the global food systems, that's you and I have had this conversation several times. So what we're trying to do is figure out how to get people just within our little university or at K State into a room get that diverse population. How do you do that? You know, you mentioned earlier that you were doing presentations around the world on this? How do you tackle that huge problem of getting that sociology group with the agronomy group with the plant pathology group with the political? How do you do that?


So it's like any other enterprise, in the in the Human Sphere, it's about relationships, I think you have to seek out people and trying to do that, get a grant that would allow you to hold a workshop first, to bring people of different perspectives together, and say, let's let's have a conversation has to be the right people, because not everybody can have these conversations without feeling threatened. So you have to put these people in the room and at least identify the issues in a clear manner that you can have a larger meeting on, and then get those perspectives erred in front of everyone in front of the different perspectives, so that you can at least understand the opposing viewpoint on what you're doing it until the understandings there, you can't get to a point of identifying potential solutions. So I think the start is start developing relationships across these disciplinary boundaries that we have.


I was gonna say, I mean, there's some of this, you know, is that we as a, as a society need to think more about how we have we instill values into, you know, children, so that they grow up, you know, being more willing to engage in these sorts of things, right? Because I mean, a lot of this, I mean, a lot of this is human issues, and human relation issues and human values issues as far as what incentivizes humans, that sort of some of its evolutionarily driven, obviously. But I mean, do we need to be thinking about how we, how the next generations should be approaching these things, and talking to much younger people about this to solve them in the future?


So absolutely, yes, we need to do that. It's not enough. I think we need a lot more interaction between scientists and policymakers in a more meaningful way. So please, let me clarify, everything I said we need to do is going on at some level. So I didn't mean to imply in any sense that none of this is happening. This is all happening. But from my perspective, I have a sense of urgency about it right now. I think we are crossing into territory, that is going to make it more different. No. That's wrong, not more difficult. I think we're crossing into territory where the impacts are going to be greater. So for example, that issue I brought up Do you believe in limits? You know, at some point, there are limits. And if we look at our ability to produce food, right now we can produce far more than we need. Okay, we know that based on loss estimates, which I think are over estimated, but even if they're half correct, we can produce far more food than is necessary to feed the current population. We can do that. But if we keep adding people without change During the way we're doing business, the surplus is going to narrow, so our margin for error narrows. Now when we have a prolonged drought in Australia that affects wheat exports or a prolonged drought in the Ukraine that affects exports, both of which we have experienced in the previous 15 years, the impacts are going to be greater because there's just not enough to satisfy that demand. And then you look at the, again, the redistribution of pests and pathogens at increasing rates. So we have this tendency to think we should focus on catastrophes. So I will ask you this, you know, we're worried about that avian influenza strain the h five and one that's going to come around, and that one strain of virus is going to take out 20% of the world's population, we worry about another SARS we worry about FMD coming in, because it alone, even though it it as a disease, it's not going to do that. But as a market effect, it's going to devastate the cattle industry, we worry about those one organisms. So in some of the food security models that we play with, for a variety of reasons I won't go into we've identified 30% displacement in the mean as catastrophic. So for any population, that would be catastrophic if there was a 30%. So the question I have is, what's the difference between a single organism causing a 30% displacement, or five organisms, each causing a 6%, displacement, still have 30% loss. That's what I see is changing right now, because of the magnitude of change. And we know from a lot of experience, that there's a delay, from the time of introduction of these organisms to when they realize their full impacts. And China's seeing that right now in a big way. They, they opened up the doors in the 90s. And right now, they're just stomping out fires from invasives. Well, that's going on globally. At some point, we have to pay for that decision, or, in fact, lack of a decision. So I think we can do all of this. It's a matter of the timing. And I think what happens now as we go from the 7.3, or 4 billion that we're at now, up to 10 billion, our margin for error shrinks, because we're not going to be producing that much more food, that we maintain the margin for error. I don't see that.


So I know you don't have all the solutions. You don't you know, you're not saying that at all right. But but I know it's on your view, not just food intensification, delivery, right? Sort of just production, right and better delivery. So I'm What do you want to have happen. And I asked this, because I've heard you say education several times, right. And I'm very, in general skeptical about our ability just to sort of have information out there and sort of even talk to people and sort of have things improve, I mean, a lot of what you're talking about needs policy decisions that are, you know, going to change the way we interact, right change, you know, shift money or shift resources to, to places that need their infrastructure improved, tried to sort of make them better able to handle invasives coming in, or less, less likely to send them out. And you know, that these kinds of things, right, so this isn't just sort of, if we let the dollar determine where we're gonna buy our produce from. Nothing's gonna change, right? We run all these risks. So so like, how do we just in general, like what what do we look? What are you looking for, to kind of come up on top right to sort of start to address these issues besides just like us sitting here, and our dollar is gonna determine where we're buying produce from, and then we'll have some detection mechanisms. Right. So what do you what do you want overall, like the picture to look like?


So I know you don't have all the solutions. You don't you know, you're not saying that at all right. But but I know it's on your view, not just food intensification, delivery, right? Sort of just production, right and better delivery. So I'm What do you want to have happen. And I asked this, because I've heard you say education several times, right. And I'm very, in general skeptical about our ability just to sort of have information out there and sort of even talk to people and sort of have things improve, I mean, a lot of what you're talking about needs policy decisions that are, you know, going to change the way we interact, right change, you know, shift money or shift resources to, to places that need their infrastructure improved, tried to sort of make them better able to handle invasives coming in, or less, less likely to send them out. And you know, that these kinds of things, right, so this isn't just sort of, if we let the dollar determine where we're gonna buy our produce from. Nothing's gonna change, right? We run all these risks. So so like, how do we just in general, like what what do we look? What are you looking for, to kind of come up on top right to sort of start to address these issues besides just like us sitting here, and our dollar is gonna determine where we're buying produce from, and then we'll have some detection mechanisms. Right. So what do you what do you want overall, like the picture to look like?


Yeah, to go to that education issue? To me, it's not about providing information. It's about building the educational infrastructure in these countries to self serve. Okay. Yeah, this distinction between just providing information, because when you do that, when they educate themselves, their solutions will be centric, so that the solutions won't be imposed by some World Organization, or by another country that's providing them aid, which we do if you look at what's going on in Africa, with respect to investment from China, Africa is is got a lot of issues right now. So because some of those countries have been so poor for so long, they have little, they don't have as many options as we do. So for example, agreeing to allow another country to fund a port in their country that allows them to tie in into the global marketplace. So that's a good thing. But in exchange for land. So you look at Saudi Arabia, look at South Korea, you look at several countries are buying land in Africa, China big time, lots of land, keeping it in agriculture, but to export to their countries. That's China's food security strategy, is have Africa produce the food. Now, you could argue that, well, Africans can get paid for that food. And with that money, they'll buy the food they need. But if we look at that strategy, it hasn't worked so far for everyone. And so I think there are challenges to that model. And if there's a political difference, I mean, just look at what's going on. Now, with respect to tariffs. There was a political disagreement between the United States and Mexico. And we said, we're going to impose tariffs on what's coming in, that would affect the price of food in a big way. So I think you're never fully secure. And most people look at countries in Africa and southern Asia as that's where the food security problem is. But Japan's not food secure with respect to food production, they buy a lot of their food, their populations much greater than what they produce. And that's true of multiple countries, that they have the financial means to buy food. So with the current model of letting the global marketplace solve food security, what that means is you have to have enough resource to buy that food. And almost without exception, if commodity independent, it goes to the person who pays the most. So your poor, stay poor, and food insecure, while you're rich, get the food and the increasing economic well being. So I don't think this global distribution system is a long term solution for the planet, I just don't see it. And let's think what are the consequences of global marketplace, we've talked about challenges of climate change of water, if these things, when you move food, it takes energy takes seldom more food movement, because we're going to add 28% more people to the planet. That means moving more and more food that takes more and more energy to do that. And when you move food, you move water. So even our grains that are somewhere between nine and 14%, moisture, when you're talking about millions of metric tons, you're moving water from one location to you're taking it out of some of these places. But now imagine tomatoes that are 80% Water, most of what you're moving is water. So the two problems that we really need to get our hands around water and energy are exacerbated by this model for food security.


Yeah, along with the various nutrients and things like that, that are at least this point considered non renewable, and that sort of thing. Absolutely.


So I mean, so yeah, we're going to solve all these issues. It's the timeframe that I'm really trying to draw attention to. We're going to fix all of this.


Yeah, so I'm way more skeptical about Yeah, I was gonna say, how do we solve these things? Right?


So because if you just look back through history, there are times when challenges look insurmountable. But it's a question of how long are we willing to wait until we do what needs to be done. And our history is, we're willing to wait pretty long, you know, we have to be dragged kicking and screaming into meaningful change. But we always get there. And it was Winston Churchill who said, you know, he loved Americans, because they always did the right thing, after they tried every other alternatives. So it's, you know, change is hard. Some of these things are hard, because people benefit by one direction or another. And so you're pitting who's going to benefit most by making any management decision or any policy change. So, you know, right now, the World Trade Organization is completely on board with trade as a solution to the economy. There's not a single country that I can think of that hasn't identified increased exports, as a solution to their economic woes. Everybody says that, well, there are consequences to that. And there's a limit to how many of the problems that that actually can solve without creating new problems. What I tell my students is, every generation solves a few problems and creates a few more and these are the ones who are leaving to the next generation. And so we will solve these, it's just a matter of the sense of urgency that's appropriate to the magnitude of the problem. And, and we all see that the same way.


Right? So I guess, I guess one of the main issues here, though, and you've highlighted very, very well, how much the issues are about, you know, international cooperation, right, and recognition of how interconnected, so many of the issues are, right. But the solutions are gonna have to be along the lines of, you know, if we want to solve the food security issues, and we want to sort of addressed our own biosecurity here, like in the US, we have to think about investing more in other countries, right, sort of their basic instance, infrastructure in their education. Right. And so, I mean, this, this seems like, right, and maybe in their, their agricultural systems, and sort of a whole variety of I mean, this seems like the kind of thing that would, you know, begin to start to address what you're talking about. But then we have to figure out, like, how and who, and you know, what way? And are we really willing to do this? And do we really see this and coordination problems are really, really hard, right, sort of, like, from our own point of view, it's really hard to see the long term implications of sort of a certain way of doing things that are right, you know, where we're given what how the system works now, right. It's in our own best interest to do something else.


Yeah, I agree. So really good point. And Maureen, and I've actually had several conversations about this. It's, there are issues of scale involved here. And I'm not a fan, I might have been clear in some of my comments. I'm not a fan of top down. I do not believe there's a solution to global food security, or insecurity, that doesn't even make sense to me. Because the problems not the same everywhere, that the limitations are not the same everywhere. And this is why I was saying before, we need to build the like the educational and public health infrastructure locally. And we're I mean, I've talked about is, you know, perhaps what we need to do is get a teams of people involved, scientists have different disciplines, both the social and in the hard science side, and look at an area. So whether that's a village or a region, or Guapa, but identify an area and say, Let's improve the quality of life in this area, how do we what what's missing? What do we need to do? What do they need to do? Help them build the systems they need to improve their quality of life, food security, public health, education, those types of systems, we can do that. And then you replicate that until it doesn't work. And then you find out what, why it doesn't work here. And you create the solutions for that location. If enough of us do that. We can address all these things. Because to me, it's a series of local problems. It's not a global problem.


And do you think it's a series of local scientific problems, like problems that science can address? Or is because I mean, you said social science too, but sort of but we know a lot of you know, what is needed? Right? And but worse, actually, there's a tension between sort of what, what's going to be good for, you know, one group of people and what's going to be good for another group of people looking at that group of people? Right? 


Yeah. So it's not just about science. To me, science is not the limiting part about this is policy. Okay, here's how I describe it. Maybe this was the image we're talking about. So describe it. If you want to be successful, you need to make good decisions. And in order to make good decisions, you need information. And what controls the flow through that process is, is certainly the beginning. part about that, from information to decisions is experience. Experience allows you to, to sort out relevant from irrelevant information. It allows you to look at past decisions to know which ones were successful and which ones weren't. So the beginning part of that from information to decisions is largely influenced by experience. While we're rich and experience of hunger, we've got millennia of experience in hunger and famines. But when we look at the second half of that equation, from decisions to success, what guides that part is policy, because policy provides the framework for decision making. So it steers your decisions in a certain direction. If you don't have the policy, right, you don't end up where you want to end up. So we need to put more thought into the policy. And we haven't been successful in doing that. And again, I think some of that goes back to the thinking that we have a global problem. We don't have a global problem, we have a network of problems that don't have the same issues involved. So we need to change how we look at this hunger problem, this food security problem, it's not the same everywhere. It's not the water issues, not the same everywhere. The land availability issues, not the same everywhere, none of these things, the corruption in government, the wars, the history of any given country, are not the same. And it will and you know, the all you have to do is look at Europe, we have the European Union. But yet they struggle at times to make progress in a given area. And it's not for lack of desire. It's because we're talking about different countries, we're not talking about different states of the same country, we're talking about different countries that have different institutional cultures, they have different cultures, they have different languages, oftentimes, they don't have the same bureaucratic structure. So the agencies that are tasked with doing different things, they're not even the same. So it becomes more difficult to look at this as an aggregate problem, instead of an individual problem.


Is part of the some of the issue that that some of the people that need to put in resources, whether that be money would be one of them are not the people who are experiencing the problem. And there needs to be more sacrifice on the parts of some people to as inputs to help these other groups to get going. Right? It's sort of like a slap in my backyard. But like, you know, if you want to help the food security of another country or another part of even the United States, that's gonna take a sacrifice in resources from somebody else in the United States to do that. Right? And is there not the not necessarily the Will there to do it in some cases?


Yeah. So if I understood your point, I think this goes to that scale issue. And the scale is not even going to be the same in different places. Sometimes it's going to be very local, sometimes it'll be regional. And so the ability to cooperate, is absolutely critical. And that'll be defined by their history. And you only have to look at different regions of the world where conflict has been going on for 1000 years, to know that that's easier said than done to solve. So scale becomes an important issue in this. And again, that's why I'm kind of going to, it's not a single issue. And if you want to make real progress, we have to kind of back off from that. You know, there's a the old adage, this is when you can tell how old I'm getting to kind of remember these things, but you know, teach someone or give someone a fish, you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish you feed him for life. I think we need to incorporate that thinking into how we're approaching this problem. I don't think the solution is let's figure out a way to ship them enough food. I don't like that as the solution, because it exacerbates so many other issues.


I mean, I don't I don't I don't think so either. But what I'm just saying is that there there needs to be resources for somebody to do the teaching. Right? 


Sure. And that's not always the case. You know, what we can find it, just look at the impact Bill and Melinda Gates are having. That's real impact, what they're doing. It's impressive that they've dedicated their lives now and their resources to making real change for folks, it can be done. And there probably many people like them, maybe not with as much resource. But we need to kind of reorient the thinking of some of our government agencies that do these things, to look at the world a little bit differently.


Yeah, and so I think it's super important to recognize that that ever, like very much is hit. It's not one problem, right. There's not a single issue, there's a whole bunch of different issues. I think that's great. And we need to recognize that and, you know, I probably have, there's a lot more we could probably talk about, of course, right about sort of what that might look like down the end. But the main thing that I think that I that I want to take away from right here, from what you're saying is the shift to paying attention to these issues, not so much what the what the policies are going to look like, right, or sort of whether we can actually do it right, but just sort of look the food security, the global food security issue, right, and how we make the planet sustainable for, you know, however many billion people that will be at whatever, you know, point is an issue very much not just in production and distribution, right, sort of, there's no way we address that problem without hitting all sorts of policy, all sorts Economic all sorts of education and all sorts of infrastructure issues, right? So, so you've been going around talking to different people? How successful have you been in sort of convincing people to be paying more attention to this? 


Well, as you might imagine, I get mixed reaction. You know, it takes time to influence someone's thinking, I'm okay with that. I'm okay with people identifying where I need to fix my thing. I don't pretend to have this all sorted out. All I'm trying to do is get a discussion going in an area, which I think is deficient in enough thinking. So, you know, no, one person is going to have this sorted out. But I believe that the more thinking that we do, and the more exchanging of thinking, the better chance we have of getting to a better place. And I you know, so look at what our options, okay, let's just keep pushing the sample up, let it go. Let it go. And we and we can support 25 billion people on the planet. The consequence is that we're going to nourish them through manufactured protein tablets, synthetic food, we could do that. Is that really a desirable outcome? No, I like fresh food. I don't want to end up I wouldn't wish that on my children and grandchildren just wouldn't do that. I mean, so we have some decisions to make about what we think is a good vision for the world of the future. And and the decisions we make now will affect that.


And the critical importance of bringing diverse groups together, I think absolutely. Is the central portion of what I'm hearing you say? Yeah, absolutely.


Well, Jim, we want to be respectful of your time. This has been a really great conversation. Does you have anything else you'd like to say? Or Scott, Maureen? Do you have any further questions?


Well, thank you for not laughing or throwing anything.


No, I mean, I think you make a really good point. It's, it's, you know, the point of this podcast is to have discussions like this, and I hope anybody out there that's listening, you know, has appreciated, you know, kicking around some of these ideas. I mean, we don't have necessarily all the right answers, but the only way we're going to get to them is through discussion and collaboration and that sort of thing. 


Right. So lots of room for contribution to this. 


Clearly, young people out there starting their careers. You have a bright future ahead, right. Yeah. Well, thanks, Jim. We really appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. If you have any questions or comments you would like to share check out our website at and drop us an email.

Our music was adapted from Dr. Wayne Goins’s album Chronicles of Carmela. Special thanks to him for providing that to us. Something to Chew On is produced by the Office of Research Development at Kansas State University.