IESC Announces Frank Pace Award Winner – Gary Ruegsegger

Volunteers have been a critical part of IESC’s mission since 1964. Every year, IESC recognizes individuals whose dedication and service have truly made an impact on the lives and livelihoods of people around the world. The Frank Pace Award, named for one of IESC’s founders, is awarded each year to the volunteer expert who performed the most outstanding project in the previous year.

Gary Ruegsegger, second from the right, teaching new techniques to Sri Lankan dairy farmers

Gary Ruegsegger, second from the right, teaching new techniques to Sri Lankan dairy farmers

For 2019, IESC recognized Gary Ruegsegger for his volunteer work on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sri Lanka Market-Oriented Dairy (MOD) project as a Dairy Farm Management Volunteer Expert. Gary completed a two-month assignment in Sri Lanka where he provided technical assistance and training to two large dairy farms in order to increase their milk production and improve both milk quality and farmer productivity. During his assignment, he assessed the management of the farms and provided hands-on training on farm management and productivity efficiencies. The impact of Gary’s efforts was observed well beyond the length of his assignment in Sri Lanka. His assistance resulted in rapid improvements in both farm management and productivity, with both farms successfully increasing their milk production and quality and resulting in their obtaining a higher price for their milk. Gary’s tremendous contributions to the development of large dairy farms also had a wider national impact. His interventions began at a time when Sri Lanka’s imported cattle farms were facing severe stress due to the challenges associated with imported breeds and insufficient capacity in country to manage these herds, with many farmers giving up dairying altogether. He demonstrated that proper nutrition and management can not only revive the health and productivity of these animals, but that implementing best practices can help turnaround other large farms, which will be critical for Sri Lanka to become self-sufficient in dairy.

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