By: Christa Meland
With the support of Project AgGrad, Emmanuel Adeyemo recently completed his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota exactly two years after coming to the Twin Cities from Nigeria.
Adeyemo is the eighth student that Project AgGrad, a mission program of the Minnesota Conference, has supported since its inception. The program, now in its 32nd year, addresses the root causes of hunger in developing countries. It selects promising students from those countries and supports them as they pursue an advanced degree in agriculture production; upon completion of their degree, the students return home to share what they’ve learned and help their nation’s farmers feed more people in a sustainable way. Project AgGrad funds the students’ fellowship expenses through gifts from local churches and individuals.
Adeyemo earned a master of science in applied plant sciences from the U of M’s College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources. In about three years, after he completes his Ph.D., he will return to Nigeria and use his education and training to help increase food production there. Specifically, he aims to help boost wheat production while also empowering small farm holders and resource-limited farmers in his country.
He said he’ll take home a lot more than technical expertise and academic learning.
“The relationship I have with my professors here has given me a different perspective on how to mentor students and tackle challenges,” said Adeyemo. “Apart from the science that I would be taking back home, knowing how to effectively mentor the people working under my supervision will also be useful.”
Adeyemo is grateful to Project AgGrad and the Minnesota Conference for making it possible for him to pursue a degree and, in turn, benefit the people of Nigeria.
“I don't think I would have had this great opportunity without Project AgGrad—not just because I am being mentored by some of the best professors in my field, but also because it gave me a platform to think and explore ideas that can help improve food production and earning potential of farmers in Nigeria,” he said. “I am grateful to everyone for their contributions to keep this project alive. Thanks for empowering us to feed our nations.”
Project AgGrad’s six graduates have collectively taught more than 500 graduate students, more than 5,000 undergraduate students, and 25 Ph.D. or master of science students. They have directly influenced more than 2,000 farmers in their home countries. Additionally, they have led or participated in 32 outreach projects, including the development of farm plans, business plans, and land use plans; water quality and sanitation assessments; and farmer training and development.
Many congregations in the conference support Project AgGrad through financial contributions. The cost of the fellowship for students supported through the program is approximately $35,000 per year—so contributions are always needed.
Learn more about Project AgGrad by visiting the website. Or, for information about the program, contact Eric Forsberg. Contributions to the program can be sent to the Minnesota Conference office (122 W. Franklin Ave, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55404) with “Project AgGrad 7005” written in the memo line.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church