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See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.


Andrew McDonald is an associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, Soil and Crop Sciences Section. His focus is on cropping systems ecology and sustainable agricultural development. McDonald’s current research projects include building a soil intelligence system for India and promoting cropping systems through the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and improving soil health in India with the Environmental Defense Fund and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Previous position

I was the principal scientist and regional team leader for sustainable intensification, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), 2010-18.

Academic background

B.S., rural sociology, Cornell University, 1994; M.Sc., crop and soil sciences, Cornell University, 1998; Ph.D., crop and soil sciences, Cornell University, 2003

Last books read

Last week’s issue of the New Yorker

What you do when you’re not working 

When I'm not working, I enjoy biking, exploring the woods of upstate New York and do-it-yourself home improvement.

Things that get you out of bed in the morning

Helping best position Cornell to contribute to the immense challenge of achieving sustainable agricultural development, food security and improved rural livelihoods in the Global South

Three adjectives people might use to describe you

Team-oriented, constructively argumentative, rationally optimistic

Course you’re most looking forward to teaching

Resolving development dilemmas for sustainable agricultural intensification (currently under development)

Major problem in your field you would want to solve (with unlimited grant funding)

Scalable and evidence-driven decision frameworks that support transitions to resilient and productive agricultural systems in the Global South

Things that most excite you about Cornell CALS

I am most excited about the diversity of the faculty and the focus on interdisciplinary research.

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