Timothy Kurt, DVM, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Director
Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
“Key Considerations for Agricultural and Food Systems Research in the Pandemic Era”
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our society and has caused massive disruption to food systems across the world. In the U.S., there have been anticipated shortages of certain food products, leading to substantial consumer “stocking” behavior, which caused scarcities and price fluctuations. At the same time, farmers have been forced to dump or plow-under raw materials due to the lack of demand associated with closure of entire industries. These events were followed by actual shortages in meat products, due to high rates of COVID-19 infection in the processing sector, which caused significant reductions in capacity. Here, it is important to recognize that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the wellbeing of communities of color and essential workers including those in meat industry. Processing plant closures nationwide were predicted to result in the wholesale slaughter of several million animals – an outcome which has largely been avoided. However, many questions remain, including: (1) How do we balance human and animal wellbeing while ensuring food availability and minimizing food loss during crises? (2) What is the role of science and technology in preventing these types of events and mitigating future shocks to the food system? (3) Where do plant-based “meat” products fit into the broader picture of food security? In this Baumann Lecture, I will provide an overview of these topics and welcome an interactive discussion regarding the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research’s priorities and funding opportunities during the pandemic era.
Zoom Recording ID: 96376635406
Meeting Time: 2020-09-15T19:44:06Z