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Plenary lecturers share science and policy perspectives

MADISON, WI, OCTOBER 27, 2009 -- Worldwide leaders in agricultural research, science policy, and soil science will address emerging developments in plant and soil sciences as daily plenary lectures during the 2009 Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), Nov. 1-5 in Pittsburgh, PA.The meeting will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The four daily plenary lecturers are:

Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, 6:00 pm, Ballroom BC
ASA Plenary /E.T. & Vam York Distinguished Lecture
Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue University

Dr. Gebisa Ejeta is the recipient of the 2009 World Food Prize for his contributions in the production of sorghum, which have dramatically enhanced the food supply for millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. He will present the 2009 E.T. & Vam York Distinguished ASA Plenary Lecture, "Fueling the Resurgence of Our Purpose-Driven Sciences," on Sunday, Nov. 1, from 6:00-7:00pm. His personal journey would lead him from a childhood in a one-room thatched hut in rural Ethiopia to scientific acclaim as a distinguished professor, plant breeder, and geneticist at Purdue University. Ejeta's scientific breakthroughs in breeding drought-tolerant and Striga-resistant sorghum have combined with his persistent efforts to foster economic development and the empowerment of subsistence farmers through the creation of agricultural enterprises in rural Africa.

Monday, Nov. 2, 2009, 8:00-9:30 am, Ballroom BC
ASA Plenary Lecture
Roger Beachy, USDA- National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Roger Beachy is the director of the USDA's newly established National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Washington, DC. Prior to his appointment to the Obama administration, Dr. Beachy served as the founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO. He is internationally known for his groundbreaking research on development of virus-resistant plants through biotechnology. The new Institute takes the existing USDA-CSREES (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service) and transforms it into a cross-agency "federal science enterprise," according USDA Secretary Vilsack. He will share his outlook for the new institute at the ASA Plenary Lecture on Monday, Nov.2, from 8:00-9:30 am at the Annual Meetings.

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009, 8:00-9:30 am, Ballroom BC
CSSA Plenary Lecture
Calestous Juma, Harvard University

Dr. Calestous Juma is a professor of the practice of international development and director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on the application of science and innovation to sustainable development. Dr. Juma is a former head of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and has been elected to several academies including the Royal Society of London, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. He is the 2009 Betty Klepper Endowed Lecturer. His presentation, "Science and Innovation for SustainabilityHarnessing Technological Abundance," will explore the role of technological innovation in fostering the sustainability transition, with specific emphasis on agriculture. He will present the CSSA Plenary Lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 8:00-9:30 am at the Annual Meetings.

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009, 8:00-9:30 am, Ballroom BC
SSSA Plenary Lecture
Ian Pepper, University of Arizona

Dr. Ian Pepper is a professor in the department of Community, Environment, and Policy and the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona. He is also the director of the Environmental Research Laboratory and NSF Water Quality Center at University of Arizona. Pepper's lecture, "Soils: A Public Health Threat or Savior," will highlight the ways that soil's biodiversity and architecture has contributed to human health, nutrition, and global ecology, making it one of the most valuable ecosystems in the world. He will present the SSSA Plenary Lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 8:00-9:30 am at the Annual Meetings.


Contact: Sara Uttech
American Society of Agronomy

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