Jun. 12, 2020
Source: The World Food Prize news release
"The world's population continues to grow, and we need to use the resources we have more productively and efficiently to make sure everyone has enough food on their table," said Secretary Pompeo. "Dr. Lal's research in soil science shows that the solution to this problem is right under our feet. He's helping the earth's estimated 500 million small farmers be faithful stewards of their land though improved management, less soil degradation, and the recycling of nutrients. The billions of people who depend on these farms stand to benefit greatly from his work."
"The unbound joy and excitement of receiving the 2020 World Food Prize reminds me about the gratitude, privilege and honor of working for farmers from around the world," said Dr. Lal, who now serves as Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and founding Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at The Ohio State University (OSU). "Yet, the urgent task of feeding humanity is not fulfilled until each and every person has access to an adequate amount of nutritious food grown on a healthy soil and in a clean environment."
He explored and transformed techniques such as no-tillage, cover cropping, mulching and agroforestry that protected the soil from the elements, conserved water and returned nutrients, carbon and organic matter to the soil. This in turn improved the long-term sustainability of agroecosystems and minimized the risks to farmers of droughts, floods, and other effects of a changing climate.
In 1987, he returned to his alma mater, OSU, where his research showed how atmospheric carbon can be sequestered in soils. This breakthrough research transformed the way the world saw soils. As a result, soils are now not only the foundation for increasing the quality and quantity of food and preserving natural ecosystems, but an important part of mitigating climate change, as well.
"Dr. Lal is a trailblazer in soil science with a prodigious passion for research that improves soil health, enhances agricultural production, improves the nutritional quality of food, restores the environment and mitigates climate change," said Stinson. "His decades of work to address all of these elements fully warrants his recognition as the 50th World Food Prize Laureate."
"Here at USDA our motto is 'to do right and feed everyone,'" said Secretary Perdue. "The scientific innovations, like those developed by Dr. Lal, embody this motto in the work that he and we are doing. The agricultural practices Lal developed and advocated for are now at the heart of efforts to improve agricultural systems."
The impact of his research and advocacy on sustainability of agriculture and the environment cannot be overstressed. He is a most deserving recipient and inspiring leader."While Lal is one of the most prolific agricultural scientists with more than 100,000 citations, he is acutely aware of the necessity of working with national, international and governmental institutions to translate research into impact at the community and farmer level.
Learn more at www.worldfoodprize.org/2020laureate