(Posted Tue. Sep 6th, 2016)
The Multi-Commodity Phenotyping Initiative kicked off joint activities by hosting an educational webinar for representatives from member organizations on the current state of phenotyping science and current U.S. government phenotyping programs. This first step, which was organized by the National Corn Growers Association, provided a strong foundation for the coalition moving forward.
“With this webinar, we took a first step together in a long journey toward a brighter future for so many farmers,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair Larry Hoffmann, a farmer from North Dakota. “American agriculture as a whole needs strong work in the area of phenotyping to ensure both our farmers and environment continue to thrive. By collaborating in our efforts, we will reach our goals of ensuring sustainable food for families and a strong farming sector for our country.”
The Initiative brings together groups representing citrus, corn, cotton, fruit tree, peanut, sorghum, soybean, sunflower, vegetable and wheat farmers with The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in a joint effort to support technology development that will allow farmers to monitor crops in a way that provides unprecedented decision-making ability in real time. Through this data, farmers will be able to make precise, informed production decisions that will increase yield and benefit the environment, through improved water and fertilizer-use efficiency and carbon sequestration, while producing a more sustainable food supply. Additionally, the group expects these new technologies will aid seed companies in the development of improved cultivars and hybrids.
The educational webinar featured a presentation from Duke Pauli, a post-doctoral associate from The Gore Lab at Cornell University, reviewing the science of phenotyping. Following Pauli, Dan Northrup, an associate with U.S. Department of Energy contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, provided an overview of current DOE programs relevant to this scientific area.
NCGA, through the work of its Research and Business Development Action Team, brought the group together in response to growing concern that the United States has fallen behind European and Australian counterparts in its agricultural phenotyping efforts. Through this initiative, the coalition aims to move U.S. agriculture back into a leadership position in this important scientific area.