North Dakota continues to feed America and many parts of the world — but there’s room for more

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America is feeding and healing the world one foreign aid at a time and the heartland, well, is at the heart of it. But experts want women’s participation and climate change tackled so the heartland continues to thrive.

The Midwest contributes significantly to America’s breadbasket.

Our state’s contribution to ag exports earned it $4.1 billion in 2019.

Experts at the inaugural virtual summit, Heartland Partnership, are urging businesses in the sector to take advantage of the mutually beneficial relationship.

“First of all, it is the right thing to do. We have a responsibility to ensure we are able to feed the additional two billion people who will be living on this planet 30 years from now,” said Jon Nash, president of Cargill’s North America Protein Division.

Nash said as the world population grows the region must prepare for its food needs.

But in order to do that, Nash said there must be “access to growing world markets because U.S. farmers are going to be critical to meeting that demand.”

That is why there is the need to “work together to ensure that our food system is dependable and resilient — no matter what happens in the world,” he added.

The success of the ag industry will not be complete without the contribution of women.

Director of Center for Tech Diplomacy Bonnie Glick said women farm owners are more efficient at sustaining farms given the appropriate support.

“When women are involved in farming, especially when they are the owners, they’re not only more productive than a lot of their male farm counterparts, but also they invest in and plan for next season’s harvest,” according to Glick.

But ag’s biggest threat is still climate change.

When Rep. Dean Phillips, of Minnesota, spoke at the summit, he said Congress must act now firmly to lessen global warming impact.

“We have to collectively in Congress and at the state level develop the right policies and ensure they are well supported,” said Phillips.

Phillips said efforts to mitigate climate change effects “begin in the heartland.”

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