Cochran Fellows receive training from the USDA Forest Products Laboratory during a hands-on workshop on low-cost, high-efficiency cooking stoves. The stoves provide gains in efficiency, as well as reduce pollution offering benefits such as a lower incidence of pulmonary diseases.
Research shows the majority of people in Africa depend on biomass to meet their energy needs, with approximately 80 percent relying on wood energy. Such high dependency makes families vulnerable to unexpected and sudden changes, including extreme weather and socio-political events. Researching and developing ways to diversify energy sources is crucial for a more sustainable, food secure future.
A project funded through the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Cochran Fellowship Program on “Biofuels for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods,” hosted by the University of Missouri (MU) College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources International Programs, set out to address this very issue. The research and training program was organized for West African Cochran Fellows to learn how different uses of biofuels can help support sustainable livelihoods in their communities. The two-week-long program consisted of workshops, field visits and interactive discussions in cooperation with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, the MU Center for Agroforestry, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and Envest Microfinance. Read more »
A delegation of Thai lumber company executives (including Opas Panitchewakul, Pracha Thawornjira, Jaroonsak Cheewatammanon, Khomwit Boonthamrongkit and Wasant Sonchaiwanich) tours the Mauvila Timber distribution warehouse in Loxly, Ala., with Lane Merchant (left), the company’s general manager.
The pine forests of Georgia and the Pacific Northwest are a far cry from the crowded streets of Bangkok, where several shipments of U.S. softwood products are headed thanks to a collaborative effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Southern Forest Products Association and the Softwood Export Council.
In June 2014, executives from five Thai lumber companies visited the United States under the auspices of FAS’s Cochran Fellowship Program. Thanks to the knowledge they gained and the relationships they forged with the U.S. softwood industry during their visit, several participants subsequently made first-time purchases of U.S. softwood. These initial purchases are a big step for U.S. softwood producers to make headway into the $58 million market in Thailand. Read more »
China’s dairy industry has seen the benefits of U.S.-grown alfalfa hay thanks to the Cochran Fellowship Program. (Photo credit: USDA-NRCS)
China’s growing middle class and rising demand for high-quality food products have led to a boom in the country’s dairy sector. With the help of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Cochran Fellowship Program, U.S. alfalfa hay producers have been able to capitalize on this expanding dairy market.
More than 10 years ago, FAS recognized an opportunity in China’s dairy sector and used the Cochran Fellowship Program to educate south China dairy professionals about the U.S. dairy industry. Between 2005 and 2007, four delegations of dairy farm managers, veterinarians, college professors, industry association leaders, government officials, and dairy processors participated in dairy training programs. Once they returned to China, the fellows conducted feeding trials through FAS’ Quality Samples Program, learning how Chinese farmers could use U.S. alfalfa hay to help increase milk yield, improve cows’ health, and boost farmers’ revenue. Read more »
Mozambique Minister of Science and Technology Louis Pelembe (left) meets with National Soybean Research Laboratory Director Craig Gundersen and his son, Van, during the World Soybean Research Conference earlier this year. Minister Pelembe participated in the Foreign Agricultural Service Cochran Fellowship Program and has used his training to help address critical food security and develop agricultural policy in Mozambique. (Courtesy photo)
Promoting food security and agricultural development around the world is a key part of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) mission. One way FAS does this is by providing educational opportunities to emerging leaders from developing countries through programs such as the Cochran Fellowship Program. Among the FAS-trained fellows who have gone on to great things is Mozambique’s Minister of Science and Technology Louis Pelembe.
Minister Pelembe was a Cochran fellow in 2003, learning about food processing techniques for soy and other commodities at Texas A&M University. He later continued his training at the University of Illinois National Soybean Research Laboratory and Kansas State University with the support of FAS’s Emerging Markets Program. Today, he’s helping address critical food security and developing agricultural policy in Mozambique. Read more »
Nguyen Thi Chi Linh is the owner of the Vietnamese agribusiness, Agri Commodities Company, which specializes in feed ingredient trading. Linh credits the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Cochran Fellowship Program for inspiring her to start her own company after she participated in the Cochran soybean and soybean purchasing meal course in 2004. Last year, she helped U.S. companies export more than $10 million of feed commodities to Vietnam.
Before Nguyen Thi Chi Linh participated in the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Cochran Fellowship Program in 2004, she was a manager for one of the three largest feed manufacturers in Vietnam. Today, she’s one of the country’s most successful agribusiness owners and importers of U.S. agricultural products.
Linh credits the Cochran program for helping her go from an employee to an employer. Since 1984, the program has provided U.S.-based training courses to agricultural experts from middle-income countries, emerging markets and emerging democracies. The program provides high-quality agricultural education to these fellows, which helps improve agricultural systems in their home countries and enhance U.S. trade relationships abroad. Read more »
Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse (left) tours a Vinamilk factory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and sees dairy products the company has imported from the United States. Vinamilk is Vietnam’s largest dairy processing company and its general manager, Nguyen Quoc Khanh (right) is a 1998 alum of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Cochran Fellowship Program. Scuse was in Vietnam last week leading USDA’s first agricultural trade mission there. Photo by Le Sy Hoang Chuong
Last week, I was honored to lead USDA’s first-ever agricultural trade mission to Vietnam, which is quickly becoming one of the United State’s largest markets for agricultural exports.
While there, I met with government and agricultural officials, witnessed trade relationships developing between U.S. and Vietnamese companies, and visited some of Vietnam’s most successful agricultural production and development sites. Read more »