The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources welcomed Sonny Ramaswamy to campus last week to discuss several food security issues.
Ramaswamy is the director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Ramaswamy’s talk was titled, “Feeding the world with user-inspired science.” After his hour-long seminar, he took questions for a half hour.
“I like to say what you folks do at Mizzou, what NIFA supports, is user-inspired,” Ramaswamy said during his seminar. “It’s not knowledge for the sake of knowledge. It transforms people’s lives.”
Ramaswamy was tabbed as the director of NIFA in 2012, appointed by President Barack Obama. He oversees NIFA funds for a variety of projects that address the needs of agricultural producers. Before his appointment to NIFA, Ramaswamy held a number of positions at land grant universities. He was the dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. He was also the associate dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and the head of the Kansas State University Department of Entomology. Ramaswamy is an insect physiologist, who studies the integrative biology of insects.
“NIFA funds research on plants, animals, policy, etc.; however, Sonny’s solid land grant background insures that the endpoint of all NIFA-supported research has an identifiable ending that benefits food security and sustainable production,” said Marc Linit, senior associate director, MU Agricultural Experiment Station.
Ramaswamy’s seminar focused on the food security issues facing the world. He discussed the importance of the research that CAFNR is conducting – and the importance of getting that information to the public.
“There are 850 million people going to bed hungry each night,” Ramaswamy said. “There are 16 million households in the United States that are food insecure. That means 50 million people in America out of 330 million that are going to bed hungry tonight – in a country where we know how to grow food.”
Ramaswamy discussed ways to attack the food security issue, such as working together across the globe.
“CAFNR faculty, staff and students were fortunate to have the entire day with Dr. Ramaswamy,” Linit said. “In addition to his presentation, he generously spent time with campus and college leadership and campus researchers and educators.”