Over six decades ago, in 1960, first Agriculture University of the nation, the G.B.Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, was established in Pantnagar on the pattern of Land Grant Agriculture University of the United States. The establishment was done at that time on the premise that systematic education, research and extension programmes in agriculture and allied subjects were necessary to develop human capital. Also, knowledge and technologies were needed for the growth and development of the country. Pantvarsity is now one of the most comprehensive agriculture universities in our nation. Over the past six decades it has grown to be a formidable centre for agricultural education, research and development and in many ways has ushered India’s renaissance in agriculture education. During all these years, the university has worked hard to fulfil the expectations of the visionaries of the country to transform the agricultural scenario in India. Bharat Ratna, Late Dr. C. Subramanyam who was then the Union Agriculture Minister was instrumental in the establishment of the university. Once while addressing the 3rd convocation of this university on April 7, 1966 he had remarked, .... “I am confident that whenever history of agricultural education is written, this university will be remembered for having laid the foundation of a revolutionary era in Indian agricultural education”. Till now this university has produced more than 40,000 students who have flourished in India and elsewhere in the world. It has earned the credibility of being ‘harbinger of green revolution’ in the country and has truly justified the blue print that was written for agriculture universities in India by Professor Hannah of University of Illinois. It advocates the vision held by Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru while dedicating the first agriculture university to the nation in 1960 and the hard work of Bharat Ratna, Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant in establishing the first agriculture university at Pantnagar. I therefore, greatly honour and appreciate the conscious efforts of all the visionaries, outstanding scientists, teachers and alumni for taking many new initiatives in education, research and extension programmes towards this University that responded directly to the challenges and emerging needs of the nation. At the same time I am also grateful to the hard work of farmers and the continuous support of ICAR and State Govt.
As we all know, the future increase in agricultural production due to growing demand has to come mainly through productivity enhancements. Also, the threat of food security, nutritional security, environment sustainability and natural resource sustainability now needs to be addressed. For all these, technological innovations and applications are required. Further, there are numerous emerging challenges that confront agriculture methodologies of increasingly small and marginal farming community, particularly in the hill states. These challenges also confront the State of Uttarakhand. With practically no scope for expanding area under cultivation, the previously mentioned threats have to be met from declining and degrading natural resources, primarily, water and soil. Apart from the traditional techniques to raise production, the application of emerging technologies such as hybrid technology, genetic modification using biotechnology in horticultural crops, animals & fish, supplying quality seed, planting material & breeds to diverse end-users, generating & disseminating resource conservation technologies, GIS/GPS applications, ICT applications and adopting integrated nutrients as well as pest management to raise production in the new IPR regime would also be essential. Besides, exploring secondary agriculture in providing value addition to agricultural products, creating facilities for primary processing and stress management in agriculture needs to be explored for making farming more remunerative. There is a need to develop technologies that are economically affordable to small & marginal farmers and at the same time are efficient. Excellence in research by securing public & private funding and working in a collaborative mode is essential for addressing issues of common interest. All this would require high quality, relevant agricultural education and technology savvy human resource at all levels. Thus, the priorities and responsibilities of GBPUAT are assessed and renewed continuously such that the role and contributions of the premiere agriculture university in bringing agricultural transformation in the country continues unabated. The university has eight faculties together with 14 on campus research centers that offer venues for technology generation, eight off-campus research centers and nine Krishi Vigyan Kendras spread over nine districts. It makes this University stand in a sound position to confront challenges and render commensurate solutions. Fortunately, the three pillars of the university, the students, the faculty and the officers & staff, stand committed to do a lot more to serve humanity in the state of Uttarkhand and across the country foreseeing bigger challenges ahead.