Nat'l-Geo-FoodThe growing global demand for meat was one of the issues discussed Tuesday at the World Food Prize event in Des Moines.

Dennis Dimick, Executive Environment Editor at National Geographic magazine, addressed a gathering of more than 600 Iowans and talked about the publication’s special series on “The Future of Food.”

Dimick says many experts question whether increasing meat consumption in developing countries is a good thing. They cite human health and environmental issues.

“How much meat is really necessary for a healthy diet? We know the more (meat) we eat, the more pressure there is on water, land, and energy resources,” Dimick said.

Craig Hill, president of Iowa Farm Bureau, defends the trend. He believes moderation in meat consumption is the key and adds the livestock industry will continue to improve feed conversion and its environmental footprint.

“We’ll have to learn to become more efficient, we’ll have to be better stewards, and we’re learning as we go,” Hill said. “All diets should include some type of high value protein like we have in our meats.”

The discussion was part of the eighth annual Iowa Hunger Summit, organized by the World Food Prize, which continues today in downtown Des Moines. World Food Prize officials report more than 1,300 people from 60 countries are in attendance.