By: Christa Meland
With the support of Project AgGrad, Emmanuel Adeyemo recently completed his graduate studies and earned a Ph.D. in applied plant sciences, with a specialization in plant breeding and molecular genetics.
Adeyemo, who came to the Twin Cities from Nigeria in 2016, is the eighth student that Project AgGrad has supported since its inception. Now in its 35th year, Project AgGrad is a mission program of the Minnesota Conference that 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.
After his graduation, Adeyemo moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where he’s been working on sorghum breeding as a researcher for agricultural company Corteva and with graduate students from Kansas State University.
He will soon complete his post-doctoral work and return to Nigeria, where he’ll use his education and training to help increase food production there. Specifically, he hopes to work as a scientist at a breeding organization while also using what he’s learned to improve the capacity of local farmers.
“I have a Ph.D. because of the AgGrad program and I am immensely grateful for it,” said Adeyemo. “I am thankful to the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and the numerous congregations that have supported the program over the years.”
Meanwhile, the Project AgGrad committee is in the process of searching for the next Project AgGrad student to support.
Project AgGrad’s six graduates have collectively taught more than 600 graduate students and more than 6,000 undergraduate students, and advised nearly 100 Ph.D. or master of science students. They have directly influenced more than 1,000 farmers in their home countries and organized more than 100 workshops.
Many congregations in the conference support Project AgGrad through financial contributions. The cost of the fellowship for students supported through the program is approximately $50,000 per year—so contributions are always needed.
Learn more about Project AgGrad by watching this video or visiting the website. Contributions to the program can be sent to the Minnesota Conference office (122 W. Franklin Ave, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55404) with “Project AgGrad” written in the memo line.
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church