NIFA Honors Land-Grant University Partners, Announces New Inductees to NIFA Hall of Fame

Thursday, October 6, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. Oct. 6 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today honored several of its Land-Grant University partners during its annual Day of Appreciation ceremony. Those honored were recognized for supporting NIFA’s vision to catalyze transformative discoveries, education, and engagement to address agricultural challenges.

The agency also inducted five individuals into NIFA’s Hall of Fame, which was established in 2011, to recognize individuals whose exceptional contributions to NIFA’s mission at the local, regional, national, or international level have made a positive impact on the lives of citizens.

“The hard work and dedication of our grantees and leaders across the field of food and agriculture is unmatched,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA Director. “Today, we are proud to honor their commitment and impact on making positive progress toward solving our world’s most pressing social and global challenges.”

The 2016 NIFA Partnership Awards were presented in three different categories to the lead institution of projects supported by NIFA that created exceptional impacts.

Mission Integration of Research, Education, and Extension, awarding teams that work across all three of NIFA’s mission areas to produce positive outcomes in agriculture, the environment, communities, or people.

  • The Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation project team from the University of Florida enabled Southern pine landowners to manage forests for increased carbon sequestration and adopt forest management approaches that increased forest resilience and sustainability.

Multistate Efforts, honoring partnership projects that respond to critical needs important to each project leader’s state.

Innovative Programs and Projects, awarding teams that use a unique combination of resources and disciplines to enact positive outcomes in response to important regional or national issues.

  • The Food Entrepreneur Working Group from Auburn University assisted aspiring and small food entrepreneurs by providing a central source of information and resources related to operating a food business.

NIFA Hall of Fame inductees:

  • Dr. Roger N. Beachy is the chief scientific officer at Indigo Agriculture. Beachy was the first director of NIFA, where he served from 2009 until 2011. He is the founding Director of the World Food Center at the University of California, Davis and president emeritus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Additionally, he is the founding executive director and former CEO of the Global Institute for Food Security. Dr. Beachy earned his B.A. in biology from Goshen College and Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University.
  • Dr. Carolyn B. Brooks is the former executive director of the Association of 1890 Research Directors, dean of the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, and 1890 Research Director at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology from Tuskegee University and Ph.D. in microbiology from The Ohio State University. Brooks’ biography is included in “Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century.”
  • Dr. Walter Hill is the vice provost of Land-Grant University Affairs at Tuskegee University. He also serves as the dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment, and Nutrition Sciences, director of the George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station, and Administrator of 1890 Extension. Hill earned his Ph.D. in agronomy and environmental chemistry from the University of Illinois, master’s degrees from both the University of Arizona and the University of Chicago, and a B.S. from Lake Forest College in Illinois.
  • Dr. Daniel Rossi served as the executive director of the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors since 2007. He has also served in numerous national leadership positions within the State Agricultural Experiment Station System. Rossi earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Rutgers University in the field of agricultural economics in 1971 and 1973, respectively. He completed a doctoral program in agricultural economics at Pennsylvania State University.
  • Dr. Rajiv Shah is the founder and managing partner of Latitude Capital Management and serves as a fellow on the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He served as the 16th administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and was the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he helped create NIFA. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and Wharton School of Business. Shah received the Distinguished Service Award from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

NIFA invests in and advances innovative and transformative research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability and ensuring food safety.

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