MSU President Keenum taking part in World Food Prize Week

Contact: James Carskadon

MArk E. Keenum and Mark Green
After chairing a Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) meeting Tuesday [Oct. 15] in Des Moines, Iowa, MSU President Mark E. Keenum, right, met with USAID Administrator Mark Green. At the meeting, BIFAD released a study titled “How the United States Benefits from Agricultural and Food Security Investments in Developing Countries.” (Submitted photo)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum is among agricultural leaders from around the world taking part in World Food Prize events this week in Des Moines, Iowa.

Keenum serves as chairman of the presidentially appointed Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), an advisory board to United States Agency for International Development. At World Food Prize Week, BIFAD will release a study that shows the many domestic benefits of international U.S. aid. The study, conducted by the International Food Policy Research, shows that in addition to benefitting recipients and enhancing global security and stability, international aid creates increased agricultural productivity in the U.S. and enhances research capabilities at American universities.

“As an agricultural economist, I have long recognized the dilemma facing our planet with both a growing population and serious challenges to future food supplies,” Keenum said. “Finding ways to enhance food security is literally a matter of life and death. It is important to preventing conflict among nations and is in our own national security interests. It is also simply the right thing to do.”

For more on the BIFAD study, see a recent op-ed by Keenum here:

An MSU agricultural economics graduate, Keenum has focused a significant portion of his career on global food security. In addition to his BIFAD appointment, Keenum serves on the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research. He has twice spoken at the United Nations in New York about the roles public research universities play in addressing critical food and agricultural challenges. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Keenum served as Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Serving as MSU’s president since 2009, Keenum has helped enhance the university’s standing as a leading agricultural research university. The most recent National Science Foundation survey shows MSU is ranked No. 9 nationally with $109 million in research and development expenditures in agricultural sciences. MSU is leading the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, in addition to other national and international collaborations aimed at helping feed a global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050.

For more on the World Food Prize, visit

For more on Keenum, visit

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 8:37 am