Exports to Israel in 2012: $998,629,435.00 Percentage change from 2011: +21.21% Israel's rank as trade partner: 4 Total exports since 1996: $11,761,551,702.00 Foreign Military Financing Contracts with Israel in 2012: $118,527,512.37 Jewish Population in 2011: 139,565 Jewish Percentage of Total Population: 0.6
Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (1979-2010): $5,718,991 Binational Science Foundation (1996-2009): $7,231,964 Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (1977-2012): $3,537,234
Grant recipients in Texas from U.S.-Israel binational foundations:
Texas A&M University
Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce -
The TICC is a private, not-for-profit business organization whose aim is to boost the economies of Texas and Israel by helping member companies develop important business relationships with each other and explore new market opportunities. The Chamber is strongly supported by Governor Rick Perry of Texas as well as by Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor because both parties believe there are many opportunities for collaboration, especially in high tech industries. Read more about the mission, programs and members of the TICC, CLICK HERE.
Texas-Israel Exchange -
Perhaps the oldest state to state relationship is the Texas-Israel Exchange (TIE), which was created in 1984 to promote mutually beneficial agriculture projects. The agreement was reaffirmed by a new Memorandum of Intent in 1992. In 1994, another agreement was negotiated to create the TIE Fund to support joint agricultural research and development, and foster the expansion of trade. The Texas Legislature enacted legislation providing up to $250,000 for the TIE Fund and Israel agreed to contribute an equal amount. The program was recently extended in government funding till the end of 2011. Learn more about the TIE, CLICK HERE.
Texas-BARD Program -
Founded by joint collaboration from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas-Israel Exchange, Texas-BARD is an offshoot of the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund that looks to exclusively develop solutions to mutual agricultural problems that will in turn foster the development of trade, mutual assistance, and business relations between Texas and Israel. Read more about Texas-BARD, CLICK HERE.
In December 2010, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center entered into a cooperative, five-year agreement with the Rabin Medical Center in Israel to collaborate on faculty and student exchange programs, as well as the development of joint studies, research and training activities, and other educational programs of mutual interest. “This agreement between UT Southwestern at Dallas and Rabin Medical Center in Israel represents an exciting new era of cooperation, research and teaching for both of our institutions and our two countries,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center. Read more about the collaboration, CLICK HERE.
In 2002, an MOU was signed to foster collaborative practical and applied research between agricultural scientists areas of high priority to both Texas and Israel.
In 1992, A Memorandum of Intent was signed between the two governments with a focus to broaden the Texas-Israel SemiArid Fund (see 1985), encourage greater participation and to prove, through applied research, that the similarities in agriculture between Texas and Israel can be a lesson for both partners.
In 1985, the Texas-Israel Semi-Arid partnership was created after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture of the State of Israel to work together on projects of mutual agricultural benefit to the peoples of Israel and Texas. The MOA stated there was considerable potential to work together on projects related to energy, trade, marketing and processing, crop development, water use and conservation, research, and joint adventures.
January 2013 - Senator Ted Cruz [R] joined a delegation of senators in a visit to Afghanistan and Israel, where they met with military officials to discuss the political, economic and security issues affecting bilateral and regional relations. In Israel, the senators met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
November 2011 - Houston Mayor Annise Parker traveled to Israel with the American Jewish Comittee (AJC) and four other major U.S. city mayors as part of Project Interchange, and AJC-run educational institute.
August 2011 - Congresswoman Kay Granger traveled to Israel and the West Bank to learn more about regional politics as well as the American-Israeli relationship.
August 2009 - Governor Rick Perry received the Defender of Jerusalem award, which is given to public figures who have demonstrated support and commitment to the state of Israel and its capitol, while on a trip to Israel. While there Gov Perry also met with high ranking Israeli government officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. “I have long supported the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East and firmly believe in the protection and preservation of democratic states in that part of the world,” Gov. Perry said. Read more about Gov Perry and the award, CLICK HERE.
June 2007 - Governor Perry travelled to Israel, met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and received the "Friend of Zion" award from the Israeli government. While there, Gov. Perry met with multiple Israeli businesspeople interested in expanding into Texas and also announced his campaign to lead Texas companies in divestment from Iran and Sudan. His trip and meetings eventually led to his sponsorship and founding of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
July 2003 - US Representative Tom Delay led a mission to Israel and spoke about the prospects for peace and possible peace initiatives in front of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. In his speech, Delay echoed his outspoken opinions against land concessions and Israeli MK Aryeh Eldad commented afterwards that the speech would have made Delay the most conservative member of Israel's parliament.
The U.S.-Israel relationship is based on the twin pillars of shared values and mutual interests. Given this commonality of interests and beliefs, it should not be surprising that support for Israel is one of the most pronounced and consistent foreign policy values of the American people.
It is more difficult to devise programs that capitalize on the two nations' shared values than their security interests; nevertheless, such programs do exist. In fact, these SHARED VALUE INITIATIVES cover a broad range of areas, including the environment, science and technology, education and health.
Today's interdependent global economy requires that trade policy be developed at the national and state level.
Many states have recognized the opportunity for realizing significant benefits by seeking to increase trade with Israel. No fewer than 33 states, including Texas, have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2010, Texas exported over $675 million worth of manufactured goods to Israel. The total value of exports since 1996 exceeds $9.9 billion. Israel now ranks as Texas' 15th leading trade partner.
In addition, Texas companies received nearly $43.5 million in 2010 for U.S. government-funded military contracts with Israel through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program (U.S. military assistance to Israel). Some of the Texas companied that received contracts through the FMF program include: Flexible Life Line Systems, Inc based out of Houston; Worldwide Aerospace, Ltd from Fort Worth; and, Omega Air, Inc from San Antonio.
In 2005, the Texas Treasury purchased $2 million in new State of Israel bonds and renewed $2 million in bonds that were scheduled to mature. The purchase of the new bonds and the renewal of the mature bonds will bring the Texas Treasury's total investment in State of Israel bonds to $20 million. Texas began purchasing State of Israel bonds in 1994.
Israel is certainly a place where potential business and trade partners can be found. It can also be a source, however, for innovative programs and ideas for addressing problems facing the citizens of Texas.
The Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce has a number of committees in which bilateral programs for sustainable development and conservation are created, introduced and marketed. The TICC has committees that meet regularly and discuss business opportunities in such areas as cleantech, hi-tech, homeland security and defense, life sciences and many more. CLICK HERE to learn more about the committees and to view powerpoint presentations of their most recent projects.
Israel, for example, has developed a number of pioneering education programs. One, the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters, has been praised by President Clinton as the best preschool program on earth and replicated throughout the country, including Dallas, El Paso, Austin, Houston, Beaumont and San Antonio.
Additionally, AICE introduced an innovative Israeli peer tutoring program to North Carolina that educators adapted for use in the United States. Now known as Reading Together, the program is used in 28 states. It is designed to help students achieve reading fluency and is mostly used for children in second grade. The hope is that with its implementation, increasing numbers of students will perform at grade level or above.
A range of other exciting approaches to social problems like unemployment, environmental protection and drug abuse have been successfully implemented in Israel and could be imported for the benefit of Americans.
The potential for greater cooperation with Israel for the benefit of Texas is limited only by the imagination.
As the only country with free trade agreements with both the United States and the European community, Israel can act as a bridge for international trade between the United States and Europe. Moreover, because of its deep pool of talent, particularly in high-technology areas, Israel provides excellent investment opportunities. Some of the America's largest companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Intel and McDonalds, have found that it is indeed profitable to do business in Israel.
Nearly 300 Texas companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including Agar Corporation, CompUSA, Compaq Computer Corporation, Fortune Industries and Bell Helicopters.
ASC Industries has been supplying aircraft parts such as nuts, bolts and screws to Israel for "at least the past seven years," according to Brenda Metzner of ASC's sales department. ASC deals with the Israel Aircraft Industries office in New York, which then sends the parts to Israel. Metzner remarked that Israel is a good market. "They are actually easier to deal with than many other countries because they are not as demanding and always seem to find their paperwork, as opposed to some other countries we also do business with."
Malcolm Tallmon, president of Fortune Industries, said that his company has been doing business with Israel for the past 10 to 14 years. In some cases Fortune Industries deals directly with the Israeli government, although it has also had agreements with private firms. At one point, the Israeli government had a contract with the U.S. government and Fortune Industries supplied parts such as aerospace and military specification fasteners. These items are used to hold together parts used on airplanes, missiles and ground support equipment.
Bell Helicopters started selling helicopters to Israel in the 1970s and has been buying electronic components from them since the 1980s. Currently, Bell is selling commercial helicopters to Israeli agencies such as police departments. Don Richardson, Director of Procurement and Subcontract Management for Bell Helicopters, commented, "It's difficult to get started doing business in Israel, but once you establish relationships, it gets easier. The Israelis have a reputation for being tough negotiators, but they're reasonable people to deal with."
One good way to break into the Israeli market is through a joint venture with an Israeli company. Funding for such projects is available from the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD). BIRD funds projects in 36 states and the District of Columbia and hundreds of companies including AOL, GE, BP Solar, Texas Instruments and Johnson & Johnson have benefitted from BIRD grants.
The United States and Israel established BIRD in 1977 to fund joint U.S.-Israeli teams in the development and subsequent commercialization of innovative, nondefense technological products from which both the Israeli and American company can expect to derive benefits commensurate with the investments and risks. Most grant recipients are small businesses involved with software, instrumentation, communications, medical devices and semiconductors.
Since its inception, BIRD has funded more than 800 joint high-tech R&D projects through conditional grants totaling more than $210 million. Products developed from these ventures have generated more than $8 billion in direct and indirect revenues for both countries and has helped to create an estimated 20,000 American jobs. Dr. Eli Opper, the former Israeli chair of BIRD, has said that BIRD is a strong pillar of US-Israel industrial cooperation and that the extreme success of BIRD has led Israel to adopt similar models of R&D with other countries.
Several Texas companies have benefited from more than $3.2 million in BIRD grants over the last three decades.
Microdynamics is the leading supplier of advanced integrated information systems to the worldwide sewn good industry. Microdynamics collaborated with IET Intelligent Electronics Ltd. of Israel to develop new products that address the automation of product development and the pre-production areas that are key components of Quick Response strategies. Microdynamics considers these products to be crucial in effectively addressing consumer and marketplace needs. Resulting from grants awarded in 1992 and 1993 were the GMS 2000, which is a system for maximization of fabric usage in the sewn-goods industry, and the W-6 scheduling software for the apparel industry.
Agar Corporation, manufacturer of industrial measuring control instruments, joined with Galram Technologies Ltd. to create a water/oil instrument.
VTEL Corporation, a teleconferencing service company located in Austin, joined with Accord Communication Ltd. in Israel to create MCU enhancements.
Motorola forged a partnership with the Israeli company Optibase Advanced Systems Ltd. in 1992 and developed a method of image compression and processing for a multimedia chip set.
In 1998, Motorola received another BIRD grant and used it to collaborate with KLA-Tencor Corporation. The organizations worked on an integrated system in-chip implementation of a flash disk in semiconductors.
Harris Adacom Corporation received three BIRD grants in 1988, 1990 and 1991 to create three different products with Adacom Technology Ltd. of Israel. Resulting from these grants were the LG-708, Coax Net and Coax Net Phase III.
Texas researchers are making scientific breakthroughs and developing cutting-edge technologies in joint projects with Israeli scientists thanks to support from the Binational Science Foundation (BSF). BSF was established in 1972 to promote scientific relations and cooperation between scientists from the United States and Israel. The fund supports collaborative research projects in a wide area of basic and applied scientific field for peaceful and non-profit purposes. Since its inception, BSF has awarded some $480 million through more than 4,000 grants in 45 states and the District of Columbia.
BSF-sponsored studies are highly successful in achieving their two main goals: strengthening the US-Israel partnership through science and promoting world-class scientific research for the benefit of the two countries and all mankind. The BSF grants help extend research resources to achieve milestones that might not otherwise be attainable; introduce novel approaches and techniques to lead American researchers in new directions; confirm, clarify and intensify research projects; and provide unmatched access to Israeli equipment, facilities and research results that help speed American scientific advances. BSF has documented no less than 75 new discoveries made possible by its research grants and counts 37 Nobel Prize and 19 Lasker Medical Award laureates among its joint partners.
The University of Texas SW Medical Center, University of Texas, University of Houston, Texas Tech, Rice, Texas A&M and Baylor Medical School are among the Texas institutions that have shared nearly $7.3 million with counterparts in Israel through grants awarded by BSF since 1996 alone.
With BSF support, Prof. Hermona Soreq of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Prof. James Patrick of the Baylor College of Medicine have pioneered diverse molecular medicine approaches for exploring the mechanism underlying stress-associated diseases, and have developed innovative strategies for alleviating the consequences of traumatic experiences or chemical stresses. Based on these discoveries, Pharmathene Inc., a U.S.-based start-up company, produces Cholinesterase proteins in goats, which hold promise to become novel protection agents against chemical warfare, insecticide poisoning and for treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Prof. Patrick and Soreq's joint, BSF sponsored research has also led to the development of Monarsen, an FDA-approved orphan drug for the treatment of the autoimmune disease Myasthenia Gravis. It is presently in phase II of clinical studies, and is the focus of a current BSF grant to Prof. Soreq and Prof. Alan Gewirtz (University of Pennsylvania).
This BSF grant was initially awarded to the team of scientists in 1997, though Prof.'s Patrick and Sereq have known each other for 20 years. BSF helps to maintain better interactions between Baylor and labs in Israel, said Patrick. He added, Israel is a little isolated and not necessarily on the normal route of travel when we lecture in Europe so this grant provides for real contacts and travel costs.
University of Houston chemist Wayne Rabalais has received several BSF grants. In 1996, he was awarded one to study ion beam deposition of film with Yishael Lifshitz of the Atomic Energy Commission in Yavne. This is a specialized method of growing thin microelectronic films used in electronic devices and circuits. This is just basic research and we really havent gotten to the point where we make practical applications or devices. The work we do is then picked up by engineers who make the practical applications, said Rabalais. I was interested in collaborating with Lifshitz in Israel and he had a good background and wanted to work with us. He spent one and a half years working with us in Texas and comes back about once a year. Rabalais added, We met at a meeting and after talking saw that we had a common interest and decided to develop a joint proposal. I have had a very positive experience and think that the collaboration has helped because we have slightly different expertise so we make different contributions. There is no doubt that weve accomplished more together than we would have alone.
In 1978 the United States and Israel jointly created the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) to help fund programs between US and Israeli scientists for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research into agricultural problems. Since its inception, BARD has funded more than 1,000 projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia with a total investment of more than $250 million. In 2000, an independent and external economic review of 10 BARD projects conservatively projected more than $700 million in revenue by the end of 2010, a number which far outweighs the total investment in all BARD projects over its 33 year existence and helps to continually strengthen the foundation.
Most BARD projects focus on either increasing agricultural productivity, plant and animal health or food quality and safety and have been influential in creating new technologies in drip irrigation, pesticides, fish farming, livestock, poultry, disease control and farm equipment. BARD funds projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia and at present is beginning to administer collaborative efforts between Australia, Canada and Israel as well. It is difficult to break down the impact on a state-by-state basis, but overall, BARD-sponsored research has generated sales of more than $500 million, tax revenues of more than $100 million and created more than 5,000 American jobs.
Texas institutions have shared BARD grants worth more than $5.7 million since 1979.
Professor Marty Dickman of Texas A&M University has received a number of BARD grants to research various subjects in plant genomics and biotechnology.
For one of his recent BARD grants, Professor Dickman led a project in the early 2000's together with scientists from the Volcani Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel that investigated novel approaches to controlling postharvest diseases brought about by various fungi. The group of scientists revealed that fungus can alter pH levels in plants, either manking them more acidic (low pH level) or raising their alkalinity (high pH level) which then can bring about diseases and ruin the crop after it has already been harvested. The BARD-sponsored research enabled the group to facilitate the rapid development, commercialization, and application of new approaches for reducing such postharvest storage diseases. Read the published scientific paper on the research HERE; view online overview of the project and its finding through the BARD website HERE.
In 2007, Professor Dickman received another 3-year BARD grant, this time to collaborate with scientists at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to research the axis that plants use for cellular communication that regulates development and pathogenicity. Read more about this project in the scientific report HERE.
Improving soils and enhancing animal reproduction are just two examples of joint research projects conducted under the auspices of BARD in Texas.
Seiichi Miyamoto is working to improve the efficiency of reclaiming sodic soils, those that have too much sodium and salts that are bad for crop production. This problem is a global one. Almost one-third of the 240 million hectares of irrigated area in the world are affected by sodium and salt. Miyamoto and his Israeli collaborator at the Volcani Center are experimenting with the use of salt and sodium in vegetation to enhance the process of reclamation. There are conventional methods that involve the use of large amounts of chemical sodium products such as calcium chloride and gypsum, but their goal is to develop an environmentally friendly method. Chemicals used today typically go into the drain water system, and co-mingle with water used in agriculture.
Miyamoto spoke highly of the BARD program. He said it, " has the unique strength of combining basic science and the task on hand. It is an accepted mission-oriented program. As opposed to USDA grants that are mostly for scientific knowledge, this program uses knowledge to solve real problems. In theory, we can develop crops to grow in any type of soil. These are meant to be long term applications. The BARD program is good not just because of the money, but also because the technology they have in Israel is essential." Whatever accomplishments come out of this program can apply to natural resource management in other nations, especially developing countries. "Israel seems to have a better handle over solving real problems and, when dealing with developing countries, we [American scientists] seem to overlook them," Miyamoto added. "The program has been very successful. We don't want to see this funding chopped because then it would be a very sad outcome."
Fuller Bazer is a professor of animal sciences at Texas A&M as well as director of A&M's bioscience and technology center located at the Texas Medical Center. Along with his Israeli colleagues Arieh Gertler of Hebrew University and Elisha Gootwine of the Volcani Center, Bazer is studying reproduction in sheep and applying it to goats and cattle. He is trying to understand how to increase reproductive efficiency and decrease embryonic death losses (40% of all embryos die within the first few weeks after conception). He is specifically trying to identify genes that will increase the chance of survival for the embryos. Thus far, Bazer has been successful in his research. "We have a couple of Israeli graduate students coming to study in our lab and I'm going to Israel to visit. Part of the [BARD] scheme is to have interchanges between the two countries. It is also a mechanism to fund the research done by all three of us," said Bazer. The outcome of this project will be applicable to the U.S., Israel and the rest of the world. The principles learned can also be applied to other livestock species. Bazer added, "This grant has been good. We've exchanged a lot of reagents and ideas."
Texas A&M Professor of Agricultural Engineering Steve Searcy has received several BARD grants. One of the grants was to work with Colman Peleg at the Technion to improve the inspection of fruits and vegetables and to insure good quality at a reasonable price. Although this product is not yet commercialized, it has practical applications. "For example, there are different kinds of apples and no one system is optimized for all of them. We worked on a self-adjusting system to recognize different types of apples," said Searcy. While the Texas lab experimented on apples, the Israelis worked on dates. Peleg is an internationally renowned expert in this field and "the opportunity to work with someone of that stature is great," said Searcy.
Searcy is also using a BARD grant to collaborate with scientists at both the Volcani Center and the Migdal Experimental Station in Israel to reduce nitrogen fertilizer inputs to minimize pollution of ground and surface water. The team is trying to find a way to detect the amount of fertilizer that a plant needs and have that amount released by an applicator, thereby regulating the amount of nitrogen dispensed in accordance with the amount needed by the crop.
Another BARD project Searcy is working on involves the development of a multi-spectral sensor for assessing the nutrient status of crops. Conventional agriculture treats the fields as a single management area, but doesn't account for the variability of the fields (e.g. slopes, different soils). "We're trying to help them manage the field on a more individual basis. We are focusing on corn, but this is applicable to other crops," said Searcy. He added, "We wouldn't do these projects or work with Israelis without BARD. It is critical for cross-fertilization, which I think is a good thing."
Pesticides are crucial to modern agriculture, but they have also caused some rural water resources to become contaminated and that can lead to crop damage. For example, sorghum, a major field crop in Texas is sensitive to bromacil and terbacil, common agricultural herbicides. BARD researchers have developed a new economical procedure for diminishing water-born pesticides using the sun. In the laboratory, scientists tested 69 dye sensitizers that can oxidize pesticides when activated by visible light. They found that these treatments were harmless and permitted normal germination and seed growth. After these lab tests, a prototype was created and the goal of removing injected pesticides by sunlight was successful. In addition, the BARD solar process destroyed 99.9% of bacterial pathogens in the sewage within two hours.
BARD grantees have helped pecan growers all over the American Southwest. After farmers were plagued by the premature death, stunted growth and low yields of pecan trees, BARD grantees from Texas A&M University and the Israel Agriculture Research Organization found that the problem was a soil permeability problem that aggravated the effects of salinity. They developed a series of computerized models, irrigation schedules and recommendations that will prevent such problems in the future. They also developed methods to save the 68,000 acres of pecan trees already planted on inappropriate soils in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Additionally, they found ways to use pests such as predatory spiders, wasps and green lacewings to control other, more harmful predators that can kill trees and crops.
Texas, one of the countrys largest producers of cotton crop, of which total U.S. production exceeds $5 billion a year, also benefits from BARD research done outside of the state. Joint research resulting from a BARD grant has shaped the way cotton is grown today. BARD grantees from Israel and Mississippi developed and tested a computer model that would reduce the amount of water and fertilizer cotton farmers need to produce their crops. Their research resulted in an invention called COTMOD, which describes how water, soil, fertilizer, and farming practices affect cotton production. The model can also be expanded to predict the fate of pesticides and environmental contaminations. The USDA combined this model with two others and provide it free to American farmers and agricultural consultants. By advising growers, such as those in Texas, on optimal irrigation and fertilization strategies, the system can save farmers an average of about $60 per acre, or $48 per bale.
Texas produces over $100 million worth of potatoes a year. New potato plants are started from the "eyes" of seed potatoes. This method of reproduction allows for the transmission of debilitating viral diseases, such as potato leaf-roll virus (PLRV) from generation to generation, with substantial economic loss. For example, downgrading U.S. Grade #1 potatoes to U.S. Grade #2 means a loss of $400-600 per ton to the farmer. Thus, assuring virus-free seed potatoes is extremely profitable to the industry. BARD grantees improved techniques for extracting useable virus samples from diseased plants. The samples were then injected into rabbits and sheep to stimulate the production of antiviral antibodies. The grantees used their antibodies to develop a test which could detect different strains. The same method used in this process is also used in pregnancy test kits. The new test, both cheaper and more general than its predecessors, is now produced and distributed free to certain agencies. A diagnostic kit is also sold commercially to farmers through a U.S. agricultural firm. The rate of PLRV infections has dropped drastically since the invention of this new test, thanks to BARD sponsored research.
Texas also produces between $400-$600 million worth of wheat a year. BARD scientists have discovered a double stranded RNA virus, which may cause the fungus disease Rhizoctonias solani, which causes the death of young plants, to spread. Researchers also found that one non-virulent strain of the fungus actually protected 93% of wheat seedlings in tests.
Flowers that propagate by bulbs, corns and tubers rather than seeds are particularly susceptible to virus disease. BARD grantees developed highly sensitive tests to detect cucumber mosaic virus, ben yellow mosaic virus and other viral infections in gladiolus. These tests are already being used to produce virus-free breeding stock for Israel and Texas and to develop effective methods for preventing reinfection.
BARD grantees in Georgia have been studying CO2 , a normal component of air, proving that it is a viable non-toxic alternative to the usual gases, phosphine and occasionally methyl bromide, used for the fumigation of stored grains. The old gases can be poisonous to humans, leave toxic residues in stored grain and is believed to cause damage to the ozone layer. These methods are being applied by several commercial firms in the U.S. and Israel and wheat producing states, such as Texas, are likely to benefit.
In addition, to the projects funded directly by BARD, a new Texas-BARD program was created in 2003 to promote mission oriented, strategic and applied, collaborative agricultural research and development activities conducted jointly by scientists in Texas and Israel. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), Texas-Israel Exchange Fund (TIE), and BARD are supporting this program, which will focus on efficient use and management of soil and water for agriculture; post harvest food technologies – quality, safety and security; horticulture, field and garden crops – including floriculture and drought tolerance and aquaculture.
Texas A&M University-Kingsville is a member of the International Arid Lands Consortium, a Congress-funded independent, nonprofit organization established in 1989 that conducts research, develops applications in arid and semiarid land technologies, and applies its projects in countries around the world including the U.S. and Israel.
The Texas-Israel Exchange Program (TIE) was established in 1991 by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry to support and emphasize a transfer of knowledge between Texas and Israeli scientists on improving agricultural and livestock production in arid climates. In addition to agricultural research and development, TIE also aims to improve trade and business relations between Texas and Israel. In 2000, TIE board approved funding for seven projects, granting $250,000 in total. Funding was also provided by Israeli institutions. The grants approved were:
- Commercialization of Native Texas and Israeli Medicinal Plants. This project will examine genetic enhancement of echinacea, primrose and matthiola. Extracts from matthhiola and primrose have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Echinacea products are used to treat colds, flu, sore throats and to stimulate the immune system. Commercial production of improved varieties of these three plants could allow Texas and Israeli farmers to participate in an herbal market worth $4 billion in the United States and $7.5 billion in Europe. The research addresses the herbal industrys difficulties in obtaining plants with consistent concentrations of active ingredients because several key plant species have had almost no genetic improvements. The project received a TIE grant of $48,569 and is based at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
- Using an Israeli Leaf Beetle to Control Salt Cedar in Texas. Insects from Israel will be used to control salt cedar, which consumes large amounts of groundwater, lowers water tables, causes springs to dry up and damages native plant and animal communities. The project will be based at a quarantine facility in Temple to ensure the beetles will not feed or reproduce on non-target plants. The project received a TIE grant of $32,069.
- The Suitability of Beefmaster as a Breed in the Middle East. This project will monitor the adaptability of Beefmaster cattle, a breed developed in Texas, to Israeli grazing conditions. If the Beefmaster breed can thrive in Israel, and beef markets are developed in neighboring Middle Eastern countries, Texas and Israel are each estimated to gain $5 million from cattle genetic and beef sales. The project received a $24,294 TIE grant. A herd of registered Beefmaster cattle has been established at the Texas A&M University Agricultural Research Center in San Angelo to serve as a permanent donor base for subsequent embryo transfers.
- Subsurface Drip Irrigation Strategies. This projects objective is to save water, improve quality and maximize yields of major Texas vegetable crops, with a focus on watermelon and onions grown in Texas Winter Garden region. Drip irrigation systems can achieve water savings of more than 50 percent compared with conventional ditch irrigation systems. The project received a $47,458 TIE grant and is based at the Texas Agricultural Extension Service at Uvalde and Texas A&M University in College Station.
- Improving Irrigation by Controlling Soil Crusting. Many soils in arid and semi-arid regions are structurally unstable and tend to form a seal or hard, concrete-like barrier resulting in water runoff and erosion. Preliminary research has shown that adding small amounts of synthetic polymer may prevent seal formation. A better understanding of how to apply polymers to soil could enhance irrigation water management for Texas and Israeli farmers. The project received a $27,681 TIE grant and is based at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
- Economical Analysis of Using Recycled Wastewater for Irrigation. The project will analyze the most economical ways to reuse wastewater to irrigate crops. The project received a $21,348 TIE grant and is based at the Lower Colorado River Authority in Austin.
- Examining Sea Urchin Aquaculture Production. Due to high demand, sea urchin fisheries have been over harvested and natural production is declining worldwide. This project will look at farm fishing sea urchin roe, which is one of the worlds most costly seafood, as a new aquaculture crop for Texas. The project received a $48,581 TIE grant and is based at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Port Aransas.
In 1998, the TIE board approved funding for nine projects, which each received grants for $27,778. Israel agreed to fund four of the projects. Many of these projects will result in substantial economic benefit to both Texas and Israel. The grants approved were:
- Evening Primrose Oil and Desert Ornamental Bedding Plants. The project has identified evening primrose species with extremely high concentrations of gamma-linolenic acid. Ultimately, a high-value food supplement capsule can be produced from the gamma-linolenic-rich oil of this drought tolerant, native species. Research has shown that eating a diet rich in essential fatty acids may help reduce the impact of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome and several skin conditions. This highly valuable fatty acid has a more than $30 million U.S. market, which is currently supplied by products imported from Europe, Canada and Asia. An estimated $4.5 million in farm and processing income could be generated on only 500 acres in Texas and Israel. In turn, this could conservatively generate $20 million in retail sales. This project will evaluate 23 wildflower species collected in 1997 for their potential as ornamentals during the 1998 growing season. The project is based at Texas Tech University.
- Vegetable Production and Quality with Subsurface and Above-Ground Drip Irrigation Systems. This projects objective has been to save water, improve quality and maximize yields of major crops (watermelon, spinach and cantaloupe) grown in Texas Winter Garden with efficient drip irrigation systems and plant establishment methods. An experiment is planned for the spring of 1998 to determine the effect of irrigation timing on watermelon yield and quality. Another experiment will examine how irrigation systems with varying input levels affect the growth, yield and quality of cantaloupe. A report for cantaloupe growers will be developed from these experiments. The project is based at the Texas Agricultural Extension Service at Uvalde and Texas A&M University.
- Controlling Seal Formations in Soil. Many soils in arid and semi-arid regions are structurally unstable and tend to form a seal or hard, concrete-like barrier resulting in water runoff and erosion. Preliminary research has shown that adding small amounts of synthetic polymer may prevent seal formation. The project is evaluating an innovative technology that should allow cotton producers to obtain a better cotton stand. If successful, it is estimated that this project would result in savings to Texas farmers of $72 million. One polymer used in the project also is undergoing development for commercialization. The project is based at Texas Tech University.
- Animal Waste Decomposition and Use. The potential for converting, recycling and using animal waste products as a peat moss substitute has been documented in this project. Initial commercial implementation of composting technology developed by this project for dairy farms also has begun. Composted animal products will continue to be evaluated as a greenhouse plant media during 1998. The project is based at East Texas State University.
- Enhancing Wheat Grain Quality in Texas and Israel to Meet Market Competition. The project is continuing to verify that heat stress during the last phase of grain filling in wheat may reduce dough strength during bread making. The work may open the way for genetic engineering to enhance the quality of wheat grains produced in Texas and Israels hot climates and help both meet global market competition. Further work will determine the direction and strategy for the genetic improvement of grain quality under hot conditions in Texas. The project is based at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
- Transport of Pollutants in Soil When Irrigating with Sludge. Secondary effluent is a steadily increasing source of irrigation water in the United States and Israels semi-arid and arid climates. The projects research data indicated many potential new benefits in the management and use of sludge and effluents in arid zone-urban agriculture. The project also has studied pathogen transport in soils and their survival in aquifers. Further studies will improve general agriculture-urban use recommendations. The project is based at Texas A&Ms Agricultural Experiment Station in El Paso.
- Improving Citrus Fruit Size. The research will continue to test the effectiveness of potassium nitrate in sprays and irrigation applications on increasing the size of grapefruit and oranges. Fruit quality improvement is a prerequisite for increasing the exports of Texas and Israeli citrus into the world market. Fruits large enough to be marketed fresh (which provides a much higher return to growers) instead of processed have been produced by this projects production techniques. The project is based at Texas A&M University Citrus Center.
- Using Molecular Genetic Markers to Increase Native Sheep Production Breeds. This research represents the first application of a molecular genetic marker for a major gene in animal production and is expected to lead to increased lamb production. This projects long-term goal is to produce a flock of sheep that has desirable traits for growth rate and wool production. The Texas Agricultural Extension Service at San Angelo and Texas A&M University in College Station are the primary locations in Texas for the study.
In 1997, the TIE Fund provided $25,000 grants for a number of joint projects including:
In 2002, seven grants were awarded totaling $250,000:
TEXAS . . . . . . . . . .. . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ISRAEL
UJA Partnership 2000 Communities:
TEXAS . . . . . . . . . .. . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ISRAEL
12 Greenway Plaza, #905
Houston, TX 77046
| Jewish Federation Of Austin
11713 Jollyville Rd
Austin, TX 78759-3936
| Jewish Federation Of Galveston County
P.O. Box 146
Galveston, TX 77553
| Jewish Federation Of San Antonio
12500 NW Military Highway
San Antonio, TX 78231
| Community Relations Committee
5603 South Braeswood Blvd.
Houston, TX 77096-3999
| Jewish Fedaration El Paso
405 Wallenberg Dr
El Paso, TX 79912-5605
| Jewish Federation Greater Dallas
7800 Northaven Rd
Dallas, TX 75230-3226
| Texas-Israel Exchange, Dept. of Agriculture
P.O. Box 12847
Austin, TX 78711
| Israeli Consulate
24 Greenway Plaza
Houston, TX 77046
| Jewish Federation of Ft. Worth & Tarrant County
6801 Dan Danciger Rd.
Fort Worth, TX 76133
| Jewish Federation Greater Houston
5603 S Braeswood Blvd
Houston, TX 77096-3907