CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — As the Earth evolves, new pests and plant diseases pose a threat to farmers and their crops. Global research led by Penn State looks to reduce the negative effects of these threats, create jobs, and help Pennsylvania farmers.
The initiative has been awarded up to $39 million dollars, announced during the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Over the next five years, researchers will explore agricultural threats and food insecurity.
“We’ll be working on problems of growing more food with all of the current stressors that we face,” said David Hughes, Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Global Food Security at Penn State.
The research will take place internationally, spanning 21 countries.
“Since we’ll be working directly with youth, we will be giving the opportunity for them to use these new innovations given to start up new companies and also bring jobs in those countries,” said Rimnoma Serge Ouedraogo, a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State University.
In addition to the global benefit, the findings can help farmers in Pennsylvania.
“Especially as Pennsylvania’s also suffering from globalization and increased threats,” said Hughes. “We saw, for example, the stink bugs a few years ago, and now we’re seeing spotted lanternfly, and they’re coming from some of the countries where we’re working. So, having a global, interconnected community of experts will help Pennsylvania as much as it will help communities around the world.”