Monsanto Commits $10 Million To Rice And Wheat Research

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Monsanto has announced a $10 million grant to establish Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program to identify and support young scientists interested in improving research and production in rice and wheat through plant breeding techniques.

The program will be administered by Texas A&M University for the next five years. The program honours the accomplishments of Dr. Henry Beachell and Dr. Norman Borlaug, who pioneered plant breeding and research in rice and wheat, respectively.

Applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of global judges chaired by program director Dr. Ed Runge of Texas A&M University.

“Research in these two staple crops has fallen behind others, and it is my hope this program will help jump-start additional investment in two of the world’s most important grains. We encourage any eligible rice or wheat breeders around the world to apply for the award,” Runge said in a release.

Students interested in applying to the program can find more details at www.monsanto.com/mbbischolars.Applications will be accepted until May 31.

Announcement of the first year’s winners is planned to correspond with the World Food Prize held in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 15, 2009.

The announcement of the grant on March 25 marks the celebration of Dr. Borlaug’s 95th birthday.

“As the world celebrates the birthday of Dr. Borlaug, Monsanto is pleased to mark the accomplishments of two great men in agriculture by establishing this scholars program,” said Dr. Ted Crosbie, vice-president, global plant breeding, Monsanto. “Drs. Beachell and Borlaug devoted their lives to ensuring farmers had access to the best rice and wheat varieties and to the advancement of science through education. This award seeks to continue their work to enable future generations of farmers to feed our growing population.”

Dr. Borlaug, often called the “father of the Green Revolution,” remains active in the fight against world hunger. Along with his work through Texas A&M University, he chairs the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative and remains involved in the World Food Prize and Borlaug Fellows Program established by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. He also continues to collaborate with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, where he did much of his plant breeding work.

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