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  • Cornell AgriTech
  • Food Science
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Entomology

QU Dongyu, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), visited Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences May 7-8 to talk with faculty, staff and graduate students about efforts to build sustainable and resilient food systems worldwide.

“I was inspired by my visit to Cornell,” said QU, who with other FAO representatives toured the college’s campuses in Ithaca and Geneva, New York. “CALS is a leading example of how integrated research and science can bolster food security and agrifood systems transformation efforts.”

“It was an honor to welcome Director-General QU and members of his team,” said Benjamin Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean. “CALS and FAO have had a long and fruitful partnership, and our shared vision of bolstering science-based solutions for our world’s agrifood systems presents tremendous opportunities to work together to solve some of the greatest challenges facing global food production.”

QU engaged with faculty on the Ithaca campus from the Departments of Global Development, Animal Science, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Food Science; the School of Integrative Plant Science; and the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program on how CALS is striving to impact communities and create a more equitable, sustainable and food-secure world. Highlights included discussion on the role of Land-Grant institutions, innovation to improve crop performance, working toward a bio-nutrient economy, forest carbon sequestration, improving food product nutrition, reducing methane from livestock animals and using integrated pest management in crops.

At Cornell AgriTech QU met with faculty engaged in research for specialty crop breeding, and pest and disease management. He explored the diversity of apple trees in the USDA-ARS germplasm repository, an invaluable resource to breeders worldwide, and also learned about the campus’s apple breeding program, the oldest in the U.S.

Innovation for producers in the 21st century was a central theme during the AgriTech tour, and faculty demonstrated how autonomous robots, AI and other digital technologies can efficiently and precisely manage crop health.

“The exciting work taking place at Cornell AgriTech has impactful potential, not just for New York but globally,” said QU. “Through their cutting-edge agricultural science, research and development, they are leading the way with innovative solutions.”

A roundtable discussion with Ph.D. students concluded his visit to Cornell AgriTech. QU, a plant geneticist, described his scienced-based path to the role of the Director-General of FAO and encouraged students to make an impact on the world.

“If you want to make difference in lives, agricultural and food science is one of the best ways to it,” he said, adding, “You can make a difference too as scientists: Be diligent, dedicated, curious and open-minded, and you will become changemakers.”

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