USDA has selected 10 researchers from seven developing countries to work side-by-side with U.S. scientists on finding ways to increase food production while mitigating the effects of climate change.

The selections, which were announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, were made under the Global Research Alliance Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship (Borlaug Fellows) Program.

“The world faces the dual challenges of feeding upwards of 1 billion hungry people while working to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and agriculture is poised to take a lead role in addressing both,” said Vilsack.

Previous commitment

“With the announcement of these Borlaug Fellows, we are making good on the commitment we made when we joined 20 other countries in founding the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and pledged to support the participation of developing countries in the development of the new tools and agricultural practices needed to meet these challenges.”

The 10 researchers, two each from Chile, India, and Malaysia and one each from  Ghana, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam, have chosen the following areas in which to conduct their research: developing tools for greenhouse gas and carbon sequestration assessments; mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in crop, grazing, or confined animal production systems; and developing databases and strategies for synthesis, integration, and decision support to manage greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in agricultural systems.

Each researcher will work closely with a U.S. scientist located at one of 10 U.S. universities or USDA Agricultural Research Service facilities for up to three months in their targeted area of research. One fellowship begins this fall; the rest begin in spring 2011.

Global Research

The knowledge and experience that these researchers will bring home with them directly supports the ambitions of the Global Research Alliance, said Vilsack. The Alliance focuses on research, development, and extension of technologies and practices to grow more food, and more climate-resilient food systems, without growing greenhouse gas emissions.

“This will be accomplished through partnerships among researchers in participating countries with the purpose of developing new knowledge and technologies that can be transferred to farmers and other land and resource managers around the globe.” 
Alliance member countries are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

For more information about the Global Research Alliance Borlaug Fellows Program, go to http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/borlaug/Special_Programs/GRA/GRA%20Main.asp