Misra Receives Outstanding Achievement in International Agriculture Award

By Megan Lutz, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service

"I like seeds... in each one of them is that urge of life waiting to express itself," said Manjit Misra, the director of the Seed Science Center. "They're so tiny but they are a powerhouse."

Misra is originally from India and in 1971 moved to Missouri where he "got two degrees and met his wife." He has been at Iowa State since 1979 and is receiving the Outstanding Achievement in International Agriculture Award.

"This is the first job and the only job I've ever had," Misra said. "And seed work is what I do, it's the beginning of ag and the renewal of ag."

Misra works with people from all over the world and said working at the global level makes a big impact.

"The seed center has worked with 80 countries," Misra said. "We work with countries to assess what the seed quality obstacles are and how they overcome them."

Many countries do not have a seed industry and the center helps them to begin building that industry or improving what they have. It's important, Misra said, to build relationships.

Susana Goggi, professor in the Seed Science Center, works with Misra at the Center.

"He directs center faculty by allowing them the freedom of scientific exploration, helps to promote their academic growth and offers unconditional support," Goggi said. "He is undoubtedly our biggest cheerleader."

Misra looks at the seed as the solution to both hunger and food security. He said helping others and helping people feed themselves is the most important work he does.

"What can we do to help hundreds of thousands of farmers," Misra said. "How can we do something and then do it better."

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented the award to Misra March 8 at its Spring-Semester Convocation and Awards Program in the Memorial Union.