2020 Outstanding Agricultural Scientist Award: Dr. Vijay Gopal Kakani

Dr. Vijay Gopal Kakani is one of the two recipients of the 2020 Outstanding Agricultural Scientist Award. Dr. Kakani is the Warth and Sarkeys Distinguished Professor of Crops, Energy, and Climate in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Oklahoma State University. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agronomy from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, and a doctoral degree in agriculture from the University of Reading in England. He has research experience across continents, and he integrates agronomy, crop physiology, remote sensing, and crop modeling in his research. He has received numerous national and international recognition for his research excellence.

Most recently, he has been recognized as the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellow 2020-2021. “He is taking his passion for mentoring back home with this fellowship to inspire many young professionals in India and develop a bridge between the two countries”, said Dr. Raja Reddy, Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University. “He will undoubtedly take his passion for research, teaching, and service, and inextinguishable thirst to help the Indian community grow with him throughout his career”, Dr. Reddy added.

Prof. Kakani takes a keen interest in training the next generation of agriculture scientists. He teaches Bioenergy, Crop Modeling, and Plant Environment Interactions. He trained more than 35 graduate students as their major advisor or research committee member and 9 postdoctoral and visiting scholars. He has also trained more than 150 undergraduate students on research projects. “Unique characteristics of an outstanding mentor include knowledgeable and respected; compassionate and committed; approachable and available, and critical and supportive – Dr. Kakani represents all these traits”, said Dr. Vara Prasad, University Distinguished Professor of Crop Ecophysiology and the Director of the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Laboratory at Kansas State University. “Dr. Kakani’s career is a true reflection of the AASIO Outstanding Agricultural Scientist Award”, commented Dr. Prasanna Gowda, Associate Area Director of USDA-ARS Southeast Area.

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