BIFAD meeting to start today with afternoon sessions open to public

October 20, 2015  

The meeting of the presidentially appointed Board for International Food and Agricultural Development at Purdue will begin today (Oct. 20) with afternoon sessions on a variety of topics that include leadership, global food security and careers in international development. 

The two-day meeting will feature discussions with experts in the science and policy of food production and food security from Purdue and elsewhere around the country.

The board advises the United States Agency for International Development on agriculture and higher education issues involving food insecurity in developing countries. Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy and 2009 World Food Prize laureate, was appointed to the board by President Barack Obama in 2010.

The Oct. 20 sessions, which will run concurrently 3:30-5 p.m. in Stewart Center, are:

* Session 1: Discussion on the Characteristics of Leadership, by Brady Deaton, BIFAD chair and chancellor emeritus of the University of Missouri. Location: STEW 214A. This session will consist of a 15-minute presentation and then a dialogue with graduate students and postdocs.

* Session 2: Smallholder Farmer Capital Issues, by BIFAD board member James M. Ash, food and agribusiness group leader for Husch Blackwell LLP. Location: STEW 214B. This will be a discussion of the issues that smallholder farmers face in accessing, retaining and growing the capital they need, including ways to develop a financial and investment infrastructure.

* Session 3: Careers in International Development, by Susan Owens, BIFAD executive director, and Mark Varner of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and a senior council for BIFAD. Location: STEW 214C. They will give a presentation on the different types of careers available in international development.

* Session 4: Women in Leadership Positions, by BIFAD board member Waded Cruzado, president of Montana State University. Location: STEW 214D. This session will focus on women in leadership roles and what it takes to break through the "glass ceiling." The intended audience is women faculty, staff and students.

* Session 5: Crop Diversity and Food Security, by BIFAD board member Cary Fowler, former executive director of Global Crop Diversity Trust. Location: STEW 218A​. Agriculture faces a historically unprecedented combination of challenges, including climate change and water issues. This session will look at what is being done -- and not done -- to conserve crop diversity, the biological foundation of agriculture, and to use it to improve productivity and strengthen food security.​

 * Session 6: Global Development, by Nora Lapitan, acting division chief, Research Division, Agricultural Research and Policy Office, USAID. Location: STEW 218B​. Faculty interested in how to engage with USAID in global development should attend this session.​

The complete agenda of the meeting is available at

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