What does Ohio State mean to agricultural sustainability?

Rattan Lal, PhD

From his laboratory in Columbus, Rattan Lal, PhD, has a global reach. But for Ohio State and Dr. Lal, our world wouldn’t have a tireless advocate for managing and protecting fragile soils. Dr. Lal’s research has advanced the worldwide practice of no-till farming, which leaves the residue from the previous year’s crops on the field, and agroforestry—planting trees and shrubs around croplands to enhance the quality of the soil. Dr. Lal teaches farmers around the world how to turn their struggling cropland into sustainable agriculture, and his work at Ohio State on carbon sequestration and soil management has greatly benefited developing regions in Africa and India—where more than 600 million people don’t know where their next meal is coming from. “Converting natural ecosystems to fields for crop production and pastures depletes a soil’s carbon content by as much as 75 percent,” according to Dr. Lal. “With too little carbon in the soil, crop production is inefficient. Our research to remedy this situation is making a difference in communities around the world.”

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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

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