Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MOARD) of the State of Israel have signed a formal agreement in Washington, DC, to collaborate on research to meet the world’s food and fiber needs and address other high-priority agricultural issues. ARS is USDA’s chief intramural scientific research agency.

Under the five-year agreement, scientists with ARS and MOARD will conduct cooperative research focusing on key bilateral and global agricultural development issues such as climate change, international food security, alternative energy production, precision agriculture, sustainable natural resources management, capacity building and rural development.

Specific areas of interest include animal production, aquaculture, horticulture, food safety and quality, water management and technology, sustainable agriculture, integrated pest management and post-harvest management of agricultural commodities.

"As the world’s population continues to grow, there is an urgent need to maximize the efficiency and environmental sustainability of agricultural production around the globe,” said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. “This agreement will facilitate partnerships between scientists in the United States and Israel and further our shared efforts in meeting current and future agricultural challenges with the development of innovative management practices and technologies.”

Knipling and MOARD Chief Scientist Yuval Eshdat signed the agreement in a ceremony at the Embassy of Israel in Washington. Zvi Herman, minister for agricultural and science affairs at the Embassy of Israel, also attended the signing.

The new agreement will complement existing collaborative research activities supported by the United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD), a program that was created in 1978. To date, BARD-sponsored research has led to new technologies in drip irrigation, pesticides, fish farming, livestock, poultry, disease control and farm equipment.