Tag Archives: international

Virginia Tech contributes to record agricultural export number

Agricultural and forestry exports have been on the rise in the commonwealth for the last three years and most recently topped out at more than $3.35 billion.

Soybeans, lumber, tobacco, wheat, and pork — all commodities for which Virginia Tech provides crucial research and Extension services — are among the state’s top exports year after year.

That record-breaking dollar figure is built on staples of the export market, but it has also continued to climb because of breakthroughs into prestigious luxury markets, like wine. In a cultural coup, Virginia wine was exported to the United Kingdom for the first time two years ago, a feather in the cap of the state’s winemakers and a testament to the craftsmanship and quality of the commonwealth’s wine industry that is flourishing with the help of research and Extension.

Production of new wheat varieties through science-based research at Virginia Tech has also been a boon for Virginia’s grain exports and its reputation as a grain-producing state. Faculty members in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences have focused on the identification, genetic characterization, mapping, and utilization of durable disease-resistant genes to make small-grain production in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic more profitable.

Agricultural and forestry exports have been on the rise in the commonwealth for the last three years and most recently topped out at more than $3.35 billion.

Forests provide highly valued recreational and environmental resources, and forest-related industries account for 104,000 jobs in the state and $17 billion in exports. Virginia Tech is helping to keep forest products profitable through forest management research that assesses sustainability efforts. Research in the college has shown that more intensive management will dramatically increase forest productivity.

All of these products are celebrated annually at the Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade in Richmond. This year, Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands told the audience made up of agricultural movers and shakers that the university was there to partner with industry in the challenge of feeding an ever-growing global population.

“Virginia Tech and other land-grant partners, including Virginia State University, are in a great position to be a partner with all of you to take advantage of this opportunity going forward,” he said.

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Using genetics to wipe out disease

talenrelease_largeVirginia Tech researchers successfully used a gene disruption technique to change the eye color of a mosquito — a critical step toward new genetic strategies aimed at disrupting the transmission of diseases such as dengue fever, which kills as many as 25,000 people annually.

Zach Adelman and Kevin Myles, both associate professors of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and affiliated researchers with the Fralin Life Science Institute, study the transmission of vector-borne diseases and develop novel methods of control, based on genetics. Continue reading

Posted in Family, Food and Health | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment