ARLINGTON, Texas, April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS), the ATIP Foundation (Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership) has established a public-private partnership to enhance research on sustainable soil health for multiple land uses in agriculture.
"We live in a nation that can easily satisfy all of its food needs thanks to the extraordinary productivity of our farmers and their careful management of our soil resources," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Through this public-private partnership, led by the ATIP Foundation, the agriculture sector has created a model of leveraging public and private resources to address sustainability and economic prosperity by enhancing research on land management practices."
The partnership supports and strengthens the research that serves as the underpinning of demonstration projects, such as the "Unlock the Secrets of the Soil" campaign announced by USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service in October 2013.
Since early 2013, the ATIP Foundation has been engaged in conversations with private sector corporations, non-government organizations, and other parties with an interest in sustaining soil health for these important multiple uses. Today, the Foundation announced the formal establishment of the "Resilient Economic Agricultural Practices" public-private partnership, or REAP PPP, with seven founding participants: POET-DSM, the National Corn Growers Association, Monsanto, New Holland Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, Archer Daniels Midland Company, and DuPont Pioneer.
According to Dr. Catherine Woteki, Chief Scientist of USDA and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, "the world population is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, requiring 40% more production of plant and animal protein from our limited arable lands. That land must also produce fiber and biofuels, and provide wildlife habitat. We welcome the help of this public-private partnership to help us reach these important goals."
"Researchers, along with the agriculture sector must address the complexities of multiple land use without compromising soil health, water, or air resources," said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Administrator of ARS. "Achieving this requires sustained long term research on land management practices across the varied U.S. landscape," continued Jacobs-Young. REAP will benefit from years of prior research by scientists from the ARS and their land grant university partners at locations in 13 states.
Historically, such long term research was conducted largely through federal funds from Congressional appropriations to the Departments of Agriculture and Energy. "In these times of fiscal constraint and diminishing federal funding, the continuation of these ongoing programs is at risk roughly half way through their needed lifecycle," according to Richard Brenner, Director of the ATIP Foundation. "Thus, to ensure there are sufficient resources for uninterrupted continuation of this critical research, a new model for a public-private partnership is being launched." Donations from the founding participants have been provided by the Foundation to ARS to support critical long-term field studies.
The seven founding participants of the REAP PPP comprise a Technical Review Council, and met recently in Tampa, Florida, to hear research results from ARS scientists, and to advise the Foundation on a strategy to broaden outreach to the private, non-governmental and agriculture sectors that benefit from the research of ARS. Because the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, participation in the REAP PPP is offered through a tax-exempt donation under a "Restricted Gift Memorandum of Understanding" developed by the Foundation. Others interested in joining this partnership can contact the Foundation for a template copy of the MOU.
The ATIP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity with offices in Arlington, Texas and member offices in eight states. For more information on the ATIP Foundation and its members, including a Frequently Asked Questions document, visit www.atipfoundation.com.
Richard Brenner, Ph. D.
SOURCE Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership (ATIP) Foundation