Indian Students at Cornell, IARD 0420 – for the year 2017

The International Agriculture and Rural development program, funded by Cornell Sathguru Foundation for development has been designed exclusively for the students who are interested in agricultural and the related verticals for understanding the tech transfer along with the advanced modern practices implemented in agriculture. The program emphasizes on clearly understanding the multi-disciplinary agricultural system in developing and developed nation through two main modules- IARD 0420 (classroom learning/ Online cases) and IARD 0620 (field visits).

During the current year 2017, agricultural graduate students from Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat and University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad, were selected to nominate students in   agriculture, rural development and value addition departments for participating in the IARD 2018 program.

The nominated twelve students along with faculty-in-chargeswere funded to travel to Cornell University, Ithaca, New York to explore various technologies and latest practices being used in the agricultural systems and allied sectors in the United States for a short duration.

IARD 0420 short course at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York:

The visiting Indian team was paired up with the IARD Cornell students to attend various lectures in the University and visit various fields and farms to pragmatically experience the technologiesbeing used and the on-going research carried out in agriculture.

 The team was exposed to various classroom lectures on farming philosophies in India, Unites States and other nations;International farming subsidies; farming philosophies; plant breeding focused on improvement of plant production; marker assisted breeding through backcrossing; genetic transformation; genomics of apple; global agriculture; democracy as a way of life and many other modules. The short course also accorded the students to interact with entrepreneurs and farmers to understand the basic farming practices, market value, value addition, market trends andhow the demand and supply chain is maintained for each crop/ product with respect to the ever changing market across the geographies. The team visited the winery, cider making firms, apple orchards, berry orchards, honey bee hives, solar stations, dairy barns, cheese making industry, dairy production unit, greenhouses, Geneva experiment station, horticulture farms in the University, Cornell orchards, veterinary  hospital, organic farms, fiber making, Alpaca farms, poultry farms, college of fashion in Cornell and others like Wegmans’  for  a case study on food retail, Bt Eggplant, AMP biotech and the biotechnology advancements  at  Boyce Thompson Institute.

Added a feather to the cap of IARD:

The short course of IARD precisely designed was meticulously handled by the professionalteam from Cornell and Sathguru, concluded with interaction of   few great personalities in the agricultural field making the visit enriching both academically and technically.

The Noble Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug’s daughter- Dr. Jeanie Borlaug, the chair of Borlaug Global Rust initiative graced the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Cornell University and addressed the IARD team. The team interacted with Dr. Borlaug on various initiatives taken for promising a hunger free world and the impact that they foresee with the insights gained from IARD program.

The team also interacted with the Humphrey professionals and IP-CALS staff to understand various avenues available in implementing the same in India.

 The IARD team, also met the American theoretical chemist and the 1981 Noble prize winner in Chemistry- Dr. Roald Hoffman at his office in Cornell University. The team interacted with the noble laureate and understood how his love for chemistry became his passion.  The dedication he had towards research even after his retirement inspired the team. Dr Roald Hoffman’s love towards Bengali poems and Indian arts ended the program much significantly than ever thought of!

Conclusion:

The IARD short course at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York successfully concluded with the team gaining insights on agricultural systems and allied sector through exhaustive field visits, interactions, case study and classroom lectures.

The team is eagerly looking forward to experience the second part of the IARD program during the year 2018 that shall include visit to Indian farms, interacting with farmers and commission agents, SHGs, latest technologies and techniques used in the agricultural systems and value addition in food industry. Additionally an exclusive visit during Jan 2018 for IARD 0620 module to the states of Telangana and Karnataka to understand the agricultural practices in developing nations is planned.