The Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) Initiative at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech took over the responsibility for producing the Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®) in 2019. It was created by the Global Harvest Initiative (GHI), a non-profit founded in 2010 to look at what production agriculture would have to achieve to keep pace with a growing global population.

Former GHI deputy director, Ann Steensland, leads the GAP Initiative and is the author and editor of the GAP Report, based at the Virginia Tech main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

“The Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is well positioned to serve as a host for the report given the breadth of its programs in food, agriculture, and nutrition and its emphasis on addressing global food security issues,” said Tim Sands, president of Virginia Tech. “The college’s initiative to grow public-private partnerships, its investment in international programs, and the new Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia, all benefit the GAP Report and its stakeholders.”

The GAP Report benefits from the research and relationships of CALS — as well other research initiatives and institutes across the university, including the USAID Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab and the Center for Agricultural Trade.

The report aligns with the mission of Virginia Tech’s CALS Global Programs Office (CALS Global), a unit within the college that was formed in 2016 with the goal of building partnerships, creating new opportunities, and empowering success while serving globally. The GAP Report is produced by CALS Global under the leadership of Tom Thompson, the college’s associate dean and director of global programs.

“The college’s initiative to grow public-private partnerships, its investment in international programs, and the new Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia, all benefit the GAP Report and its stakeholders.”

— Tim Sands, president of Virginia Tech.

GAP Initiative – Creating opportunities for the Next Generation of Ag Leaders

The Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) Initiative is a series of activities that engage faculty members and students of the university in with the GAP Report and its partners.

Award-winning author and journalist Roger Thurow, spent two days at Virginia Tech sharing stories from his best-selling books on agricultural development and nutrition. He spoke at two public events, attended several food security classes, and met with faculty about his upcoming book.

A photo of Roger Thurow giving a presentation.
A photo of Keith Fuglie of USDA Economic Research Service sharing observations on agricultural cost shares.

Connecting with Experts

In 2019, the GAP Initiative brought Keith Fuglie of USDA Economic Research Service to campus.  Keith is a leading global expert on Total Factor Productivity (TFP) and updates the TFP data published in the annual GAP Report.  During his visit, Keith gave a seminar on Total Factor Productivity for students and faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Envisioning the Future

Jennifer Billings, Agricultural Development Lead for Corteva Agriscience™ (third from the right), spent a day at Virginia Tech meeting with faculty and students. Jennifer has spent her career working in international development, and is passionate about food security and agriculture.  During a dinner with undergraduate students in the Global Food Security Minor, Jennifer shared experiences from her career and encouraged the students to pursue their interest in food security.

Photo of Virginia Tech students posing with Jennifer Billings, Agricultural Development Lead for Corteva Agriscience.

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