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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Ohio State Soil Scientist Recognized for Food Security Efforts

April 16, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When it comes to furthering food security efforts in developing countries, Ohio State University soil scientist Rattan Lal is in good company.


Lal, a professor of the School of Environment and Natural Resources with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, has been named a recipient of the M.S. Swaminathan Award for his leadership role in agriculture.

Previous award recipients have been Norman Borlaug, considered the father of the "Green Revolution"; World Food Prize Laureate Surinder Vasal, an accomplished maize plant breeder and geneticist; and World Food Prize Laureate Gurdev Singh Khush, a world-renown rice breeder.

"I'm greatly honored to be among the recipients of this award, especially since the other award recipients are so prestigious," said Lal. "To be considered alongside them is humbling."

The Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Award for Leadership in Agriculture is given by Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences to recognize individuals who have made great impacts in the field of agriculture globally, and for overall food security and sustainability of agriculture in India.

The award is named in honor of M.S. Swaminathan, globally acclaimed for his contributions to agriculture in India.

Lal, a recipient of the Normal Borlaug Award in 2005 and a nominee of the World Food Prize, will accept the award this summer in India.

Lal, director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, focuses on carbon sequestration, studying soils in the United States, Africa, Latin America and India, and aiding in applying the technique of no-till to farms throughout the world.

His other areas of research include soil processes and atmospheric greenhouse effects, sustainable management of soil and water resources, restoration and rehabilitation of degraded soils, agro-forestry, tropical agriculture and agricultural development in the Third World.

Lal has authored, reviewed and edited over 1,375 publications including 56 books and 545 refereed journal articles throughout his career, and has received over 14 distinguished awards.

Lal grew up on a small farm in Punjab, India, and received an undergraduate soil science degree from Punjab Agricultural University. He later received a master's in soil science at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi and followed that with a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He has been with the university for over two decades.


Candace Pollock
Rattan Lal