Biotech Updates

Plant Breeder Ronnie Coffman Receives Inaugural World Agriculture Prize

October 23, 2013

The inaugural 2013 World Agriculture Prize was awarded to plant breeder and Cornell University professor Dr. Ronnie Coffman, in recognition of his efforts in promoting global partnerships and building leadership capacity in men and women working in crop improvement. The award was given to Dr. Coffman at Nanjing Agricultural University in China, on 20 October 2013 by the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA), an organization that represents more than 600 universities worldwide.

Ian Maw, Vice-Chair of GCHERA said, "For more than 40 years, Dr. Ronnie Coffman has played an international role in academic circles providing for safe and secure food, and the use of renewable resources. The World Agriculture Prize recognizes his significant contribution to our universities' mission of education, research and knowledge transfer for the benefit of society."

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Coffman said that new technologies, including biotechnologies, must be made accessible to all the world's farmers so that nutritionally superior seeds that are well-adapted to climate change are put in the hands of farmers with limited resources. Also believing that women are underserved in science and technology education in the fight against hunger, Dr. Coffman said he will donate the US$50,000 World Agriculture Prize to Cornell's Advancing Women in Agriculture Through Research and Education (AWARE).

Dr. Coffman has served on the faculty of Cornell University since 1981 and is director of International Programs in Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (IP-CALS).

For more details about Dr. Coffman's award, read the GCHERA's news release at, and at the Cornell Chronicle: