I found this on the National Grape and Wine Initiative website and thought it was an interesting read.
February 2, 2012
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world, highlighted the relative lack of money devoted to agricultural innovation and research in his annual letter outlining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2012 priorities. “Given the central role that food plays in human welfare and national stability, it is shocking –not to mention short-sighted and potentially dangerous – how little money is spent on agricultural research,” he wrote.
The Foundation was founded by the Gates’ in 1994 and is now the world’s largest philanthropic organization. Guided by the philosophy that every life has equal value, the Foundation spends the majority of its funds on global health and development projects, both of which are intimately tied to agriculture. Gates’ comments in his 2012 letter expand on his longstanding interest in agricultural development, to which he says his Foundation has devoted $2 billion.
It is believed that Gates’ focus on agricultural research has the potential to dramatically amplify growing concern about the overall stagnation, and in some cases, decrease, in funding agricultural research. Gates’ letter in its entirety is at http://www.gatesfoundation.org/annualletter/2012/Documents/2012-annual-letter-english.pdf.