World population increase adds focus on farming

The population of planet Earth passed the 7 billion mark in October, more than doubling in only 50 years.{}

So, how will we feed 9 billion by 2050? It may be a problem.{} The U.N.{}Food and Agriculture organization says farmers will have to produce 70% more food by 2050 to meet the world's needs.{}

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan wants to make sure the state has a plan to maximize its agricultural output.{} It was the subject of a meeting in Birmingham of 150 business, higher education and government leaders.{} "We're doing a lot of work on irrigation. Alabama is way behind even our sister states of Georgia and Mississippi with irrigation and being able to increase production of our crops. That's probably how really, bottom line in Alabama, we can be the most effective is having much more irrigation than we have" McMillan said.

He adds{}that by improving the irrigation, it will take nature almost out of the equation.{} This year{}we experienced a drought. McMillan told ABC 33/40, this year, those who grow corn and have good irrigation systems produced four or five times as much crop as those who did not.