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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Ohio State Soil Scientist Receives Prestigious International Award

August 13, 2009

NEW DELHI, India – Ohio State University professor Rattan Lal received the prestigious international M.S. Swaminathan Award from the Trust for the Advancement of Agricultural Sciences on Aug. 11 in New Delhi, India.


Lal, a world-renowned soil scientist, is traveling in India with Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee and Bobby Moser, vice president for Agricultural Administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, where they are seeking global partners for the university.

The award recognizes those who have made great impacts in the field of agriculture on a global basis, and in food security and sustainability of agriculture in India.

“For nearly 20 years, it has been my good fortune to know Dr. Rattan Lal,” Gee told the standing room only crowd at the awards ceremony. “As one of the world’s preeminent soil scientists, he is on the front lines in fighting hunger and finding solutions to global warming. At The Ohio State University, he is essential – just like the soil that he studies.”

Lal, a professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center. He also serves the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

“Rattan Lal has made a difference in this world,” Moser said. “His work serves two critical needs: increasing food production to feed the world’s hungry while protecting our environment and staving off global warming through the management of soils.”

“I am extremely humbled,” Lal said. “The previous recipients are giants in agriculture.”

Lal is only the fourth person to receive the honor, following Norman Borlaug, known as the father of the Green Revolution and credited with saving millions of lives by staving off world hunger; World Food Laureate G.S. Khush; and S.K. Vasal, a leading maize researcher and recipient of the World Food Prize in 2008.

The award was created in honor of M.S. Swaminathan, architect of the Green Revolution in India. Lal studied at IARI in early 1960s when Swaminathan was a professor at the same institute and later became its Director General. In 2004, Swaminathan, now president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, received an honorary degree from Ohio State. He was named one of the most influential Asians of the 20th Century by Time magazine.

Lal has won numerous other international awards including the Norman E. Borlaug Award in 2005 and the von Liebig award in 2006.

Suzanne Steel
Rattan Lal