LAS VEGAS -- Bayer CropScience LP believes strongly in its commitment to protecting tomorrow today through its sustainability efforts. Today, John Smith, director of the Horticulture Region for Bayer CropScience, presented Tom Lovelace, United Fresh Produce Association chairman, with a $1.1 million endowment over the next four years to create the Center for Global Produce Sustainability during the opening session of the 2009 United Fresh Conference.



The Center for Global Produce Sustainability will bring a strong focus to helping growers and food chain partners proactively shape and influence the numerous developments driving enhanced sustainability in the produce supply chain.
"In this particular market, understanding the views of the entire food production supply chain is critical to producing enough safe and affordable food for the ever-expanding world while protecting and enhancing the environment for the future," said Smith during his remarks.



"We cannot achieve our goal alone, which is why this Center will focus on enhancing relationships between fruit and vegetable growers, the food chain and research partners in the U.S. and globally to ensure meaningful dialogue and advances with regard to sustainability."



The Center for Global Produce Sustainability will be housed within the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation. An Advisory Board consisting of leaders from across the fruit and vegetable production chain and allied partners will be appointed to provide leadership and direction to its efforts.



"UFPA is honored to collaborate with Bayer CropScience on the Center for Global Produce Sustainability," said Tom Lovelace, UFPA chairman. "Today there is a growing commitment to sustainability throughout our industry, but many different needs for education and guidance along the supply chain. This Center will allow us to strengthen the voice of our members from growers through the entire food chain to retail and food service, and ensure that future programs meet their needs."



In the coming year, the Center will enhance its strategic work with allied partners in the areas of sustainability, focus on implementing its Advisory Board, develop a strategic vision on how it can best serve the fresh produce supply chain, create and publicize the Center's goals and strategic views on sustainability, conduct outreach to key stakeholders, develop a Web site to exchange information and conduct a baseline survey of needs in the industry.



Building on year one, year two will focus on the development of innovation initiatives that bring sustainable benefits to the grower and supply chain partner.



"We all play a large role in the production of food, and by working even more collaboratively, we can improve the sustainability and viability of our tremendously productive farming operations while protecting our world for future generations," said Smith in his closing comments. "We have the power to make a difference."



More information on the Center will be shared in the future.



Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 6.4 billion (2008), is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of more than 18,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries.



In the context of its responsibility to the environment and society, Bayer CropScience has dedicated itself to harmonizing economic, social and ecological needs. The company's efforts are focused on projects to promote the education of young people in the natural sciences and technology, to strengthen sustainable and resource-efficient agriculture, to ensure safe use of its products and to help people in disadvantaged rural areas in its core fields of expertise.



United Fresh Produce Association is the preeminent trade association for the produce industry in managing critical public policy issues; shaping legislative and regulatory action; providing scientific and technical leadership in food safety, quality assurance, nutrition and health; and developing educational programs and business opportunities for members to better meet consumer needs for increased consumption of fresh produce. Founded in 1904, United Fresh represents the interests of member companies from small family businesses to the largest international corporations throughout the global fresh produce supply chain, including growers, shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, food service operators, industry suppliers and allied associations.



The United Fresh Research & Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that offers specialized programs in educational training, leadership development, food safety outreach and research. Foundation programs are designed to enhance the industry's ability to provide healthy, safe and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables to consumers around the world. The Foundation is an affiliate organization of the United Fresh Produce Association.



SOURCE: Bayer CropScience LP via PR Newswire.