Becker Underwood, a company based in Ames, Iowa, announced on March 19 that it has entered a joint research grant partnership with South Africa's University of Pretoria and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The company awarded $200,000 over the next four years to support approximately eight agricultural sciences students' research grant projects at the University of Pretoria. The grants awarded on March 19 will help develop a network of qualified staff for agricultural product registrations.
"We spent almost a year looking at investment opportunities in the educational systems located in the communities we operate in and we identified an opportunity to partner with the University of Pretoria to address a skills shortage in the South African agriculture market," says Daniel Krohn, global sustainability lead for Becker Underwood. "We feel our investment will produce a younger generation of educated, research-driven leaders in agriculture which is essential to the countries competitiveness globally."
Becker Underwood's large contribution to this project will assist with agricultural advances in South Africa
"We have a wonderful opportunity to develop talent that will have a positive impact in South Africa through participation in our joint program," says Peter Innes, CEO of Becker Underwood. "I am very excited to follow the progress over the next four years. We have an opportunity to show the world that partnerships like ours with the University of Pretoria and the Department of Ag, Forestry and Fisheries are possible and can deliver positive results, to the benefit of a broad constituency."
The joint research grant program is part of the company's Sustainable Ventures Initiative – a program aimed at investing the resources of Becker Underwood into sustainable development opportunities that generate financial returns to the business and improve the quality of life for the communities we operate in. To document the progress of the program from beginning to end, the company has released the video "Opening Doors."
About Becker Underwood: Becker Underwood is a seed, animal nutrition and crop protection company. The firm was acquired for $1.02 billion last year by BASF of Germany. While the company has many products and services, it operates in seven primary product families: biostacked technology, inoculants, seed coatings, biological crop protection, livestock management products, landscape colorants and coatings, and turf & horticulture products. Further information on BASF is available at the BASF website.