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NIFA International Program Seminars


Horticulture, Food Security, and the Monumental Challenge of Feeding the World
This seminar, held April 10, 2014, featured Fred Davies, Regents Professor, Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, faculty of Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences, and AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow at Texas A&M University. He is currently a Senior Science Advisor (Jefferson Science Fellow) at USAID, Bureau of Food Security / Office of Agricultural Research and Policy. Greater emphasis is needed in high-value, nutritious, horticultural crops which create jobs and economic opportunities for rural communities, and enable more profitable, intensive farming of small tracts of land in urban areas — compared to commodity, grain crops. Niche, horticulture markets favor smallholder farmers, many of whom are women. By the middle of the 21st century, the world population will increase by 30 percent to more than 9 billion. Food production will need to increase 70 percent to meet increased demands. Forecast increases in crop productivity from biotechnology, genetics, agronomics and horticulture will not be sufficient to meet food demand, and resource limitations will constrain the global food system. For the first time in human history, food production will be limited on a global scale by the availability of land, water, and energy. Food issues could become as politically destabilizing after 2050, as energy issues are today
Link: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/p6bkivyv4ti/


New Americans and Agriculture
This seminar, held November 14, featured Gladys Vaughn of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Larry Laverentz of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as they presented on how refugees from Asia and Africa are becoming new producers in this country. By overcoming trauma and years in refugee camps, these new Americans grow vegetables in community gardens, on incubator farms, and on smaller acreages. New opportunities and innovative projects are being developed through local and national partnerships, the support of the Office of Refugee Resettlement Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program, and the strong support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Link: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/p6u03cr8xp1/
For information about the videos shown contact CIP@nifa.usda.gov.

Bioenergy and Food Security: Approaches from FAO
This seminar, held April 10, 2013, discussed the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) approaches to bioenergy and food security. Bioenergy development can create food security opportunities and risks, depending on sector planning development and production management throughout the supply chain. In order to help countries assess and manage risks, FAO has developed the Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) approach. BEFS consists of integrated, multidisciplinary tools and guidance that may support the development and implementation of sustainable bioenergy policies and strategies. This presentation discussed the main links between bioenergy and food security with an overview of FAO’s BEFS approach.
Link: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/p1i8fdpbn0p/

Brazil: Agricultural Superpower
This seminar, held May 9, 2013, featured Dr. Robert Thompson, world renowned expert on Brazilian agriculture, who discussed the importance of Brazil’s public investments in agricultural research through EMBRAPA, and the role that those investments have played in making Brazil a global agricultural superpower. Drawing on his own studies of soybeans as a focus sector, he illustrated the critical role that research—including research facilitated through university partnerships—has played in such impressive advances.
Link: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/p6whf3tg9cd/

NIFA and the World Bank: Reflections from Kitty Cardwell
This seminar, held July 24, 2013, featured Kitty Cardwell, who recently returned from a detail at the World Bank. While there, Cardwell supported the Agricultural Innovation Systems team by developing a framework for analyzing agriculture-oriented science parks as a tool to support innovation in agricultural development. She also provided leadership to bring together the different actors involved with technical and open data issues in agriculture across the World Bank, and convened a session for the G8 Open Data meeting. Cardwell also took part in two field visits to Nigeria—where she managed a new multi-donor initiative coordinated by the World Bank and called the AgResults program. This program tests a potentially important new tool in the development aid toolkit: engaging the private sector to deliver pre-agreed and pre-defined development results.
Link: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/p2mzxnjrigi/

Food Waste
Paragraph: This seminar, held August 20, 2013, featured Dr. Elise Golan and Dr. Jane Clary Loveless as they discussed the USDA policy and approach to food waste, both at home and on a global scale.
Presenters: Elise Golan and Jane Clary Loveless
Link: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/p2yp1n8hp4j/


Click presenter name below to access Webinar link or PowerPoint presentation

In this seminar, held April 9, 2013, we discussed how American cooperatives play a vital role in the economic well-being of millions of Americans and how they help low-income communities in developing countries achieve a higher standard of living. Universities, both at home and abroad, play a significant role in developing sustainable and successful cooperative techniques. Paul Hazen, executive director of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council, shared the insights of his organization’s research as they apply the cooperative model to create sustainable economic development abroad.

Presenter: Paul Hazen


This seminar, held April 10, 2013, focused on the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) approaches to bioenergy and food security. Bioenergy development can create food security opportunities and risks, depending on sector planning development and production management throughout the supply chain. In order to help countries assess and manage risks, FAO has developed the Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) Approach. The BEFS Approach consists of integrated, multidisciplinary tools and guidance that may support the development and implementation of sustainable bioenergy policies and strategies. This presentation discussed the main links between bioenergy and food security with an overview of FAO’s BEFS Approach.

Presenter: Erika Ruth Felix

Prior Years

Seminar: China’s Agricultural Revolution: Recent Trends and Future Predictions

Seminar Description: This seminar, held June 12, 2012, focused on China’s increasing political and economic strength and its effect on the future of international food security. Pieter Bottelier, of Johns Hopkins University, provided a general landscape about China’s economy and discussed how China’s middle class is reshaping global markets, creating new disease patterns, and changing the future of agricultural research. Increased productivity, market reforms and the looming threat of food insecurity have contributed to China’s rapid rise in the global agricultural economy  The seminar covered a variety of trends that have led to China’s emergence as the world’s number one producer and exporter of manufactured products and what China can do to complete its rural transformation.

Presenter: Pieter Bottelier

Seminar: From Concept to Adoption: Integrating Research, Development, and Dissemination at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Seminar Description: As Director General of CIAT, Dr. Echeverria oversees a broad portfolio of research activities in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. CIAT curates premier collections of plant genetic resources, and conducts research promoting agrobiodiversity in a range of crops, (i.e. beans, tropical forage, cassava, rice, and tropical fruits), soil fertility, and sustainable land management. In addition, CIAT endeavors to strengthen decision making and policy analysis, capacity building and knowledge management, especially as these relate to climate change and tropical agriculture.

Presenter: Ruben G. Echeverría  

Seminar: e-Agriculture for Improved Livelihoods and Food Security: Assessing the Requirements for Electronically Linking Farmers with Markets

Seminar Description: This recently held Center for International Programs hosted session discussed the role of new technologies in the development of food distribution channels, both domestically and abroad. A unique tool called “Concept Mapping” has been developed by Cornell University to assess the priorities of producers, brokers, consumers and others in developing food distribution networks. Cornell works across geographic, cultural and stakeholder groups to develop visual maps of preferences and barriers to the use of mobile technology. Join us to see how this new tool for information gathering works, how it links to their MarketMaker software, and to identify emerging issues in SMS platforms in developing countries.

Presenter: Donald Tobias and Khin Mar Cho

Seminar: Reducing Energy Poverty in West Africa to Promote Food Security;
March 1, 2012

Seminar Description: This recently held seminar with Dr. Gerard Ostheimer focused on how the agricultural value chain can be improved through innovative energy technology. He discussed new technologies such as wind and solar powered pumps for irrigation, along with methods to reduce post-harvest losses. The Global Bioenergy Partnership promotes the production and use of clean, renewable bioenergy as a means towards sustainable development. Dr. Ostheimer described the recently agreed upon sustainable bioenergy indicators as well as U.S. engagement in promoting sustainable bioenergy in West Africa.

Presenter: Gerard Ostheimer


Seminar: Reforestation and Community Support Programs Abroad; January 23, 2012

Seminar Description: This recently held seminar with Dr. Tom Byers, Associate Director for International Agricultural Development at Washington State University discussed WSU’s Reforestation and Community Support Programs in the Philippines and Southern Africa (Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia). He described the approach, its effectiveness, and its potential for rapid expansion.

Presenter: Tom Byers

Seminar: Higher Education for Development: Lessons, Impacts and a Vision for the Future; January 25 2012

Seminar Description: This recently held seminar featuring Director Dr. Tully Cornick from Higher Education for Development (HED) focused on the role that higher education plays as an “engine for development” in countries around the world. Cornick described the organization’s experience in forging partnerships between American and overseas colleges and universities to build human and institutional capacity.

Presenter: Tully Cornick

Seminar: Extension Outreach in Rural Migrant Communities; November 17, 2011

Seminar Description: This recently held seminar with Ernesto B. López, the State Volunteer Coordinator for 4-H Youth Development in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware, presented methods of providing minority communities with extension services. Mr. Lopez discussed the varying needs of these communities that can be met by the system, and how to best tailor extension so it may serve future immigrant communities. He concluded by discussing how international efforts in extension can enhance work with rural migrant communities.

Presenter: Ernesto B. Lopez 

Seminar: Cooperative Extension at the University of the District of Columbia: Engaging at Home and Abroad; September 21, 2011

Seminar Description: This recently held seminar focused on the urban extension work at The University of the District of Columbia. UDC is recognized for delivering innovative urban-based cooperative extension programs. More and more, UDC's interest is also reaching beyond the District to engage with partners around the world. Bill Hare is leading the University's domestic and international extension efforts, and offered his thoughts on current and future programs.

Presenter: William Hare

Seminar: FEWS·NET: USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network and its implications for global food security: August 3, 2011

Seminar Description: How does the US government attempt to prevent malnutrition, hunger, and starvation around the world? One way is through the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET). FEWS NET monitors food security conditions in 30 of the most vulnerable countries in the world and provides punctual warnings when the situation deteriorates. John Scicchitano, Program Manager for FEWS NET, described how the activity functions and gave examples of food security alerts from various regions including the Horn of Africa, where an acute crisis currently threatens over 10 million people.

Presenter: John Scicchitano

Seminar: Sustainable Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs in Developing Countries; July 20, 2011

Seminar Description: The Center for International Programs recently conducted a seminar with Yibo Wood of USDA’S Food and Nutrition Service. She spoke about how scalable and sustainable food and nutrition assistance programs in developing countries, such as school feeding and food voucher systems, can serve as a nutrition safety net and improve school enrollment for vulnerable children. She also looked at lessons that can be learned from the US experience in this field.

  1. Powerpoint Presentation

Presenter: Yibo Wood

Seminar: Community International Community Colleges in International Agricultural Development; June 14, 2011

Seminar Description: NIFA’s Center for International Programs recently conducted a seminar with Michael Allen of the American Association for Community Colleges who discussed the traditional and emerging role—often underappreciated—of U.S. community colleges in promoting agricultural development in countries around the world.

Presenter: Michael Allen

Seminar: NIFA in Haiti—A seminar with Kitty Cardwell; May 26, 2011

Seminar Description:
NIFA’s Center for International Programs conducted a seminar with Kitty Cardwell in which she talked about her recent work in Haiti with the Ministry of Agriculture. Kitty worked closely with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to define the Ministry’s role in agricultural extension and to revitalize Haitian vocational agriculture schools by modernizing curriculum and training the school directors.

Presenter: Kitty Cardwell

Seminar: Scaling Up Agricultural Projects – Best Practices, Lessons Learned and Challenges; April 4, 2011

Seminar Description:
NIFA and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) co-hosted a half day session which examined what’s known and what’s still unknown about the process of scaling up agricultural development projects.  The session included key practitioners and thinkers, from those involved behind the scenes, to those on the ground, who examined practical ways of incorporating scale-up efforts into US bilateral assistance. Note: The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of USDA or CRS. 

Johannes Linn: Resident Senior Scholar at the Emerging Markets Forum and Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution

Riikka Rajalahti: Senior Agricultural Specialist, Agriculture and Rural Development Department, World Bank

Cheryl Morden: Director of the North American Liaison Office of the International Fund for Agricultural Development

John Coonrod: Executive Vice President for The Hunger Project and co-chair of the InterAction Agriculture and Food Security Working Group

Cindy Huang: Senior Advisor, Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, Office of the Secretary, US Department of State

Jim Hazen: Food Security Technical Advisor in the Nutrition Division of the Bureau for Global Health, USAID

Tom Shaw: Senior Technical Advisor for Microfinance in CRS’ Program Quality and Support Department

Susan Bradley: Senior Policy Advisor with USAID’s Bureau for Food Security

Anita Regmi: Senior Advisor for International Programs, Office of USDA’s Chief Scientist

Brian Greenberg: Director of Sustainable Development, InterAction

Seminar: Global Health, Agriculture and Nutrition Research: A Discussion with the NIH Fogarty International Center, April 5, 2011

Presenters: Barbara Sina and Flora Katz

Seminar Description: Aseminar with the NIH Fogarty International Center as they present a brief overview of the mission of the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and the types of programs they support in Global Health. They then provide some background on current successful collaboration between FIC and NIFA, the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups, highlight some FIC awards that focus on veterinary, agricultural, or nutrition research, and discuss a few programs that may address shared interests and are possible areas for future collaboration.

Seminar: Universities in International Development: Current Roles and Future Potentials; February 15, 2011

Presenters: Kerry Bolognese, Anne-Claire Hervy, David Hansen, and Tag Demment, all from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities

Seminar Description: A panel from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (A-P-L-U) International Team will discuss the important role that American public and land grant universities play in fostering development overseas.  This discussion will look ahead to suggest how that role may evolve in the coming years. A-P-L-U is a non-profit association of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and state university systems. The association is dedicated to advancing learning, discovery and engagement, and provides a forum for the discussion and development of policies and programs affecting higher education and the public interest. A-P-L-U’S international community works to promote stronger relationships and development projects with institutions throughout the world. Study Abroad, International Development, and Agriculture are important aspects of the A-P-L-U agenda.

Seminar: USDA and Feed the Future: An Update; December 9, 2010

Presenter: Ann Tutwiler,Coordinator for the Global Food Security Initiative in the Office of the Secretary for USDA

Seminar Description: Tutwiler provides an update on the US Feed the Future initiative. Feed the Future is a US led effort  to ensure global food security.

Seminar: Ensuring Food Security in a Warming, Malnourished World; October 22, 2010

Presenter: Dyno Keatinge of AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center

Seminar Description: Dyno Keatinge holds a Doctorate in Agriculture from Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland and is Visiting Professor of Tropical Agriculture at The University of Reading, UK. He has global expertise in crop agronomy and he has worked at a range of international agricultural research centers — ICARDA (Syria), IITA (Nigeria) and ICRISAT (India). Presently, he is Director General of AVRDC — The World Vegetable Center based in Taiwan, vice-Chair of the Global Horticultural Initiative and on the Advisory Committee to the USAID HORT CRSP.

Seminar: Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food; September 30, 2010

Presenter: Pamela Ronald, Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis

Seminar: Pamela Ronald is Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis, where she studies the role that genes play in a plant’s response to its environment. Her laboratory has genetically engineered rice for resistance to diseases and flooding, both of which are serious problems of rice crops in Asia and Africa. Ronald is co-author with her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, of “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetic and the Future of Food.” Join us for this discussion regarding the intersection of genetic engineering and organic farming at home and abroad

Seminar: Policy Updates on International Ag Development & Food Assistance; October 5, 2009

Presenters: Susan Schram, ACDI/VOCA, Vice President for Outreach and Cooperative Programs; Kerry Bolognese, APLU, Vice President of International Programs

Seminar Description: Efforts are also underway by the Administration to reform U.S. foreign assistance policies in order to become more strategic, coherent and effective.  USDA will likely play an important role as these plans move forward.  The renewed political attention on agricultural development and food assistance will heighten the demands on USDA and other relevant Federal entities.  Land-grant universities and other organizations in the development community will also serve as critical resources in the Administration’s foreign assistance agenda.

Seminar: USDA Embassy Science Fellows Program - Program Overview and Lessons Learned from Past Fellows; August 26, 2009

Presenters: Khaliaka Meardry, ESFP Coordinator, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA; Ann Marie Thro, NIFA-USDA; Richard Hegg, NIFA-USDA; Caroline Crocoll, NIFA-USDA

Seminar Description: The Embassy Science Fellows Program (ESFP) enables U.S Embassies to acquire high-level scientific advisory capacity to address important S&T issues involving foreign policy, national security, agriculture and agricultural trade, biotechnology, biofuels, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements, identification of new markets for our agricultural products etc.   Simultaneously, the program also provides USDA staff, participating university faculty, and technical consultants with an opportunity for gaining valuable international experience, training and networking in emerging markets.

Seminar: Mobilizing Universities to Address the Global Hunger Crisis; September 15, 2009

Presenters: June Henton, Dean, College of Human Sciences, Auburn University; Harriet Giles, College of Human Sciences, Auburn University; Douglas Coutts, Senior Advisor, United Nations, World Food Programme

Seminar Description: Auburn University, in partnership with the UN World Food Programme, has developed an educational model that addresses both short-term hunger awareness and advocacy goals and long-term academic initiatives (i.e., teaching, research, and outreach) to end hunger. The partnership has led to more than 100 universities mobilizing nationally and globally under the banner of Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH).


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