ATLANTA, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- During his keynote address from the stage of an international conference discussing the talent and innovation needs for agriculture in 2050, Monsanto Company Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant announced a $3 million additional commitment grant to Monsanto's Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program (MBBISP). In front of approximately 450 attendees, including international students, academic advisors and key agricultural leaders attending the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) Conference, Grant announced the additional commitment to this important program, focused on training the next generation of global rice and wheat plant breeders.
To date, the MBBISP program has supported 52 students from 21 different countries. With today's additional commitment announcement of $3 million, Monsanto's total program investment equals $13 million and will fund the program through 2016.
"Farmers need the best innovations if they are to help feed, clothe and power our growing world in a sustainable way," said Grant. "Innovations come from the best and brightest minds around the world and agriculture is a business where innovations are not only needed, but essential for the future. Talented young men and women can find a home in agriculture to put their energy, ideas and passion to work to make a significant, positive impact on their world and real people."
Started in 2009, MBBISP is named in honor and celebration of the accomplishments of Hank Beachell, Ph.D., and Norman Borlaug, Ph.D., two preeminent plant breeders in rice and wheat, respectively, whose research has been instrumental in reducing hunger for billions of people relying on rice and wheat for their daily nutrition.
"My grandfather was passionate about science and the opportunity of advancing agriculture to help improve the human condition," said Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of the late Dr. Borlaug. "Programs in education and training for young scientists are an investment in our collective future, and I believe my grandfather would be inspired and energized by the tremendous research being accomplished in this global scholars program that bears his name."
Rice and wheat are among the most widely consumed cereal grains in the world and represent the major source of calories in many parts of the developing world. Further production improvements in these crops will be essential to help meet the food needs of the anticipated global population of 9 billion people by 2050.
Over the next three years, the program, which is administered by Texas AgriLife Research, an agency of the Texas A&M University System, will continue to help identify outstanding young scientists and support them with Ph.D. training in advanced plant breeding techniques, at least one season of field experience in a developing country, and leadership development. Current MBBISP scholars are focusing their research on critical constraints affecting rice or wheat production at universities with doctorate programs in rice or wheat breeding.
Students are selected by a panel of preeminent judges representing some of the most accomplished scientific leaders in rice and wheat breeding.
About Monsanto's Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program
Monsanto established MBBISP in 2009 in honor of Hank Beachell, Ph.D., and Norman Borlaug, Ph.D., two preeminent plant breeders in rice and wheat respectively. Their lifelong work laid the foundation for the tremendous increases in rice and wheat production that continue to help feed the world today. The goal of MBBISP is to: (1) aid in the development of highly educated rice and wheat breeders who can serve as future leaders in the field of agriculture and (2) provide opportunities for young scientists to experience the important work and mission of public sector research institutions, particularly in developing countries. To date, Monsanto has committed $13 million to MBBISP and the program has supported 52 students from 21 different countries. More information on MBBISP is available at www.monsanto.com/mbbischolars.
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows at www.monsantoblog.com, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
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