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Rattan Lal
Born5 September 1944 (76 age)
Karyal, West Punjab, British India (now Pakistan)
Known forsustainable soil management for global food security and mitigation of climate change
AwardsJapan Prize (2019), The World Food Prize (2020)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Sydney, Australia 1968-69; International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria, 1969-87; The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA 1987-2010.

Rattan Lal (born 5 September 1944) is a soil scientist. His work focuses on regenerative agriculture through which soil can help resolve global issues such as climate change, food security and water quality.[1]

He was awarded the 2019 Japan Prize 'for the sustainable soil management for global food security and mitigation of climate change.'

On June 11, 2020, Professor Lal was named the recipient of the prestigious World Food Prize-2020. His research diverged from the conventional 1970s soil fertility strategy of heavy reliance on commercial fertilizers. His research led a better understanding of how no-till farming, cover crops, crop residues, mulching, and agroforestry can restore degraded soils, increasing organic matter by sequestering atmospheric carbon in the soil, and help combat rising carbon dioxide levels in the air.[2]


Lal received his B.S. from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; M.S. from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University.[3]

Career and research

Lal worked as a senior research fellow with the University of Sydney from 1968 to 1969, and then as a soil physicist at IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria, from 1970 to 1987. In 1987 he returned to Ohio State University, where as of 2019 he was a distinguished university professor of soil science and director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center.[4]

He was president of the International Union of Soil Science from 2017 to 2018.[5]

Awards and honors


  1. ^ "Professor Rattan Lal honoured with Glinka World Soil Prize 2018". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  2. ^ Pitt, David (11 June 2020). "Ohio State University soil professor gets World Food Prize". Tulsa World. Archived from the original on 13 June 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Prof. Rattan Lal". National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (India). Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Rattan Lal". Ohio State University.
  5. ^ "IUSS - The International Union of Soil Sciences Past officers". IUSS - The International Union of Soil Sciences. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  6. ^ DeMartini, Alayna (October 5, 2020). "Ohio State soil scientist honored for increasing global food production". Ohio State University.
  7. ^ Bhavani, Divya Kala (9 February 2021). "Meet Prof Rattan Lal, the godfather of Soil Science, and a Padma Shri 2021 awardee". The Hindu.
  8. ^ "IUSS - The International Union of Soil Sciences - Von Liebig award 2006". IUSS - The International Union of Soil Sciences. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Glinka 2018". FAO, United Nations. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  10. ^ a b Charles, Dan (August 11, 2020). "A Prophet Of Soil Gets His Moment Of Fame". NPR Goats and Soda. Retrieved October 5, 2020.