On June 8th, during the Nutrition for Growth event in London, the United Kingdom and United States governments announced plans to launch the Global Open Data Initiative for Agriculture and Nutrition. This, in turn, built on the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture conference in late April, where I witnessed a successful coming together of innovators sharing new ways to make agriculturally-relevant data accessible to users around the world. That goal is gaining momentum, and I am pleased to see a global initiative being formed on this critical issue because we must work together to achieve a “data revolution” for agriculture.
But it will only be successful if others come forward to join us, and I hope others will join us as we use data as another tool to help produce and feed people with safe, nutritious food. Read more »
I am excited to report that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will lead the U.S. delegation for an important conference at the end of April at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture in Washington. I will join the Secretary at the conference to launch the G8 countries’ collaborative effort to make our agriculturally-relevant research and statistical data accessible to users in Africa and around the world. Read more »
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) today presented a report on the importance of USDA’s leadership in agricultural research. The Council is a diverse group of individuals appointed by the President from across the basic and applied scientific community to advise the President and the Executive Office of the President on key scientific issues.
Report to the President on Agricultural Preparedness & the Agriculture Research Enterprise, by the Council, concludes that the United States is the undisputed world leader in agricultural production today, but also cautions that U.S. agriculture also faces a number of challenges that are poised to become much more serious in the years ahead.
There is no question that the report recognizes American agriculture and USDA’s leadership in agricultural science and research as critical to the efforts to ensure greater food security and a better future for everyone. Read more »
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.” Read more »
It’s been a productive time here in Qingdao, China. USDA and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), with support from the Gates Foundation, have gathered some of the top minds from around the world at the Mini-Summit on Agricultural Research to discuss challenges related to food security, food safety, and sustainable agriculture. China’s Vice Minister for Science and Technology, Zhang Laiwu and I led talks among experts from many nations and many sectors to focus on strengthening international research collaboration to benefit our nations and agriculture around the world. Representatives of organizations like the Gates Foundation joined forces with African research leaders, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank to share information and discuss ways to leverage global resources to address global challenges affecting all nations.
The USDA and China’s MOST have a history of working together, with mutual respect, and with each meeting the relationship between our agencies grow stronger. USDA’s vision to address our shared challenges in the developed and developing world alike includes cooperative multilateral and international efforts. Through these efforts, we hope to further establish global research collaboration platforms which provide the building blocks for the scientific community to confront many of our most pressing challenges. These platforms include: Read more »
As USDA’s Chief Scientist I oversee a team of world class scientists, economists, statisticians, and support staff working to solve some of the biggest challenges facing us all – a changing climate, uncertain energy sources, rising childhood obesity rates, food insecurity around the globe – and making sure our solutions are safe and sustainable.
In 2010, one of my first initiatives as Chief Scientist was to ask this group of food, agricultural, and natural resource science professionals to develop an Action Plan for USDA Science. The Action Plan provides an in depth analysis of these challenges and identifies the roles of USDA’s science agencies in addressing them. Read more »