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Westgate named director of Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods


Mark Westgate, Iowa State professor of agronomy, has been named director of Iowa State University's Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods.

Westgate is internationally recognized for his research on the effects of drought stress on major crops. He joined Iowa State's agronomy faculty in 1998. He began working with CSRL in Uganda last year as a member of a USAID-funded project on bean production and marketing.

The Center partners with Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and VEDCO, an indigenous nongovernmental organization, to improve food security for 800 farm households in Uganda. The program was established in 2004 by Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The Center engages Iowa State faculty, staff and students to work with rural community leaders and families. The program's purpose is to address the problems that underlie shortages of food, inadequate household income and poor health. The farmer-to-farmer approach employed by CSRL and its partners has led to substantial improvements in food security.

Last fall, CSRL announced plans to reorganize and assemble a multidisciplinary team to lead and coordinate international outreach and research on crop and animal production, socio-economic issues, educational activities, nutrition and health, and field operations. The associate directors asked to lead each of these program areas include:

--Robert Mazur, associate professor of sociology, is the associate director for socio-economic research. Mazur served as the Center's director from 2003 to 2008.

--Gail Nonnecke, University professor of horticulture, serves as the associate director for education. Nonnecke leads the student service learning activities and is faculty coordinator for the new Global Resource Systems major.

--Max Rothschild, Curtiss Distinguished Professor and M.E. Ensminger International Chair in animal science, is associate director for livestock production and health. Rothschild is leading a project to expand pig production supported by the Monsanto Fund.

--Dorothy Masinde, program manager based in Uganda, is associate director for Uganda operations.

The management team's long-term plan is to strengthen existing institutional relationships and to establish new ones in several regions of the developing world. By fostering long-term partnerships, the program will provide opportunities for a wider cross-section of faculty and students.

The program was established through an anonymous gift to the ISU Foundation from an Iowa State alumnus and his wife. The program benefits from private support from more than 60 donors. For more information about CSRL and opportunities to support its programs, go to http://www.srl.ag.iastate.edu.

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