KB Paul: NCR-SARE Hero

Coordinated by the NCR-SARE Alumni Organization, the term “NCR-SARE Hero” recognizes the leadership, vision, contributions, and impact that individuals have made in the field of sustainable agriculture in the region. 

Kamalendu (KB) Paul is Lincoln University’s longest-serving faculty member, with a career that spanned more than 42 years. Paul’s academic training in biology and agriculture commenced with undergraduate studies in India. He then received a master's degree in plant and soil science from Tuskegee University in Alabama and a doctorate in biology from the University of Ottawa in Canada.

In 1975, Paul started his career at Lincoln University, a historically black, 1890 land-grant university in Jefferson City, Missouri. He started as an assistant professor of agricultural sciences. His research projects focused on foliar fertilization of soybeans and no-till vegetable production.

In the mid-1980s, Paul refocused his work in Africa in various agriculture and natural resources roles; he worked in 14 countries over a period of 13 years. He was a farming systems agronomist in the Rwandan highlands for four years. Then he joined the Regional Economic Development Services Office (REDSO) as the Regional Agriculture and Natural Resources Advisor for the entire Eastern and Southern regions of Africa. REDSO is part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an arm of the U.S. State Department that provides economic and developmental assistance to developing countries worldwide. Next, he moved to the Republic of Guinea and managed the largest USAID-funded Natural Resource Management Project in West Africa. He returned to LU at the end of 1994, but just as he unpacked his baggage, he learned that a proposal that Lincoln University had submitted to USAID in partnership with Utah State University had been approved for funding. The objectives of this project were to improve the infrastructure and the financial sustainability of the Makerere University Biological Field Station located in the Kibale National Park in West-Central Uganda. Since Paul was listed in the proposal as the project manager, he returned to Africa. He lived and worked in this tropical rainforest for three years and successfully completed all the project objectives and more.

After Paul returned to Lincoln University in 1998, he served as a professor of agriculture and environmental sciences and a state extension specialist with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE). During his tenure at Lincoln University, he mentored many students and emerging ag professionals. He taught agricultural courses and led the Missouri Small Farm Family Program, which ended in 2005. Under Paul's leadership, LUCE launched the Innovative Small Farmers Outreach Program (ISFOP) in 2008, where he served until his retirement in 2017.

He was a co-principal investigator for the Missouri AgrAbility project, which helps farmers with disabilities and their families succeed. For 10 years, he served as a SARE state co-coordinator in Missouri from 2007-2017. He was a familiar face representing SARE at events. He encouraged potential grantees and reviewed many grant proposals. As a retired professor, Paul still works part-time and provides assistance and guidance to all ISFOP staff to accomplish successfully meet the program's objective, which is to help the small farmers and ranchers of Missouri, especially those who are socially disadvantaged and underserved.

Leaders in sustainable agriculture offered tributes as Paul was nominated and selected to receive this recognition, including:

  • Dr. Paul is a tireless advocate for sustainable farming and SARE. When we hosted farmer meetings and workshops, he never failed to plug SARE and talk about the importance of the three pillars of sustainable agriculture. During his ten years as the co-coordinator for Missouri SARE, he helped inspire many Missouri producers to apply for NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grants. He believes in sustainable agriculture and helped farmers understand the value of implementing sustainable agriculture practices on their own operations. - Katie Nixon, Food Systems Director for New Growth and past NCR-SARE Administrative Council Chair
  • Dr. Paul’s dedication to sustainable agriculture and Missouri farmers is truly outstanding. At every meeting and training, K. B. was a part of – and there were many - he started each event by telling educators and farmers about sustainable agriculture, SARE, and the grants and other resources available through SARE. As Program Director of Lincoln University’s Innovative Small Farmers’ Outreach Program (ISFOP), he tried to help as many farmers as possible to apply for NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grants. He encouraged the ISFOP staff to provide hands-on workshops and trainings on writing Farmer Rancher grants with great success, often resulting in more grant applications received and funded from Missouri than any other state in our region. His willingness to work with others in his role as a co-coordinator of the Missouri Sustainable Agriculture Program (MO-SARE) provided a model for all states to follow, always focusing on the needs of farmers and his staff. It was a privilege to work with Dr. Paul. - Joan Benjamin, NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program Coordinator and Associate Regional Coordinator