Topcon, Vatican cooperate on global agriculture program
LIVERMORE, Calif. -- November 15, 2012
Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS), in cooperation with the Vatican and Pope
Benedict XVI, is developing a global agriculture initiative – Person and
The program is designed to introduce young people in developing countries to
technologies and applications of precise positioning in the global agriculture
markets. Initial training will be conducted at the Topcon training facilities
in Concordia (Modena), Italy.
Countries targeted for the first projects will be Cameroon, Ethiopia and
The joint program is a result of a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Ray
O’Connor, TPS president and CEO, and Ivan Di Federico, TPS chief strategy
officer, at the Vatican.
The classes at the TPS training facilities will consist of 12 students from
African nations. The students will be chosen by clergy in the respective
diocese and trained by Topcon and Topcon Tierra staff in the latest
As part of the program, Topcon test facilities will also be established in
Angola, Brazil and Honduras. Established facilities already exist in the
United States, Australia and Europe. Topcon will provide precise agriculture
positioning instruments for the testing and training.
When the program is firmly established, other companies will be invited to
participate. These will include tractor manufacturers, seed, chemical and
fertilizer suppliers and accessory manufacturers. TPS secured free seed from a
French partner, Caussade, to cultivate about 75 acres in Cameroon.
O’Connor said, “The Person and Technology Innovation program is the largest
Corporate Social Responsibility program in the history of the company. It will
not be a one-shot program ... train the people and turn them loose. It will
have a far greater impact than that.
“The program,” he said, “will model established train-the-trainer programs.
The students will be expected to return to their country and serve as trainers
for the next generation of students eager to learn the newest agriculture
O’Connor praised Pope Benedict XVI for “his compassionate view of the world,
his innate understanding and his eagerness to work with companies like Topcon,
which have the resources and the will to make a positive difference in our
“The fact that the resources of the Vatican, through its dioceses around the
world, will be closely involved in the selection of young people to learn the
latest technology, ensures the program’s success.”
Di Federico said, “By using the most sophisticated technologies in the
marketplace today, the project focuses the importance of using the most
sustainable and respectful use of environmental resources.”
He said, “The key to success in agricultural endeavors is not the quantity of
the land available, but how to achieve the greatest efficiency in the land’s
use. In many countries, agriculture is a step to mere survival.
“The use of modern technologies to enhance yields while saving time and money
will go a long way to help struggling nations grow and prosper.”
Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc. (TPS) designs and manufactures precise
positioningproducts andsolutionsfor theglobalsurveying, construction,
agriculture, civil engineering, mapping and GIS, asset management and mobile
control markets. TPS’ parent company, Topcon Corporation(Tokyo Stock Exchange
– 7732), was founded in 1932.
Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc.
George Smith, 925-245-8603
Director of Communications Services
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