March 5-7 • The Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Ave., NW • Washington DC, 20036
RAFI, as part of the Seeds & Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture coalition, convened a summit to foster open-ended, peer-to-peer discussion among public plant breeders, federal policy makers, farmers and advocates. Invitees included research students and scientists from the U.S. land grant universities, who presented keynote papers, as well as USDA representatives and farmers from across the country. This was the summit’s third convening.
The purpose of the Summit, and key to this renaissance of resilience, included addressing the need for more public cultivars and breeds that are regionally adapted and readily accessible to both breeders and farmers, and that can remain in the public domain.
The Summit addressed the following issues:
- Creating longer, profitable and more diverse crop and livestock rotations that utilize and enhance a locally adapted biodiversity of seeds and breeds.
- Training and mentorship for the next generation of public plant and animal breeders.
- Strengthening our public germplasm collections that house a vast array of valuable genetic diversity.
- Achieving more options for farmer seed choices by strengthening the long-term U.S. public commitment to public cultivar development.
- Establishing a dedicated funding and research capacity through the USDA and other public agricultural agencies.
Key Findings & Recommendations
The Proceedings of the 2014 Summit on Seeds & Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture publication was published on October 31, 2014. The publication provides a compilation of the summit’s keynote papers, response papers, presentations and findings. It also provides a summary of the recommendations developed by participants during summit discussions, including short, medium and long-range recommendations and positive goals for reversing this crisis.
USDA Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence of GMO and Non-GMO Crops Held in Raleigh, NC (3/12/2015) - The USDA recently convened a Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence in Raleigh, NC. This invitation-only event was organized to address what happens when non-GMO crops are contaminated by GMO pollen. The meeting took place on March 12 and 13, 2015. Stakeholders representing several sectors from across the nation discussed the topic and reflected on recommendations offered […] Have We Reached a Tipping Point on the Loss of Seed Biodiversity? (11/4/2014) - RAFI is very proud to release the findings of the 2014 Summit on Seeds and Breeds for the 21st Century, held in March in Washington, DC. The Summit and Proceedings are the latest in our decades-long work on biodiversity in global seeds and agronomic animal breeds. To be part of the 2014 Summit on Seeds […] Report Calls For Action to Address Loss in Seed Biodiversity (10/31/2014) - RAFI report documents critical need for regionally-adapted public seeds and breeds to address the challenges of global climate change, and alarming erosion of public cultivar development capacity. Pittsboro, NC (October 31, 2014) – Today, the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI) published the proceedings from the 2014 Summit on Seeds and Breeds for 21st Century […] FY 2015 requests to USDA (4/4/2014) - Our requests for FY2015, on behalf of 58 organizations and businesses, include funding and report language that enhance public plant breeding for the 21st century. Cary Fowler explains the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (4/3/2014) - “If we don’t have crop diversity, we don’t have food security. If we don’t have food security, we aren’t going to have physical security." Cary Fowler talks to RAFI about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and new documentary, Seeds of Time. Press Release: More than 100 groups urge Congress to support Tester Amendment in 2013 Farm Bill (5/22/2013) - More than 100 farm organizations, scientists, businesses and nonprofits, including Organic Seed Alliance and Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, have signed a letter urging Congress to support Senator Tester’s amendment to the Senate Farm Bill.
The proposed Farm Bill currently on the Congress floor fails to direct more research dollars to classical breeding projects that would result in the benefit of publicly owned plant cultivars and animal breeds. A Critical Moment for a Resilient Food System (5/16/2013) - The full Senate is taking up the Farm Bill debate today, and, right now, there is no language in the bill that protects funding for classical breeding and research that results in publicly owned varieties. If the Senate Farm Bill goes through in its current form, American farmers and researchers looking for publicly owned crop varieties will find themselves with almost no options. Protecting Public Seeds and Breeds in the Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill (4/24/2012) - Today and tomorrow can determine whether taxpayer dollars support the development of seeds and breeds that belong to the public or to a few large corporations. The Senate Agriculture Committee’s draft of the Farm Bill leaves out specific language that would guarantee at least modest funding for classical breeding and public varieties through the USDA’s AFRI […]
The 2014 Summit on Seeds and Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture was made possible by the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI) and financial supporters including Clif Bar Family Foundation, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Seed Matters and individual donors committed to addressing these important issues.