Battelle report says Agbiosciences driving economic growth and job creation in Southern United States
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Agbioscience, and its value-chain in production agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, and downstream industrial activity, is vital to providing a sustainable global and domestic economic future, according to a study released today by Battelle called “Impact and Innovation: Agbioscience in the Southern United States.”
In addition, the nation’s Land-grant University Extension Service and Experiment Station System is leveraging advancements in modern science and technology to address crucial national and global needs through efforts in research and development, practice improvement, skills enhancement, and new technology introduction, dissemination, and adoption.
The current and future importance of the agbiosciences is hard to overstate,” said Simon Tripp, a co-author of the report. “For instance, this science and industry sector is fundamental to the survival of the world’s expanding population, the food security of our nation, and the health of our population.”
Equally important, the agbiosciences provide a path to economic growth for our nation built upon domestic renewable resources as feedstocks for fuels, chemicals, fibers, and industrial materials, according to the report.
“Impact and Innovation” notes that the Land-grant University Extension Service and Experiment Station System is on the frontline of sustaining and securing the nation’s leadership and competitiveness in what is, and will be, a sector of core strategic importance for the nation.
This system provides science and technology development and transformational education that keep the Southern Region’s agriculture, agribusiness, and associated business sectors at the forefront of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness, which in turn sustains and creates jobs and contributes to a strong regional, national, and global economy. Sustaining the Extension Service and Experiment Station System, further investing in it, and addressing its challenges is of central importance to the economic and social fabric of the nation and the Southern Region.
“The findings from this study underscore agbioscience’s potential in the Southern region,” said Saied Mostaghimi, chair of the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “By utilizing the research and development power of our Land-grant Universities, we can develop the knowledge and appropriate technologies to further increase agriculture and forestry production for food, fiber, and fuel, while improving food safety and nutrition, enhancing environmental stewardship, and promoting economic development.”
Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries production generates $240 billion in regional economic activity within the Southern Region and supports over 2.2 million jobs with labor income totaling $62 billion, underscoring the importance of the tie between the Land-grant University Extension Service and Experiment Station System and agriculture’s significant contribution to the economy and other quality of life factors. In addition, the downstream processing of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries output into value-added food and industrial products adds an additional $1 trillion in output across the Southern Region’s economy, and almost 4.6 million jobs with labor income totaling over $200 billion.
“Throughout our hundred-year history, Cooperative Extension has set the pace of change in agriculture, natural resources and rural America,” said Dr. Beverly Sparks, chair of the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors and Associate Dean for Extension, University of Georgia. “In today’s fast-changing world, we must provide the best decision-making tools and Extension education possible to farmers, ranchers, families and communities. It is imperative theSouthern region be well-prepared to take advantage of the tremendous potential we have before us.”
“In our science and technology-based economic development practice at Battelle, we have observed the consistent rise of agbioscience as a core driver of economic growth and business expansion opportunities for the U.S.,” Tripp said. “This is an extremely dynamic sector, leveraging sustainable biobased resources to produce goods that meet large-scale market needs. The Southern Region is a global leader in traditional agricultural economic activity, and can count itself as one of a select few regions in the world that is also leading the charge in emerging areas of the modern bioeconomy.
A major conclusion of the report highlights the importance of ongoing stakeholder support. The Southern Region’s Extension Service and Experiment Station System represents a uniquely powerful resource for sustaining and securing the region’s competitiveness and leadership in what is, and will be, a sector of core economic, social, and strategic importance. In recognition of this importance, the System is traditionally supported by federal, state, and local governments, and by industry, producers, commodity organizations, and other key stakeholders. This support must not only be sustained, but ideally—given the size and scope of grand domestic and global challenges addressed by the agbiosciences—should be significantly expanded so that the Southern Region can take advantage of the large-scale opportunities presented.
As the world’s largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs through its four global businesses: Laboratory Management; National Security; Health and Life Sciences; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.2 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including seven national laboratories which Battelle manages or co-manages for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a nuclear energy lab in the United Kingdom.
Battelle also is one of the nation’s leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
About Southern Region Land-grant Universities’ Extension Services and Experiment Stations
The Southern Region Land-grant Universities’ Extension Services and Experiment Stations are represented by the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors and the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, respectively. The two associations’ membership consists of directors, associate directors, and assistant directors (or their equivalents) of the State Cooperative Extension Services andAgricultural Experiment Stations of the Southern Region’s 13 states and two territories. They work to facilitate and coordinate multistate activities and are proactive regarding national policy issues related to federal authorizations and appropriations, strategic planning, partnerships, capacity and competitive funding programs, and special initiatives.
For more information, contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or email@example.com.
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