The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

Virginia Tech: A Global Land-Grant University Serving the World

By Timothy Sands
President, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Greetings from Virginia Tech!  I look forward to representing the university on a panel at the Borlaug Dialogue this fall and sharing the story of our faculty and students who are improving food and nutrition security, protecting natural resources, and supporting economic growth around the world. 

Established in 1872, Virginia Tech is part of the land-grant university system tasked by Congress with providing a practical education in agriculture and technology, and undertaking original research in areas that benefit U.S. farmers, workers, industry, communities and consumers.  It is one of our nation’s most effective public investments, completely altering the economic and social structure of America. Land-grant research and extension programs supported a 170 percent increase in U.S. farm output from 1948-2015 using the same amount of land, less water, and significantly less labor.  As a result, U.S. consumers enjoy reliable access to a variety of safe, affordable food and agricultural products.

Norman Borlaug understood the power of land-grant universities, and Virginia Tech is answering his call to “take it to the farmer.”  Our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) reflects Dr. Borlaug’s work and passion through our rich tradition of sharing the innovations created by our students and faculty to serve our communities, our region and the world. 

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is at the center of Virginia Tech’s land-grant tradition, with a curriculum that ranges from the traditional production agricultural topics taught for more than a century, to innovative technologies that increase the sustainability and efficiency of food, agricultural, and natural resources production systems.  Our research explores the scientific depths of human interaction with the natural world and seeks solutions to address the diverse economic, social, and environmental challenges of an increasingly interdependent planet.

Virginia is home to one of the most diverse agricultural systems in the country. Our Agricultural Experiment Station and our eleven Agricultural Research and Extension Centers conduct research and provide education in areas such as aquaculture, cotton, peanuts, soybeans, livestock, forages, forestry, silvopastoral systems, and equine health, just to name a few. Our exceptional food science programs help protect the safety of our food supply and reduce food waste.

In addition to serving the farmers and consumers in our commonwealth, Virginia Tech is a global hub for agricultural knowledge, innovation and engagement. Virginia Tech is proud to be the new home to the annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report), which will be released at the World Food Prize on October 16th.   The GAP Report is part of the CALS Office of Global Programs whose mission is to create opportunities for faculty and students to collaborate with farmers and researchers around the world.

Virginia Tech’s Center for Agricultural Trade provides data and policy analysis to increase the competitiveness of agricultural producers in Virginia, the U.S. and beyond. As home to the USAID Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab, Virginia Tech develops technologies and practices that help vulnerable farmers reduce crop losses and increase their incomes.  Our College of Natural Resources and Environment is at the forefront of research on global conservation challenges and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine works closely with agricultural producers to ensure the abundance, quality and safety of our food supply.

Virginia Tech aspires to be a leading global university and top destination for talent and innovation that empowers students, graduates and faculty to solve the world’s challenges. We are proud to be part of the World Food Prize family and to work with you to ensure that, in Dr. Borlaug’s words, “Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” 

I look forward to meeting you in Des Moines!

07/15/2019 8:00 AM |Add a comment
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