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PMIL holds meeting of scientists, external advisory panel

By Christy Fricks
University of Georgia, Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab

July 27th –August 2nd, PMIL hosted over 35 national and international project partners for an intensive whirlwind of meetings and informational tours from Athens, to Eatonton, to Tifton, Georgia USA.

The goal of the gathering was bringing together PMIL Lead Scientists, Collaborators and External Advisory Panel members to discuss research progress, plan upcoming activities, and identify areas for further collaboration.

“PMIL is not just a bunch of independent projects working in parallel. We are one program with a goal,” said Director Dave Hoisington in his opening comments at the Rock Eagle 4-H Conference Center near Eatonton, Georgia, the center point for the activities.

One of the outcomes of the gathering was the identification of a pressing need for a set of robust mycotoxin sampling and detection protocols. To that end, Assistant Director Jamie Rhoads has been tasked with heading up the effort to draft these during the coming months.

Other areas of focus were discussed; including communications outreach, project management and reporting.

The External Advisory Panel (EAP) held their first face-to-face meeting after attending the one and a half days of presentations by PMIL Lead Scientists, Management Entity staff and USAID colleagues at the Rock Eagle gathering.

The EAP recognized the excellent science underway and recommended that Lead Scientists review their project’s timelines to see where the research can be accelerated, enhance the focus on gender and nutrition in the value chain projects, build on the successes of past research, and more clearly define the research to impact pathways.

Following the Rock Eagle gathering, several of the attendees took advantage of the locale to tour peanut research, processing and production facilities in South Georgia.

Some of the places that attendees visited included:

Frank’s Designs for Peanuts in Ashburn,

United States Department of Agriculture ARS National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson,

JLA Global Food Testing in Albany,

Birdsong Peanuts in Sylvester, and

University of Georgia Field and Lab Research Facilities in Tifton.

To cap off the events there was a half-day meeting of the scientists and in-country partners involved in the Haiti value chain project.

During the Rock Eagle event, it was agreed that the PMIL 2015 Annual Meeting will be held in Haiti in mid-June.

Published August 11, 2014