STILLWATER, Okla. — Thomas G. Coon, vice president of OSU Agricultural Programs and dean of the Ferguson College of Agriculture, has been selected to serve on the board of directors for the International Fertilizer Development Center. He assumed his position June 1.
The Alabama-based company is an independent, nonprofit organization that combines innovative research, market systems development and strategic partnerships to spread sustainable agricultural solutions for improved soil health, food security and livelihoods around the world.
Coon, who will serve as one of 18 board members with representatives from eight nations, said the board gives strategic direction to the work of the center and serves in an oversight role on budget, financing and center management.
“Throughout my career I’ve been involved in international research and partnerships to help advance research and translating its practical application to producers, processors and retailers,” Coon said. “At OSU, we have a record of having a very practical impact on agricultural advancement in developing nations. Dr. Bill Raun, Regents Professor in Crop and Soil Science, has a tremendous reputation for advising more than 125 international graduate students. I’m not a soil scientist, but the reputation Dr. Raun and his colleagues have established has a lot to do with the board’s interest in having an administrator from his college on the board.”
Coon said the center’s focus on soil health and plant nutrition build on the Ferguson College of Agriculture’s emphasis on soil health and plant nutrient stewardship, adding that the alignment is very complimentary.
The relationship with IFDC gives OSU a tremendous network in which to carry out research and outreach programs internationally while recruiting students and collaborators. The IFDC has focused on working in nations in Africa and South Asia. Coon said he sees this as one more opportunity for OSU to connect with others working in these countries to enhance the understanding of factors that can advance sustainable food production while expanding the skills of farmers and agricultural researchers.
IFDC President and CEO Albin Hubscher said he is excited to welcome Coon to the board.
“Dr. Coon brings to the IFDC board decades of on-the-ground agricultural research experience that makes a real difference for real problems. We hope that collaborations with the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University will contribute to IFDC’s mission of taking cutting-edge soil health and fertilizer research and making it available to people in a way that changes their lives,” Hubscher said. “His contribution to the oversight of our organization will directly impact the lives and prosperity of millions of smallholder farming families around the world.”
IFDC is a science-based public international organization working to alleviate global hunger by introducing improved agricultural practices and fertilizer technologies to farmers and by linking farmers to markets.
— Trisha Gedon, Oklahoma State University
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