ATLANTA -- The Australian state of Victoria has forged a global alliance with Dow AgroSciences for crop innovation, Minister for Innovation of Victoria Gavin Jennings announced today at BIO2009 in Atlanta.



The research partnership will see Victoria strengthen its position as a leader in agricultural biotechnology as scientists in Australia and the USA work together to develop new plant traits and plant varieties for Victorian and international farmers.



The agreement - that established a significant collaborative R&D effort between the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company -- is the largest international agricultural biotechnology alliance undertaken by the Victorian Government to date.



"This joint research and development effort will accelerate the creation of unique solutions," said Mr. Jennings.



"We are committed to driving world-leading innovation in science, technology and practice, to enable farmers to respond to pressures such as climate change and to maintain a sustainable agriculture industry for the benefit of all Victorians," said Mr. Jennings.



Mr. Jennings joined Jerome Peribere, Dow AgroSciences president and CEO, and Daniel R. Kittle, Ph.D., Dow AgroSciences vice president for Research & Development, at BIO2009 to sign the agreement.



"Victoria is clearly establishing itself as a global leader in agricultural biotechnology and Dow AgroSciences is pleased to set up this unique collaboration with DPI's capabilities based at the Victorian AgriBiosciences Centre, in which technologies and scientific expertise will be shared to deliver plant-based solutions that contribute to improving the quality of life for the world's growing population," said Kittle.



"The initial research projects will focus on the development of agronomically important technologies that will improve yields in crops to meet growing global demands for food, feed and energy," said Professor German Spangenberg, DPI's executive director of Biosciences Research who is to lead the R&D efforts in Victoria.



"One of the key crops will include canola, which is the third largest crop in Australia, and will further enhance Dow AgroSciences' Omega-9 canola oil platform. Other crops targeted in this large-scale research partnership between DPI and Dow AgroSciences will include traits for corn and wheat as well as bioenergy crops," Kittle said.



The new $230 million Biosciences Research Centre, a joint venture between the Victorian Government and La Trobe University, will boost Victoria's ability to make these important scientific discoveries. To be located in Bundoora, Melbourne, the facility will be a world-class centre for agricultural biosciences research and development. Other agencies and organisations with complementary science objectives are invited to partner or link in to the new Centre.



Dow AgroSciences LLC, based in Indianapolis, is a top-tier agricultural company that combines the power of science and technology with the "Human Element" to constantly improve what is essential to human progress. Dow AgroSciences provides innovative technologies for crop protection, pest and vegetation management, seeds, traits, and agricultural biotechnology to serve the world's growing population. Global sales for Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, are $4.5 billion.



SOURCE: Dow AgroSciences LLC via PR Newswire.