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Researchers and Students

International Agriculture Section

The International Agriculture Section (IAS) of the APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly consists of the lead individual from each institution’s international agriculture program. The vision of the International Agriculture Section (IAS) is to promote, facilitate, and support the international agricultural, food, and environmental programs and activities of members of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

IAS represents APLU members to accomplish tasks that are best approached as collaborative efforts among North American institutions. These include: (1) exchange of faculty, students, staff and information to facilitate the internationalization of research, education and engagement within our member universities, and (2) federal relations activities with the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government to advocate for university engagement in international agricultural, food, energy and environmental programs.

The members come from the colleges and faculties of agricultural, food, environmental and life sciences with an office coordinating international collaborative efforts.  Collegiate IAS offices provide capacity to:

  • Manage the capacity for international cooperation
  • Maintain international partnerships
  • Identify opportunities for international collaborations
  • Facilitate faculty and student exchanges
  • Implement best practices in international programs
  • Provide guidance on cross-cultural initiatives
  • Integrate internationalization into programs to train the next generation of globally competent scientists, educators and private sector leaders
  • Develop multidisciplinary approaches to address global food systems issues

IAS members advocate for opportunities to fulfill the public and land-grant goal of international collaboration in research, education and extension programming through the partnership with the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the U. S. Agency for International Development.  The IAS will target new opportunities that support the North American Knowledge Zone for cross-border common research and educational programs.

2020 Voting Members for the International Agriculture Section Executive Leadership Committee (ICOP)

International Agriculture Section Officers (2020)
According to the IAS by-laws, there are, at a minimum, 10 members of the IAS Executive Leadership Committee. The BAA Policy Board of Directors also requires an Alternative Representative, should the elected Representative to the PBD not be able to fulfill their representative duties during their term. As such, that individual is listed in this slate. 
*Please note that all terms are listed as active years. Terms begin in the Fall of each year. 

Chair of the Executive Committee: John Vreyens, Director of Global Initiatives for Extension, University of Minnesota Extension (2021-2023) 
Chair-Elect of the Executive Committee: Thomas L. (Tom) Thompson, Associate Dean and Director of Global Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech (2021-2023)
Secretary of the Executive Committee: Jennifer Kushner, Assistant Director of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences - Global, University of Madison - Wisconsin (2021-2023)
Past Chair of the Executive Committee: David Gray, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University (2021-2023)

Committee Representatives

Budget and Advocacy Committee (BAC) Representative: Kevin Fitzsimmons, University of Arizona (2021-2023)
Committee on Legislation and Policy (CLP) Representative: Thomas (Tom) Gill, University of Tennessee--Knoxville (2021-2023)
International Programs Director, BAA Policy Board (PBD): John Vreyens, Director of Global Initiatives for Extension, University of Minnesota Extension (2021-2023) 
International Programs Director, BAA Policy Board (PBD) Alternate: Jose Cisneros, North Carolina State University (2021-2023)
IAS Member-At-Large (Liaison) to the CII Executive Committee: Melanie Miller Foster, Assistant Professor of International Agriculture, Pennsylvania State University (2021-2023)
IAS Program Planning Chair: Lisa Woods, University of Arkansas (2021-2023)
CARET Representative to IAS: Rebecca Walth, South Dakota (2019-2023)

IAS Resources

  • IAS Bylaws
    Updated 2020. 
    Click here for to access
  • IAS White Paper 2014
    In this white paper we provide a rationale and a roadmap to integrate global dimensions in support of the domestic program goals of USDA and its National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

    White Paper
  • Resources
    Our Global Food Future: Capitalizing on Collaborative Investment and Innovations
    December 2nd, 2020

    The APLU International Agriculture Section invited the North American agricultural research, extension, and development community to participate in an online dialogue to set the stage for the next generation of global agriculture innovation and collaboration. The following speakers shared their vision for the future of global connectivity, technology, science and institutional partnerships.

    Scott Hutchins, Deputy Under Secretary Research, Education and Economics, United States Department of Agriculture
    Robert Bertram, USAID Chief Scientist
    Livia Bizikova, Lead, Monitoring and Governance, Tracking Progress, IISD, Canada
    Erick Fernandez, Lead Agricultural Specialist, World Bank Group
    Guillermo Hernandez, Rector de la Universidad Tecnológica de Aguascalientes

    Today’s innovation occurs, not only in-person, but also over the phone, computer, and other connected devices. Research collaboration requires monitoring and evaluation technologies that are advanced and connected to keep pace with international research competition. Funders at the private, foundation, and multi-national level seek modern approaches to innovation, institutional models, and work that is grounded in cultural and knowledge exchange. After hearing from our speakers, participants were invited to participate in an online dialogue around what North American Institutions can do to effectively plan to adapt to new methods of undertaking collaborations and engage in research, teaching, and extension.

    View the recording here.
    Access Passcode: IP?W74WW

Meetings & Events Events

All Day
New Orleans, Louisiana
All Day
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC

Featured Project & Initiative


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Agriculture, Human Sciences & Natural Resources
APLU's Board on Natural Resources and Board on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate authored the Science, Education, and Outreach Roadmap for Natural Resources to provide guidance for policy makers in strategic planning and investment.

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Iowa State University will establish and host a new national Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education. APLU and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) chose Iowa State to lead the institute, which is designed to foster and coordinate research and education activities using a One Health approach to comprehensively tackle the AMR problem.