The World Food Prize partnered in organizing this inaugural event, at which Roger Beachy of USDA was joined by 2009 Laureate Gebisa Ejeta and other eminent agricultural leaders to discuss importance of agricultural science and research
Agricultural science and its many benefits were at the center of the first AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture, which was held in Washington, DC, on June 15. The World Food Prize was a co-organizer of the event, together with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Riley Memorial Foundation.
The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Roger Beachy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at the US Department of Agriculture. His address, titled "Agricultural Research: Changing of the Guard, Guarding the Change" (full text here), drew attention to the driving role that innovations and advances in agricutural science played in the United States, outlined several current challenges facing U.S. and global agriculture, and suggested critical areas where renewed vigor is needed in agricultural science in the coming decades.
Dr. Beachy's remarks were followed by a discussion, led by Dr. Molly Jahn of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and featuring Farm Foundation President Dr. Neil Conklin and 2009 World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, that considered the impact that agricultural science can have particularly once it reaches farmers, both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Ejeta's comments acknowledged the urgent need, in many developing and food-insecure areas of the world, for agricultural science to be embraced by leaders and for its benefits to be realized. “With all the breakthroughs that we have made in science around the world, we have not been able to give humanity that fundamental right, that God-given right to enough food,” he said.