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USDA’s Chief Scientist Woteki Helps Connect Scientists from across the Globe to Meet Global Challenges Facing Food and Agriculture

In an effort to advance food and agricultural research that enables farmers and ranchers to meet the growing global demand for food, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Scientist Catherine Woteki will lead the U.S. Government’s delegation to the first-ever Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) in Guadalajara, Mexico this week. Member countries committed to the meeting earlier this year at the June 2012 G-20 Leaders Summit, as a step to gain greater efficiency and utility from global agricultural research investments. The meeting is being convened by the Mexican government as part of their role heading the Group of Twenty (G-20) this year.

“Over the next 50 years, we will need to produce as much food for the world’s population as has been produced in the entire history of mankind,” said Woteki, who is also USDA’s Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “A challenge this serious and urgent requires bringing together the best minds in food and agricultural science to chart our course on research. This meeting is the first of its kind, and I believe it is the beginning of a collaboration that will benefit scientists, farmers, and citizens around the world.”

Agricultural research leaders from the G-20 countries, with participation from international and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, will work to identify global agricultural research and development (Ag R&D) priorities and define targets needed to sustainably increase agricultural productivity by 70 percent by 2050. Achieving the necessary increase in food production will require deliberate, long term commitments to Ag R&D from all nations, as well as a partnership and a coordinated research effort across these nations.

Recent international research collaborations have been critical to meet challenges such as combating wheat rust and increasing wheat productivity, fighting aflatoxin contamination in food, and sequencing genomes of important crops.

More information and details of the meeting’s agenda can be found at: http://www.sagarpa.gob.mx/G20/Paginas/Introduction.aspx.

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