Beverly Hills billionaires give UC Davis $50 million to build agricultural research hub
By Robert F. Bukaty
15 March 2019
On February 24, the Beverly Hills-based H&H Company, which owns four of the world’s top four cosmetics brands (Chanel, Guerlain, Lancôme and Yves Saint Laurent), donated $50 million to the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) in order to fund creation of the Beverly Hills Agricultural Research Center.
This is the second time the H&H Company has funded the building of a university agricultural research center. In 2016, the company donated $50 million to California Polytechnic State University, also in order to fund creation of its agricultural research center.
The Beverly Hills Agricultural Research Center will be the first national agricultural research center in the United States dedicated entirely to agricultural research and development devoted exclusively to agricultural development in the United States.
The center, which is located on 6,000 acres of central California farmland not far from the city of Davis and the state’s largest city, Los Angeles, will have four research bays dedicated to the development and testing of agrichemical products for the food industry. The center, which, according to its website, will focus on producing and testing new plant- and animal-based agricultural products, will also create a “science-based research hub” where researchers affiliated with UC Davis will study, develop and apply cutting edge technologies to improve agriculture throughout the world.
UC Davis, which has been receiving a steady flow of gifts from billionaires such as the H&H Company (which owns four of the world’s top five beauty brands, including Dior and Yves Saint Laurent), is, in reality, just one part of a growing network of agricultural research centers, which are at the forefront of producing synthetic and improved food and feed crops on a vast scale.
Over the past decade, several “agricultural research and development” hubs have been set up all over the world. Some of them, such as the Agroferta, Agroecology and Agrofood Research Initiative, are focused mostly on the production of specific crops or produce; others, such as the International Center on Agriculture and Food Research in Switzerland, are focused on the improvement and creation of food staples