Agricultural companies' gifts boost CALS' Challenge 2050 program

Published: October 13 2014


GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Officials from two global agricultural companies, Limagrain and HM.CLAUSE, and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have partnered to support a new initiative aimed at finding ways to feed a growing world.

Limagrain will provide $200,000 over a three-year period, while HM.CLAUSE will donate $100,000 over a five-year span, to support the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Challenge 2050 Project, which aims to equip current and future agricultural leaders with the skills to find innovative ways to sustainably feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.

Challenge 2050 is a major UF/IFAS CALS initiative, and the companies’ financial support will allow students and faculty to engage in experiential educational activities.

In the program, students analyze global food-system problems and offer solutions for issues such as food waste, distribution, pollution and obesity. Students who successfully complete a four-course series will earn a Global Leadership and Change certificate.

“There is really nothing more important to UF/IFAS than being part of the solution to this global issue of feeding the hungry with limited resources,” said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “This generous gift from Limagrain and HM.CLAUSE will help make that happen.”

As part of a partnership with UF/IFAS, key executives from the companies will spend time on the UF campus mentoring students in the program. Some of CALS’ best students may be invited to take on internships with the companies.

Frédéric Thys, Limagrain’s vice president of communication and public affairs, said the partnership is evidence of the company’s core values, which include progress, perseverance and cooperation.

“These values form the core of our culture, which inform our business commitments and dictate our long-term vision for our business, our people and the society at large,” he said. “In this context, our association with the University of Florida, in helping to develop and cultivate the Challenge 2050 Project, and doing our part in the education of the leaders of tomorrow, speaks to our culture and our commitments.”

HM. CLAUSE Chief Executive Officer Matthew Johnston said one of Limagrain group’s core objectives is helping feed the world of the future.

“We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the University of Florida and take advantage of some of the most innovative thinking around in solving problems associated with global population growth and the agricultural issues connected to it,” he said.

Limagrain Group is one of the world’s leading breeders of improved cereal cultivars. Founded and managed by French farmers, the company is now believed to be the fourth-largest seed company in the world and the second-largest French producer of both bread and pastries.

The company’s newest subsidiary, Limagrain Cereal Seeds, works to develop new wheat varieties for the United States, the world’s fourth-largest wheat market.

HM.CLAUSE specializes in the production of vegetable seed varieties for professional growers.

CALS is UF’s third-largest college and one of the largest of its kind in the nation, serving nearly 5,000 students in programs ranging from horticultural sciences to geomatics and resource economics. It is home to more than 20 majors, 28 minors and nine certificates at the undergraduate level.


Writer:Mickie Anderson, 352-273-3566,

Sources: Elaine Turner, 352-392-1963,

                Carole Cuffy, 530-941-7273,