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Feeding Our Neighbors and the World

Quint Pottinger

Quint Pottinger is being honored as a Future of American Agriculture Champion of Change.

When I was three my favorite thing to do was to go riding in the combine with my dad cutting soybeans. When I think back, I can still feel that warm fall setting sun beaming through the cab. I can smell the soybean dust and see the header reel rotate bringing the crop in. That is when I decided I wanted to “spend my life doing what dad does.”  My love for farming grew as my responsibilities grew. My love for agriculture began when my high school agriculture teacher opened my eyes about the diverse industry. She challenged me to think outside the box and to explore opportunities outside of my comfort zone. It was there that my passion for agriculture began leading me to attend the University of Kentucky.

One of my professional goals, as well as personal passions, is the need to create solutions for the growing world hunger. When I began to think about how I could be a driving force in creating this change, I turned to my wife for new consumer perspective. Together we decided to build a farm brand to make the American farmer real for our customers. Affinity Farms was established with the initial goal to grow soybeans, corn, and vegetables. By marketing our corn to local distilleries and vegetables at the farmers market, we opened a dialog with our consumers and community about the American agriculture industry.

The American consumer wants to know their farmer and they want to know that the farmer is using safe and sustainable farming practices. By creating this open dialogue, we connect with our consumers. While this is a very important initiative on our farm, it is only one of many goals that my wife and I have set out to accomplish. The world’s population is growing at a quick pace. We cannot and will not feed the world in 2050 with 2015 farming practices. Using cutting edge technology and biotechnology, we can achieve the increased production that will pull us out of this world food dilemma.

Technology is a big piece of the puzzle, but it is not the only piece. Three years ago I had the opportunity to travel to the Panama Canal and to several Colombian soybean buyers and processors. This visit allowed me to see how American soybeans are being used to make fishmeal healthier, higher in protein, and decreasing the inputs making it more affordable for consumers. American agriculture and American farmers are making huge investment in infrastructure to help move more food into hungry foreign markets. In January 2014, I traveled to South Africa to learn about the growing need for food and the challenges they have to push food up through the continent. Being an American farmer and seeing the challenges to feed this world, I can tell you that it will not be easy. We have a tough row to hoe.

Farming is something I love. The dirt does not just stain our hands; it runs deep in our blood. I will be resolute in reaching out to my community to put a face on the farmer. I can speak with certainty that the American farmer is meeting the world food crisis head on, and we will feed this world whether it is through our commodities, production education, or infrastructure development.

Quint Pottinger is member of the Kentucky Soybean Association (KSA), sitting on the KSA board in an educational role with the DuPont Young Leader program. He is also serving with the Corn Growers Coalition promoting young family farmers and a member of the Kentucky Agriculture Leadership Program Class X.