Bigger in Texas
In 2018, Stover brought his leadership and research talents to Texas A&M University. Why make the move? He visualized the complex challenges ahead in agriculture and nutrition, and, faced with the enormity of the problems he wanted to solve, he realized Texas A&M AgriLife was the best-equipped place to launch a new vision.
“Several factors appealed to me,” he said. A combination of migration and natural increase have made Texas the country's fastest growing state. Texas also has one of the highest burdens of diet-related disease, and it’s especially concentrated in underserved communities. Agriculture is critical to the Texas economy, now and far into the future. Texas A&M houses one of the largest colleges of agriculture in the country, and the future of Texas agriculture is robust. Still, there is an increasing disconnect between people and their food due to urbanization.
“If there was ever a place with the opportunity to restore the connection between people and their food and between agriculture and chronic disease, it’s Texas and Texas A&M AgriLife,” Stover said.
Stover wants to remake the future of food with an emphasis on health—for people, the land and producers’ bottom lines. He’s also determined to connect science and action by improving the translation of findings to decision-makers, producers, communities and individuals.
From Cotton to Carbon
In the mid-20th century, producing enough food was essential to combating hunger worldwide. The resulting food system was therefore abundant, affordable and high in caloric density. While this system proved successful in its intended mission, the unintended consequences are obesity and related health conditions. Treating diet-related chronic diseases now costs Americans trillions of dollars annually.