Several leaders in the Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP) community were honored by the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD) for their significant public service in international agriculture and rural development during the AIARD’s June 2013 annual meeting. Among those honored were former CRSP Program Directors John Yohe (INTSORMIL CRSP) and Jonathan “Tim” Williams (Peanut CRSP) and former CRSP Principal Investigators Kenneth Shapiro (Global Livestock CRSP) and Neville P. Clarke (SANREM CRSP).
John Yohe was honored with an AIARD Award for Distinguished Service for his demonstrated public service and innovative contributions to AIARD programs and international agricultural research. Yohe was recognized for his nearly 30 years of leadership under the INTSORMIL CRSP and his role in envisioning the CRSPs; in his time at USAID in the 1970s he helped to draft the original CRSP Guidelines, the manual for managing these innovative agricultural research programs. Speaking about his leadership, AquaFish Innovation Lab Director Hillary Egna said, “CRSPs have benefitted from the groundwork [John Yohe] laid back in the 1970s and 80s, and the principles [he has] defended ever since for doing international agricultural research and development with the university community.” Under Yohe’s leadership the INTSORMIL CRSP has made impacts on agricultural communities around the world, documented in “INTSORMIL: More than 30 Years of Excellence.” Recently, INTSORMIL through long-term collaborative research with the Centro Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria y Forestal (CENTA) launched a new variety of sorghum in El Salvador that improves the quality of feed for cattle ultimately increasing the milk and meat yield. Yohe was also recognized for his service as president of AIARD from 2003-2004. In March 2013 with the closing of INTSORMIL, Yohe retired from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as Associate Professor in Plant Breeding and Program Director for the INTSORMIL CRSP.
Former Peanut CRSP Program Director Tim Williams was recognized for his career-long commitment to the goals of AIARD through active support for international agriculture and rural development and significant contributions to international agriculture through research with an AIARD Special Service Award. Williams, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, is a leader in peanut research. He started his career working with the Zimbabwe Agricultural Research Service and the CGIAR System. In 1995, he joined the Peanut CRSP, serving as Program Direction from 1997 until 2012. Williams became known for his commitment to and enthusiasm for need-driven research. Under the Peanut CRSP he was responsible for pioneering research on human aflatoxicosis and discovering a relationship between maize consumption and HIV transmission in Sub-Saharan Africa. Deborah Rubin in a letter nominating Williams for the award said, “His enthusiasm and ability to use science to solve problems is the hallmark of Tim’s illustrious and accomplished scientific career.”
Two other awardees recognized for their leadership in international agriculture and rural development are also former CRSP researchers. Kenneth Shapiro, the recipient of an AIARD Distinguished Service Award, is a leading economist in the University of Wisconsin’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and founding member of AIARD. As a PI with the Global Livestock CRSP, he examined the privatization of agriculture in Central Asia and the identification of key factors in marketing channels from the farm gate to the consumer. University of Wisconsin, Madison was the Managing Entity for several phases of the BASIS AMA CRSP from 1996-2012. Neville P. Clarke, at Texas A&M University since 1975, was also awarded an AIARD Special Service Award. As a PI for the SANREM CRSP he led research on a Global Decision Support System to demonstrate the utility of geo-referenced methods for assessing the impact of changes in technology and policy on agriculture and natural resource use. Texas A&M University was a key partner for many of the CRSPs over the years including INTSORMIL, Peanut, Livestock-Climate Change, Global Livestock, Small Ruminant, Dry Grain Pulses (Pulse) and Bean/Cowpea, and Soil Management CRSPs. Clarke serves as the Special Assistant for Program Development to the Vice Chancellor for Agriculture of the Texas A&M System and to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies of Texas A&M University.
Established in 1964, AIARD is dedicated to helping prepare others to focus their skills to develop agriculture and the rural sector for mutual benefit of the United States and developing countries.