Agricultural systems are susceptible to environmental, economic, and societal shocks. Recent data reveals vulnerabilities and raises concerns due to the frequency and intensity of system disturbances.

On Oct. 4, the GAP Initiative of the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation (SPG Coalition) will host a hybrid event, “Accelerating Agricultural Productivity Growth for a Sustainable, Resilient World,” focused on new, alarming data and solutions for building more sustainable, resilient systems that can meet these present and future challenges.

Held at the National Press Club from 7:30-11 a.m. ET, the event will feature the release of the 2022 Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report), "Troublesome Trends and System Shocks." New data on global agricultural productivity unveiled in the report will show that — without swift action and long-term resolve — current efforts are inadequate to the scope of the agricultural challenges that the world faces. The conference also will highlight hands-on, proven actions taking place to advance agricultural productivity growth.

Doors open for a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The program begins at 8 a.m. Registration is required to attend in-person or online.

At the event, policymakers, private-sector innovators, and research leaders will discuss the need to accelerate agricultural productivity growth and concrete actions to do so. Featured speakers include:

  • Jewel Bronaugh, deputy secretary of agriculture, USDA
  • Cyril Clarke, executive vice president and provost of Virginia Tech
  • Tom Thompson, associate dean and director CALS Global, Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Wei Zhang, assistant professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
  • Jessica Agnew, associate director, CALS Global, Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer, Smithfield Foods
  • Andrés Rodriguez, agriculture attaché of the government of Chile
  • Canisius Kanangire, executive director, African Agricultural Technology Foundation
  • Sylvia Megret, president and chief executive officer, ACDI/VOCA
  • Keith Fuglie, senior economist at USDA Economic Research Service
  • Elise Golan, director of Sustainable Development, Office of Chief Economist, USDA
  • Jocelyn Brown Hall, director of the Liaison Office for North America, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Francois Chrétien, acting director for Living Labs Division in the Agrosystem Resilience Office in the Science and Technology Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Sarah Brown Dirkes, head of Public Affairs, North America, BASF Agricultural Solutions
  • Nikki Dutta, scientific program officer, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
  • Matthew Worrell, minister-counsellor, agriculture, Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C.
  • Pierre Petelle, president, CropLife Canada
  • Christina Zola Peck, strategic communications manager, International Fertilizer Development Center
  • Paul Rennie, counsellor global issues, British Embassy, Washington, D.C.
  • Tek Bahadur Sapkota, senior scientist (agricultural systems/climate change), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

About the GAP Initiative

The Global Agricultural Productivity Initiative at Virginia Tech advocates for accelerating sustainable agricultural productivity growth at all scales of production for food and nutrition security, economic development, and environmental stewardship. The GAP Initiative collaborates with partners in the private sector, NGOs, conservation organizations, universities, and global research institutions to provide a roadmap for progress through the Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report) and engagements with partners worldwide.

About the SPG Coalition

The Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation is a voluntary coalition of over 100 members from national governments, private sector organizations, academic and research institutions, and foundations. The objective of the SPG Coalition is to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through a holistic approach to productivity growth that considers impacts and trade-offs among multiple objectives, including, but not limited to, food security and nutrition, food affordability and accessibility, farmer and farmworker incomes and well-being, resource conservation, biodiversity, soil health, water quality, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

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