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President of the Republic of Botswana Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Texas A&M AgriLife Research for Agriculture Improvement Collaboration

Entities seek advances benefitting the Republic of Botswana, Texas sectors

Front row from left, Assistant Minister for Agriculture of the Republic of Botswana Molebatsi Shimane Molebatsi; President of The Republic of Botswana Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi; and Director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research Cliff Lamb, Ph.D. Back row from left, Executive Associate Dean of the Texas A&M University Department of Horticultural Sciences Patricia Klein; AgriLife Research interim Associate Director and Chief Scientific Officer Sandy Pierson, Ph.D.; Director of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Rick Avery, Ph.D.; AgriLife Research Associate Director of Operations Stephen Cisneros; and Director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory Amy Swinford, DVM. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Sam Craft)

Written by Gabe Saldana

The President of the Republic of Botswana, His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, and a contingent of the country’s national dignitaries converged on the Texas A&M University campus for a showcasing of Texas A&M AgriLife’s expertise and advanced facilities for cattle research, extension and education initiatives.

The visit included the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Republic of Botswana. The MOU calls for both entities to establish collaborative initiatives for improved agricultural and natural resource sectors in the Republic of Botswana and Texas – enabled by similar production conditions in their respective global regions.

Collaborators will place a specific focus on increased cattle production and exports.

“The U.S. is the top producer of beef cattle in the world, and Texas is the largest cattle producer in the U.S. We’re proud that Texas and Texas A&M have become an international leader for the improvement of agriculture and cattle in particular,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, when meeting with Masisi. “We look forward to seeing what this partnership can accomplish for Botswana and for the advancement of Texas agriculture.”

The Republic of Botswana delegation included a contingent of the country’s academic leaders and Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, and Education and Skills Development.

“Texas agriculture operations are premier examples of a well-functioning production system across the supply chain,” Masisi said. “By mirroring some of the production environments that exist in Texas, we can collaborate on methods, technologies and practices that mutually benefit the capabilities of all involved.”

Ky Pohler, Ph.D., associate professor of animal physiology of reproduction, talks about cattle reproduction at the O. D. Butler, Jr. Animal Science Complex (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Sam Craft)

Activities in College Station
Along with a ceremonial signing of the MOU with AgriLife Research, the Republic of Botswana delegation attended discussions on select cattle research and emerging technologies in reproduction. They toured the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex and advanced phenotyping facilities. The delegation also attended a luncheon with Texas A&M faculty, staff and leadership at Kyle Field, including Sharp, Cliff Lamb, Ph.D., director of AgriLife Research, Jack Balduaf, Texas A&M University Vice President for Research and other Texas A&M AgriLife leaders.

The Republic of Botswana visit was a follow-up to a trip to Texas in September, where Masisi and his delegation toured beef cattle operations across the state — a demonstration of production from pasture to plate.

Next steps
“The signing of this MOU opens a host of opportunities for improving agriculture in Botswana as well as resiliency of Texas agricultural collaborative research,” Lamb said. “We were honored to host President Masisi in College Station, and we look forward to a future of impactful work together.”

In accordance with the MOU, researchers, stakeholders and the leadership of Texas A&M AgriLife and the Republic of Botswana will begin discussions on prospective areas of focus.