ESD Announces Israeli Partnership Advancing Cutting-Edge Research in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Cornell University and Israel’s Volcani Center to Research Impacts of Climate Change on Crop Growth

July 3, 2018

Partnership Result of New York’s Israeli Trade Mission Conducted in December

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced a partnership between Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) in Israel, known also as the Volcani Center, to advance cutting-edge research in the agricultural and environmental sciences. The two prestigious institutions will conduct research on critical issues confronting the environment today and its effect on agriculture, specifically the impact of climate change on crop growth.

Today’s announcement is a result of New York State’s multi-sector trade mission to Israel in December 2017, led by ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky, to continue the efforts initiated by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March 2017 to strengthen economic ties with Israel, create new jobs and attract additional international business investment in New York through the Global NY initiative.

“New York State is proud to have facilitated a fruitful partnership between the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and  the Volcani Center Agricultural Research Organization,” said ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “This collaboration brings together the foremost minds in agricultural and environmental sciences and opens the door to new advancements and new technology in these fields.”

The partnership is formalized by a Memorandum of Agreement that leverages CALS’s world-leading expertise in these areas and ARO’s innovative approach to agricultural research and technology.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball  said:  “Conducting research to benefit agriculture is critical to advancing the industry and the State’s economy. New York is fortunate to have premier research institutions and facilities that are leading the way in bringing innovative new processes and methods to improve farm and food business operations. By bringing together the tremendous research capabilities of our land grant university and the Volcani Center, we can continue our work to grow the agricultural community and improve our environmental sustainability now and for our future generations.”

Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, said: “Scientists across the world have an unprecedented opportunity to build new food, agricultural and environmental systems that meet the needs of a growing population. Doing so will require collaboration on a global scale. We’re thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Volcani, look forward to the discoveries we will make together, and thank Empire State Development for bringing us together as partners.”

Professor Eli Feinerman, Director of the Volcani Center, said: "As the leading agricultural research organization in Israel, Volcani Center is looking forward to further expand our work and global impact through this exciting opportunity for fruitful collaboration with the prestigious, world- class Cornell University.”

CALS is Cornell University’s second largest college and focuses across disciplines to provide research, education and outreach that advances science in natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being.  CALS programs include more than 20 majors in community and rural development, environment and natural resources, food and nutrition, communication, applied economics, agriculture, international programs and life sciences. Cornell CALS is consistently named as one of the world’s top three research Universities for the study of agricultural sciences by both U.S. News and World Report and the QS World University Rankings.

The Volcani Center Agricultural Research Organization in Rishon LeTsiyon, is the Israeli national institute for agricultural research. It is comprised of six institutes spanning plant sciences, animal sciences, plant protection, soil, water and environmental sciences, agricultural engineering and postharvest and food sciences.  ARO also operates two research stations across Israel.  ARO specializes in basic and applied research in agriculture that enable Israel to achieve high levels of agricultural output in an arid zone.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency ( The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit and

Amy Varghese | | 212-803-3740
ESD Press Office | | (800) 260-7313