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World Food Prize winner among speakers at agronomy, crop and soil science societies meetings

In June, Israeli-American soil scientist Daniel Hillel was named the 2012 recipient of the World Food Prize, the foremost international honor for individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.

Now, Hillela more than 50-year member of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is slated to speak at the 2012 International Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and SSSA. The meetings will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio on Oct. 21-24, 2012.

Born in the United States but raised in Israel, Hillel was first drawn to the issue of water scarcity in agriculture during his days living in the Negev Desert. His research eventually led to a radically new mode of bringing water to crops in arid regions, known as "micro-irrigation," which dramatically improved crop production and water conservation in many of the world's driest and poorest regions.

In addition to Hillel's talk on Weds., Oct. 24, more than 3,000 research presentations will be given at the meetings, and a number of other noted speakers will be in attendance as well (see below). For additional information, including the full scientific program, visit:

Journalists, freelance writers, and public information officers are invited to attend the meetings, and can receive complimentary registration and use of the press room. To learn about eligibility, go to: For more information and to receive press credentials, contact Madeline Fisher,, 608-268-3973.

Noted speakers at the 2012 ASA, CSSA, SSSA annual meetings

Baxter Black. Touted by the New York Times as "probably the nation's most successful living poet," Black is a former large animal vet who now makes his living as an entertainer, radio commentator, columnist, and "cowboy poet." Black has also written several books, including a rodeo novel and its sequel, and takes pride in knowing that his works aren't just displayed prominently in big city libraries, but also small town feed stores.

Heather Hanson. Vice President for Public Policy at the World Food Program USA in Washington, DC, Hansen has worked for more than two decades in policy, advocacy, and management for international organizations with a focus on food security issues. She has consulted for the World Bank and most recently directed policy and advocacy for Mercy Corps, which has humanitarian operations in 40 countries. While at Mercy Crops, Hanson also helped co-convene and lead the Roadmap to End Global Hunger coalition, which today supports development of the Administration's Feed the Future and broader global food security initiatives. Her talk is entitled "The Real Dirt about Ending Global Hunger."

Jan Leach. A University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and adjunct scientist at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, Leach is an authority on the molecular biology of plant-pathogen interactions. She focuses on identifying genetic sources within plants that confer broad-spectrum resistance to disease, with the goal of helping develop ecologically sustainable ways to control plant disease. She also studies complex crop traits that are relevant to biomass accumulation and human health. Leach is a fellow and past president of the American Phytopathological Society, and a fellow of AAAS and the American Academy of Microbiology. Her talk is entitled: "Food for a Hungry Planet: Challenges and Perspectives."

Paul Mobley. A photographer and author, Mobley will share the images and stories of farm families in his presentation: "American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country," based on his 2008 book. A Midwest native, Mobley first trained as a photographer at Detroit's Center for Creative Studies, and then in New York, where he apprenticed under Annie Leibovitz and other leading photographers. He then began traveling the world to capture snapshots of the human spirit, turning his lens in 2005 on American farmers and ranchers. His 2008 book of these portraits, American Farmer, became one of the top art and photography books of the year.

Teresa Scanlan. Crowned Miss America in 2011, Theresa Scanlan is will give the keynote address to undergraduates in agronomy, crop science, and soil science at this year's annual meetings. A native of Nebraska, Scanlan was a strong advocate for agriculture during her reign as Miss America, working with numerous organizations, including The Hand That Feeds U.S, an educational resource for urban media on the importance of U.S. agriculture to the security and future of our country.


Contact: Madeline Fisher
American Society of Agronomy

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