IITA alumnus receives 2019 Japan Prize for outstanding achievements in soil management
On 16 January, Rattan Lal, an eminent IITA alumnus and a University Professor of Soil Science at College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Ohio State University, was awarded the 2019 Japan Prize, considered one of the most prestigious honors in science and technology. The award was for original and outstanding research on sustainable soil management and its role in improving global food security and mitigating climate change.
In announcing the award, the Japan Prize Foundation stated that the award recognizes scientists and engineers from around the world for outstanding accomplishments that “not only contribute to the advancement of science and technology, but also promote peace and prosperity for all mankind.” The Foundation cited Lal’s pioneering research on no-tillage agriculture, and also congratulated him for having managed both climate change and soil degradation “while improving environmental quality and addressing the critical issue of feeding the Earth’s population.”
Lal, whose career in science spans five decades and five continents, is the first Ohio State scientist and the first soil scientist to ever receive the prize. He is a faculty member in CFAES’ School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), where he conducts research on topics such as soil processes, soil degradation, and sustainable management of soil and water. Lal also is the founder and director of SENR’s Carbon Management and Sequestration Center and is the past president of the 60,000-member International Union of Soil Sciences.
While receiving the award, Lal emphasized that the issues of sustainable soil management, global food security, and mitigating climate change sum up his career. “I have a strong commitment to these ideas, and I am so glad that they were mentioned in the award.” He further added that the honor “emphasizes the importance of the farming profession and its tribute to farmers for their role as stewards of our natural resources and environment.”
Commending Lal for his soil conservation initiatives, Bruce A. McPheron, Ohio State’s Executive Vice President and Provost, said, “The University is proud of your achievements and for being the recipient of the Japan Prize. Professor Lal is one of the world’s preeminent soil scientists, and his research and insights will continue to have a profound and enduring impact on global food security in the decades to come,” he added.
“Those of us at CFAES are enormously proud of our colleague, Rattan Lal, and his incredible achievements. He is a distinguished scientist, with a prolific research portfolio, but considers his primary contributions to be the training of many graduate students who have worked in his lab,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of CFAES.