2017 Institute to feature top experts in agriculture and food security

The program of events lined up for this week’s New York Youth Institute, to take place on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, is stacked with several of the brightest minds in agriculture and food security. Featuring two World Food Prize laureates, the Dean of Cornell’s College of agriculture and Life Sciences, and the New York State Agriculture Commissioner, the event promises to offer participating students and teachers abundant opportunities to learn and engage.

Let’s meet some of the 2017 Institute’s special guests:

Commissioner Richard Ball


Ball, a New York native and determined agriculturist, has served as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets since 2014. He operates Schoharie Valley Farms in Schoharie, New York, where he produces vegetable and fruit crops on 200 acres for retail and wholesale markets. An accomplished voice in agriculture state-wide, Ball has held numerous positions in organizations at local, state, and national levels.

Dean Kathryn Boor

Dean Kathryn J. Boor

Boor has held her current position as Dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) since 2010. Prior to her current appointment, she held a professorship and and was chair of the Department of Food Science at Cornell. Having completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell, she continued her engagement with food science and microbiology both domestically and abroad. In 1994, she pioneered the Food Safety Laboratory at Cornell, and became Director of the Milk Quality Improvement Program shortly thereafter. She remains active as a contributor to the food safety  and microbiology research community, and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and the International Life Sciences  Institute-North America.

Dr. Catherine Bertini

Bertini, a 2003 World Food Prize Laureate, serves as Vice Chair and Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse, New York. She was an assistant secretary at the USDA from 1989-1992, where she was involved with food assistance programming for America’s poor. Her innovations in food-stamps, maternal wellness, and school feeding empowered countless mothers and children across the country. Following her USDA position, Bertini served as Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme for a decade. Her continued pursuits at the UN focused on enhancing efficiency and efficacy of operations within the agency, and have substantially enhanced food delivery to needy populations and disaster areas worldwide.

Dr. Per Pinstrup-Andersen


Pinstrup-Andersen, an economist and professor at Cornell, received the World Food Prize in 2001 for his outstanding contributions to policy-making initiatives and, ultimately, global efforts to uplift the world’s poor. He spent a decade as Director-General of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., where he helped to build that organization into a leader in the conversation around food policy. The 2020 Vision Initiative, which Pinstrup-Andersen spearheaded in the 1990s, drew global attention toward the urgency of food security research and programming and catalyzed important dialogue and political action around the world.


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