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Dr. Craig Meisner
Research and Extension Manager , Australian Centre for International Ag Research
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Lifetime Goal:
To place poor farmers first in international agricultural research and rural development, not only in their role and responsibility in meeting food security, but also as the actual people who are often food insecure in the first place. Through them, be part of an institution/team whose goal is the betterment of rural communities’ livelihoods through agriculture/rural research
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Area of Expertise:
  • Agriculture, Livelihoods, Microfinance, Rural
  • Environment, Climate, Energy, Water, Sanitation
Professional Experience:
Currently: Since Feb ’09 through June 2012, Res & Ext Sector Mgr with ACIAR:
Duty location: Cambodia;
Duties: Implement ~$12.4 million USD budget for ACIAR through the CAVAC project on agricultural research and extension. This includes yearly competitive grants for Cambodian scientists as well as implementing 4 mega-projects for ACIAR on rice germplasm and rice establishment, on farm water mgmt., and hort value chain.

2007-08 Short-term consultancies:
o Worked with the International Rice Research Institute on synthesizing and reporting on the best practices for upscaling technologies among their NGO partners in a FoSHoL program funded by the EU.
o Worked with Apollo LLP (investment firm) in Ukraine, Peru and Brazil on their potential agricultural investments.
o Worked with Morgan Stanley for about 1 month in Ukraine, monitoring an agricultural investment there as well as a desk study on sugarcane production best practices. Worked with a DFID-funded program, Research Into Use, as development consultant. Worked with JOBS (Univ of Maryland) as advisor/consultant on the role of SMEs in rural development.
o Worked with International Development Enterprise (IDE) in Bangladesh preparing briefs on fertilizer and pulses production; worked with TEAR Fund, UK on short brief on the status of natural resource research in Bangladesh.

Adjunct Full Professor Cornell University
o Based in Bangladesh but with the Dept. of Crop and Soil Science, Cornell University, Ithaca NY (paid contract from July 2006 until September 2007 but Professorship until 2011). Programs described previously.
o Was Country Coordinator for Cornell University’s Soil Mgmt CRSP in Bangladesh, assisting Professors John Duxbury and Julie Lauren in Conservation Agriculture,
o Country Coordinator for Cornell University/USDA transgenic papaya program with USAID funds
o Sought funding for the research in Arsenic in the Environment for S. and SE Asia Regional Consortium composed of Bangladesh institutes/universities, Cornell, Texas A&M, and other countries’ universities. Helped garner ~$5 million USDA Food for Peace funds for Cornell U to continue work in Bangladesh on Arsenic from 2010-2015.

International Principle Scientist-Intensive Agroecosystem Program
International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT)
Dates: October 1992 until 2005 Duties: In Bangladesh:
As Agronomist of the CIMMYT Program and later Chief of Party for USAID program, I managed a 1.5 million dollar per year project involving work toward making the Wheat Research Centre of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute a more sustainable, research and training team, institutionalizing the efforts of the previous 10 years funding by CIDA, AusAID, DANIDA and USAID. I developed and implemented successful strategies to promote wheat, maize, and triticale production in Bangladesh (relatively new crops for Bangladesh). Other strategic research included long-term soil fertility trials
Education:
Ph. D. University of Georgia Dissertation Topic: Water stress effects on peanut root growth and development
Major: Agronomy/Crop Physiology. Degree received: 1990 GPA: 3.91
Masters of Agriculture North Carolina State University Topic: Increasing nitrogen fixation of the peanut
Major: Interdisciplinary degree in pathology, physiology, and crop production. Degree received: 1979 GPA: 3.3
B.S. North Carolina State University
Major: Agronomy emphasizing both tropical and temperate crops. Degree received: 1976 GPA: 3.5 (3.9 in major)
Affiliations and Achievements:
Impacts
1. Fought the food policy of the food aid donors: Continuous communications and seminars given to the Food Aid groups convinced many to decrease the use of imported wheat for food for work. Currently most have chosen to use currency instead. Food Aid is only a tenth of what it was 7 years ago, with all USAID wheat being monetized at the port during the off-season and used to support wheat research in Bangladesh. This is $2.5 million over 5 years.
2. Convinced government policy makers of the profitability of wheat and maize as well as the environmental soundness of wheat cultivation over boro (winter) rice in lighter soils–now as a possible management tool for areas with high arsenic in the irrigation water. Various seminars, publications, articles written on wheat production compared to winter rice showed the profitability of wheat.
3. Developed NARS partners in Cambodia and Bangladesh in national, regional and international scientific fora. Their sound science is recognized now in many circles.
4. Many wheat, triticale, and maize varieties have been released through the NARS partners over the past decade, with crop areas, production and yields increasing slowly but clearly.
5. Introduced Whole Family Training to wheat, maize, ag equipment and many other aspects of agriculture in Bangladesh. It has excelled in an interactive exchange of technologies to and from the farmers, the scientists, extensionists and NGO workers.
6. Was part of a team that discovered the causes of rickets in SE Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts), implemented medical and nutritional treatment for those affected, and created dramas/videos for community awareness to prevent further rickets.
7. Motivated farmer field schools in Rajshahi District to try permanent raised beds for growing rice, wheat, mungbean in one cropping system with no tillage. Four groups now have purchased the equipment that forms and plants on beds behind the Chinese Hand Tractors (readily available in rural communities).


Available for:
  • Job opportunities

    Years of Experience:
    More than 20 years
    Highest Qualification:
    Doctorate
    Languages:
    English, Spanish, Bangla, Khmer
    Nationality:
    United States
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