Montana State University

Director of U.S. agriculture department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to visit MSU in July

June 17, 2015 -- MSU News Service

Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will visit Montana State University in July. Photo courtesy of Sonny Ramaswamy.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will visit Montana State University in July. Ramaswamy’s visit includes a question and answer session that is free and open to the general public.

Ramaswamy’s visit is hosted by the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development and the MSU College of Agriculture. It will include meetings with MSU faculty, who will share current research on pest management, soil, weeds, crops and livestock. Ramaswamy will also tour several MSU laboratories and meet with MSU students and research administrators. An hour-long question and answer session that is free and open to the general public, as well as to MSU students, faculty and staff, will be held Wednesday, July 29, at 1:15 p.m. in room 138 of the Animal Bioscience Building.

On Thursday, July 30, Ramaswamy will also visit Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, where he will speak with faculty and administrators. Like MSU, Little Big Horn College is a land-grant institution, and the two institutions partner with NIFA on issues related to food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Ramaswamy to our campus this summer and share our agriculture research and growing research profile with our tribal land-grant colleagues,” said Charles Boyer, MSU vice president of agriculture. “As an agriculture college, we are committed to addressing challenges associated with feeding the world in the 21st century; support from USDA and NIFA is a critical component in being able to deliver cutting-edge agricultural research.”

During his visit, Ramaswamy will take a tour of the Missouri River headwaters and learn about water resources and availability, as well as the impacts of tourism. He will also learn about MSU research in targeted grazing and reducing tillage, integrated pest management, sustainable foods, antibiotic resistant pathogens and zoonotic diseases.

“Our nation’s success in addressing the 21st century challenge of ensuring food security is linked directly to the research, education and Extension work of our partner institutions, and the time I spend on the ground learning about their accomplishments is invaluable,” Ramaswamy said. “Montana State University is a critical partner to NIFA in addressing global food security challenges, and I am eager to see the work (the university is) doing to find solutions to climate change, drought and food production.”

Ramaswamy’s visit follows a meeting by the world’s top experts in food production and security held in Bozeman earlier this spring, when MSU hosted the United States Agency for International Development‘s (USAID) Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), of which MSU President Waded Cruzado is a board member. BIFAD members spoke with MSU faculty and students on topics such as global food security and hunger, poverty, enhanced nutrition, natural resources and agriculture research.

At NIFA, Ramaswamy oversees funds for a wide range of research, education and extension projects that address needs of American farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers. He has published more than 150 journal articles, book chapters, and a book and has received myriad awards as a scientist and department head. Those awards include being named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, and a distinguished graduate alumnus of Cook College, Rutgers University.

In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Ramaswamy to serve as the director of NIFA. Prior to joining NIFA, Ramaswamy served as dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. He previously was associate dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture, where he directed the university’s agricultural research programs from 2006 to 2009. Prior to joining the Purdue faculty, he was head of Kansas State University’s Department of Entomology and served as faculty with Mississippi State University and as a research associate at Michigan State University.

For more information on Ramaswamy’s visit, contact the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development at 994-2891.

Contact: Linda LaCrone, lacrone@montana.edu or (406) 994-2893