New Collaborations Are Key to Capitalizing on Agriculture’s Research and Development Opportunities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Identifying new partnerships and novel ways to collaborate on research and development will help growers and companies in the agricultural industry meet the need to increase global food production and identify new energy sources in a sustainable manner, according to Julia Wheeler, director, research and development ‑ DuPont Crop Protection.

“We think the best way to innovate in the future will be with joint initiatives and collaborations that bring together the distinctive strengths of multiple organizations,” Wheeler said in a presentation at CropWorld North America 2011 in Charlotte, N.C.

Wheeler said these new relationships will be essential for creating bold and imaginative ways to meet the need for improved productivity and crop quality while overcoming the challenges of rising research and development costs, a shrinking talent pool, new regulatory hurdles and increasing demands from society to do it all with less impact on the environment. “These societal pressures can be successfully addressed with innovation that comes about as disparate organizations find new ways to work together,” she said. “Fortunately, some novel collaborations are already taking place that allow us to accomplish together what we can’t accomplish alone.”

Wheeler pointed to current examples of collaboration, including joint review processes with international regulatory agencies that expedite getting new products to market globally, studies by non-governmental organizations and industry associations that identify new standards and policies for agricultural operations, and joint initiatives between academic institutions and companies that facilitate knowledge-sharing and discovery.

“These success stories are evidence of what can be accomplished. But they’re only the beginning of what will be necessary to address issues facing our society,” she added.

Wheeler also pointed to the need to identify new sources of talent in North America and elsewhere. She noted the industry must find ways to encourage young people to invest their talent, skills and energy in agriculture and to work across borders to identify and tap into expertise from around the world.

CropWorld North America 2011 is a congress and exhibition for those at the forefront of sustainable crop production. Building on the foundation and heritage of earlier events, CropWorld’s two-day conference encompasses all aspects of the crop production value chain, from soil preparation and seed to produce stands and store shelves.