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DAA: Leland R. House

Leland R. House

, | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 1993

Dr. House has served since 1984 as executive director and program leader of the Southern African Development Corporation Committee/ International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (SADCC/ICRISAT). This year he is returning to the United States from his post in Southern Africa to complete the third edition of his book, Guide to Sorghum Breeding. Dr. House began his professional career as a faculty member and maize breeder in Purdue’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. He has been a leading contributor to sorghum improvement around the world for the past 25 years. Dr. House has been involved in all aspects of developments in sorghum improvement programs in Southern Asia, the Middle East, and in many parts of Africa for the past two decades. His interest in international agriculture led him to join the Rockefeller Foundation in 1959 as a maize breeder in the All India Maize Program. In 1961, Dr. House was made joint coordinator of that program, with responsibility for introducing hybrid sorghum to India. He contributed significantly to building an effective team that transformed and modernized Indian sorghum production. The Barwale Seed Company, that Dr. House helped establish, has served as a model for development of seed companies in other countries around the world. Dr. House has subsequently led broad programs in sorghum and millet improvement in Lebanon and the Middle East for the Rockefeller Foundation, in India for ICRISAT, and in Zimbabwe for SADCC/ICRISAT. One of his principal accomplishments was the initiation of a hybrid sorghum program in Sudan in cooperation with Sudanese scientists in the Agricultural Research Corporation. He recently headed a special emergency sorghum/millet seed production project for Southern Africa to address the problem of providing seed for farmers who had to eat their seed in order to survive the severe drought last year. Dr. House has made a remarkable contribution to the food security of millions of disadvantaged people whose food supply is threatened by population pressure, drought, and pestilence.