Norman Thomas


Professor Emeritus
151 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, New York
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs


Norman Uphoff joined the Cornell University faculty in 1970 after completing his PhD in political science and development administration at the University of California, Berkeley; previously he completed an MPA degree at Princeton University, and a BA at the University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching in the Department of Government, he chaired the multidisciplinary Cornell Rural Development Committee based in Cornell's Center for International Studies from 1971 until 1990.

In 1990, Uphoff was appointed first director of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development, established to promote sustainable agricultural and rural development. His appointment was moved from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) for the next 15 years. During this time, he became increasingly involved with agroecological innovation, especially with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) developed in Madagascar and extended to other countries and crops.

In 2005, after stepping down as director of CIIFAD, Uphoff joined the core faculty of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA), continuing to teach development administration and serving as CIPA Director of Graduate Studies for four years and then Director for four years. He continues to teach, advise and do research as a CIPA core faculty member. In 2015 his work with SRI was awarded the first international Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security.


Professor Uphoff's focus of research has shifted over the past 15 years from applied social science for agricultural and rural development, during the previous 30 years, to understanding and supporting agroecological innovation for the sake of more sustainable and equitable agricultural and rural development.

Not being able to be as involved in fieldwork as previously, he collaborates with research colleagues in many disciplines and countries who are advancing knowledge for agroecological innovation, assisting in research design and data analysis and in write-up of the latter. He is often asked to join as a co-author because of his contributions, and in addition he writes and publishes many analyses, syntheses and commentaries in this hybrid domain which integrates biophysical factors with socioeconomic variables and even cultural and philosophical issues. His research output is shown in his Curriculum Vitae.

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

The System of Rice Intensification: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions, book being self-published with Amazon (2015).

Scientific underpinnings of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI): What is known so far? with A.K. Thakur and W. Stoop, Advances in Agronomy, Vol. 135 (2015)

A review of the System of Rice Intensification in China, with W. Wu, Plant and Soil, 361-381 (2015).

Improving the phenotypic expression of rice genotypes: Rethinking ‘intensification’ for production systems and selection practices for rice breeding, with I. Anas, V. Fasoula, A. Kassam, and A.K. Thakur, Crop Journal, 3: 174-189 (2015).  

A conceptual framework for ecofriendly paddy farming in Taiwan, based on experimentation with System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methodology, with Y.C. Chang and E. Yamaji, Paddy and Water Environment (2015), published on-line at DOI 10.1007/S10333-015-04589

Evaluation of System of Wheat Intensification (SWI) practices as compared to other methods of improved wheat cultivation in the north-western plain zone of India, with S. Dhar, B.C. Barah and A.K. Vyas, Archives in Agronomy and Soil Science (2015) published on-line at DOI: 10.1080/03650340.2015.1101518

arket incentives for ecofriendly SRI rice production in Cambodia, with O. Vent, C. Levine and Y.S. Koma, in Shades of Green: Multi-stakeholder Initiatives to Reduce the Environmental Footprint of Commercial Agriculture, eds. M. Sewadeh and S. Jaffe, World Bank and EcoAgriculture Partners, Washington, DC, 73-80 (2015).

Developments in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), in: Achieving Sustainable Rice Cultivation, ed. T. Sasaki, Burleigh-Dodds, Cambridge, UK, being published in 2016.

The System of Rice Intensification and its impacts on women: Reducing pain, discomfort and labor in rice farming while enhancing household food security, with O. Vent and Sabarmatee, in Women in Agriculture Worldwide, eds. A.J. Fletcher and W. Kubik, Ashgate Publications, Farnham, UK, being published in 2016.

The System of Crop Intensification: Reports from the field on improving agricultural productivity, food security, and resilience to climate change for multiple crops, with others. Agriculture and Food Security, 3:1 (2014)

SCI -- The System of Crop Intensification: Agroecological Innovations for Improving Agricultural Productivity, Food Security and Resilience to Climate Change, with others, SRI-Rice, Ithaca, NY, and Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Wageningen, Netherlands (2014).

Performance of landraces and improved varieties under the System of Rice Intensification management in Bajhang district of Nepal, with R.B. Khadka and P. Acharya, Journal of Agriculture and Environment, 15: 1-10 (2014).

Alternative paths to food security, in Handbook on Food, Politics and Society, ed. Ronald Herring, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK (2013).

An agroecological route to agricultural development, in New Life Sciences: Linking Science to Society: Proceedings of BioVision 2012, eds. I. Serageldin and M. Yahia, Biblioteca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt, 255-272 (2013).

Supporting food security in the 21st century through resource-conserving increases in agricultural production, Agriculture and Food Security, 1: 18-30 (2012).

Report on the world-record SRI yields in kharif season 2011 in Nalanda District, Bihar State, India, with M.C. Diwakar, A. Kumar and A. Verma, Agriculture Today, New Delhi, June, 52-54 (2012).

Morphological and physiological responses of rice roots and shoots to varying water regimes and microbial densities, with A. Mishra, Journal of Agronomy and Soil Sciences, 1-27 (2012).

Comment on: The System of Rice Intensification: Time for an empirical turn [Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 2011], by D. Glover, NJAS: Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 59, 53-60 (2012).

A possible next chapter in the history of rice development of India: Enhancing rice production through changes in the management of the crop growing environment, with Amod K. Thakur, in 100 Years of Rice Science and Looking Beyond, Proceedings of International Symposium at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Jan. 9-12, 2012, eds. S. R. Shree Rangaswamy et al., 356-367, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore (2012).

Comparison of water savings of paddy rice under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for growing rice in Mwea, Kenya, with J.A. Ndiiri, B.M. Mati, P.G. Home and B. Odongo, International Journal of Current Research and Review, 6:4, 63-73 (2012).

Application of System of Intensification (SRI) methods on productivity of jasmine rice variety in southern Iraq, with K.A. Hameed, F.A. Jaber, A.Y. Hadi, and J.A.H. Elewi, Jordan Journal of Agricultural Science, 7(3), 474-481 (2011).

Agroecological approaches to help ‘climate-proof’ agriculture while raising productivity in the 21st century, in Sustaining Soil Productivity in Response to Climate Change, eds. T. Sauer, J. Norman and K. Sivakumar, Wiley-Blackwell, 87-102 (2011).

The System of Rice Intensification: An alternative civil society innovation, Technology Assessment: Theory and Practice, 20:2, 45-51 (2011).

Special issue on the System of Rice Intensification, co-editor with A.H. Kassam, Paddy and Water Environment, 9:1 (2011).

SRI as a methodology for raising crop and water productivity: Productive adaptations in rice agronomy and irrigation water management, with A.H. Kassam and R. Harwood, Paddy and Water Environment, 9:1, 3-11 (2011).

A review of studies on SRI effects on beneficial organisms in rice soil rhizospheres, with I. Anas, O.P. Rupela and T.M. Thiyagarajan, Paddy and Water Environment, 9:1, 53-64 (2011).

Rice yield and its relation to root growth and nutrient-use efficiency under SRI and conventional cultivation: An evaluation in Madagascar, with J. Barison, Paddy and Water Environment, 9:1, 65-78 (2011).

Review of SRI modifications in rice crop and water management and research issues for making further improvements in agricultural and water productivity, with A.H. Kassam and W.A. Stoop, Paddy and Water Environment, 9:1, 163-180 (2011).

System of Rice Intensification: ‘Less can be more’ with climate-friendly technology, with A. Mishra, SATSA Mukhapatra, State Agricultural Technologists Service Association, West Bengal , Annual Technical Issue, Vol. 15, 28-39 (2011).

System of Rice Intensification as a resource-conserving methodology: Contributing to food security in an era of climate change, with P. Adhikari and D. Sen. SATSA Mukhapatra, State Agricultural Technologists Service Association, West Bengal, Annual Technical Issue, Vol. 14, 26-44 (2010).

Comparative performance of rice with System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and conventional management using different plant spacings, with A. K. Thakur, S. Rath and S. Roychowdhury. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Sciences, 196:146-159 (2010).

Comparisons of yield, water use efficiency, and soil microbial biomass as affected by the System of Rice Intensification, with L.M. Zhao, L.H. Wu, Y.S. Li, S. Animesh and D.F. Zhu.  Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 41:1-12 (2010).

Learning about positive plant-microbial interactions from the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), with I. Anas, O.P. Rupela, A.K. Thakur and T. M. Thiyagarajan. Aspects of Applied Biology, 98, 29-53 (2009).

An assessment of physiological effects of system of rice intensification (SRI) practices compared to recommended rice cultivated practices in India, with A.K. Thakur and E. Antony. Experimental Agriculture, 46:1-22 (2009).

Effect of plant density and nitrogen fertilizer rates on grain yield and nitrogen uptake of hybrid rice (Oryza sativa L.), with X.Q. Lin, D.F. Zhu, H.Z. Chen and S.H. Cheng, Journal of Agrobiotechnology and Sustainable Development, 1: 44-53 (2009).

Influence of the system of rice intensification on rice yields and nitrogen and water use efficiency with different application rates, with L.M. Limei., L.H. Wu, Y.S. Li, X.H. Lu and D.F. Zhu. Experimental Agriculture, 45: 275-286 (2009).

Case Study: System of Rice Intensification, with A.H. Kassam, in Agricultural Technologies for Developing Countries, Final Report, Annex 3. European Parliament, Brussels (2009).

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as a System of Agricultural Innovation. In: Farmer First Revisited: Innovation for Agricultural Research and Development, I. Scoones and J. Thompson, eds., 73-81. Practical Action Publishing, London (2009).

Increasing water saving while raising rice yields with the System of Rice Intensification. In: P.K. Aggrawal, J.K. Ladha, R.K. Singh, C. Devakumar and B. Hardy, eds., Science, Technology and Trade for Peace and Prosperity: Proceedings of the 26th International Rice Congress, 9-12 October, 2006, New Delhi. International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Indian Council for Agricultural Research, and Macmillan, New Delhi, 353-365 (2008).

Reducing the vulnerability of rural households through agroecological practice: Considering the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), Mondes en Développement, 35:4, 85-100 (2007).

Agroecological alternatives: Capitalizing on genetic potentials, Journal of Development Studies, 43, 288-236 (2007); in Transgenics and the Poor: Biotechnology in Development Studies, Routledge, Oxford, UK (2007).

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI): An efficient, economical and ecologically-friendly way to increase productivity. PANAP Rice Sheets, Pesticide Action Network for Asia and the Pacific, November (2007) (

A review of on-farm evaluation of system of rice intensification (SRI) methods in eastern Indonesia.  CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 2. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International, Wallingford, UK (2007).

An opportunity to enhance both food and water security with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), in: Food and Water Security, ed. U. Aswathanarayana, Taylor and Francis, London, 117-130 (2007).

Results of disseminating the System of Rice Intensification with farmer field school methods in Northern Myanmar, with H. Kabir, Experimental Agriculture, 43:3, 463-476 (2007).

Making farmer-managed irrigation systems more productive and profitable with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), in: Irrigation in Transition, eds. P. Pradhan et al., Farmer-Managed Irrigation Systems Promotion Trust, Kathmandu (2007).

The System of Rice Intensification: Using alternative cultural practices to increase rice production and profitability from existing yield potentials.  International Rice Commission Newsletter, Number 55, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome (2007).

The System of Rice Intensification and its implications for agriculture. LEISA: Magazine on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture, 22:4 (2007).

Effects of repeated soil wetting and drying on lowland rice yield with System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methods, with Mustapha Ceesay, William S. Reid and Erick C. M. Fernandes, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 4:1, 5-14 (2006).

The System of Rice Intensification and its implications for agriculture. LEISA: Magazine for Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture, 22:4 (2006).

Origin and development of SRI, with Zhu D.F., in: The Theory and Practice of SRI (in Chinese),  eds. Zhu D.F., Lin X.Q., Jin X.Y. Xiong H. and Chen H.Z., Chinese Publishing Company of Science and Technology, Beijing (2006).

Prospects for rice sector improvement with the System of Rice Intensification, considering evidence from India, with A. Satyanarayana and T.M. Thiyagarajan, in: Rice Industry, Culture and Environment, Vol. I, eds. S. Suparyono, A.M. Fagi and M.O. Adnyana, Indonesian Center for Rice Research, Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development, and International Rice Research Institute, Bogor, Indonesia, 131-142 (2006).

Opportunities for saving water with higher yield from the System of Rice Intensification, with A. Satyanarayana and T.M. Thiyagarajan, Irrigation Science, 38:1, 99-115 (2006).

Soil biological contributions to the System of Rice Intensification, with R. Randriamiharisoa and J. Barison, in: Biological Approaches to Sustainable Soil Systems, eds. N. Uphoff et al., 409-424. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2006).

The development of the System of Rice Intensification, in: Participatory Research and Development for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, eds. J. Gonsalves et al., CIP-UPWARD and International Development Research Centre, Ottawa (2005). 

A remarkable civil society contribution to food and nutrition security in Madagascar and beyond, with Glenn Lines, in: Food and Nutritional Security in the Process of Globalization and Urbanization, eds. U. Kracht and M. Schulz, Lit-Publisher, Münster, Germany (2005).

Agroecological thoughts on zero-tillage: Possibilities for improving both crop components of rice-wheat farming systems with rice intensification, in: Sustainable Agriculture and the International Rice-Wheat System, eds. R. Lal, P. Hobbs, N. Uphoff and D. O. Hansen, Marcel Dekker, New York (2004). 

Possible explanations for the productivity gains achieved with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), in: Transitions in Agriculture for Enhancing Water Productivity: Proceedings of an international symposium, 23-25 September, 2003, Killikulam, India, eds. T. M. Thiyagarajan,  H. Hengsdijk and P. Bindraban, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, and Plant Research International, Wageningen, Netherlands (2004).

System of Rice Intensification responds to 21st century needs, Rice Today, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, 3:3 (2004).

Higher yields with fewer external inputs? The System of Rice Intensification and potential contributions to agricultural sustainability, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 1:1, 38-50 (2003).

Research issues raised for the agricultural sciences by the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) from Madagascar: Opportunities for improving farming systems for resource-limited farmers, with W. Stoop and A.H. Kassam, Agricultural Systems, 71:1 (2002). 

Assessments of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI):Proceedings of international conference on the System of  Rice Intensification, Sanya, China, April 1-4, 2002, co-editor with E.C. Fernandes, L.P. Yuan, J.M. Peng, S. Rafaralahy and J. Rabenandrasana, CIIFAD, Ithaca, NY (2002) (

Factorial trials evaluating the separate and combined effects of SRI practices, with R. Randriamiharisoa, in: Assessments of the System of Rice Intensification, eds. N. Uphoff et al., CIIFAD, Ithaca, NY, 41-47 (2002). 

Opportunities for raising yields by changing management practices: The System of Rice Intensification in Madagascar, in: Agroecological Innovations: Increasing Food Production with Participatory Development, ed. N. Uphoff, 146-161. Earthscan, London (2002).

System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for enhancing the productivity of land, labour and water, Journal of Agricultural Resource Management, 1:3 (2002).

Possibilities for reducing water use in irrigated rice production through the Madagascar System of Rice Intensification (SRI), with R. Randriamiharisoa, 71-88, in: Water-Wise Rice Production, eds. B.A. Bouman et al., International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños (2002).

Farmer implementation of alternative wet-dry and non-flooded irrigation practices in the System of Rice Intensification, with O.V. McHugh, T.S. Steenhuis and E.C.M. Fernandes, 89-102, in: Water-Wise Rice Production, eds. B.A. Bouman et al., International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños (2002).

Scientific issues raised by the System of Rice Intensification: A less-water rice cultivation system, in: Water-Saving Rice Production Systems: Proceedings of an International Workshop at Nanjing Agricultural University, China, April 2-4, 2001, eds. H. Hengsdijk and P. Bindraban, Report 33, Plant Research International B.V., Wageningen, Netherlands (2001).

SRI, the System of Rice Intensification: Less can be more, with D. Berkelaar, ECHO Development Notes, 70, 1-6 (2001).

The System of Rice Intensification: Agroecological opportunities for small farmers? LEISA Magazine, 17:4, 15-16 (2000).

Agroecological implications of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Madagascar, Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1(3-4), 297-313 (1999).

 Agroecology, Ecoagriculture, and Sustainable Agriculture

Soil fertility as a contingent rather than inherent characteristic: Considering the contributions of crop-symbiotic soil biota, with F. Chi, F.B. Dazzo and R.J. Rodriguez, in Principles of Sustainable Soil Management in Agroecosystems, eds. R. Lal and B. Stewart. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor&Francis (2013).

Ecoagriculture, with J. Thies. Encyclopedia of Soil Science, Taylor and Francis, London (2010).

Scientific assessment of ecoagriculture systems, with L. E. Buck, T. A. Gavin and D. R. Lee, in: eds. S. J. Scherr and J. A. McNeely, Farming with Nature: The Art and Science of Ecoagriculture. Island Press, Washington, DC (2007).


Biological Approaches to Sustainable Soil Systems, managing editor, with editorial team of A. S. Ball, E. C. M. Fernandes, H. Herren, O. Husson, M. Laing, C. Palm, J. Pretty, P. A. Sanchez, N. Sanginga and J. Thies, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2006).


Opportunities for overcoming productivity constraints with biologically-based approaches; Understanding the functioning and management of soil systems, with others; and Issues for more sustainable soil system management, with others, in: Biological Strategies for Sustainable Soil Systems, eds. N. Uphoff et al., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2006).

Agroecologically-sound agricultural systems: Can they provide for the world’s growing populations? Deutscher Tropentag 2005, keynote, University of Hohenheim, Hohenheim, Germany (2005). (

Sustainable Agriculture and the International Rice-Wheat System, co-editor with R. Lal, P. Hobbs and D. Hansen, Marcel Dekker, New York (2004).

Agroecological thoughts on zero-tillage: Possibilities for improving both crop components of rice-wheat farming systems with rice intensification, in: Sustainable Agriculture and International Rice-Wheat System, eds. R. Lal, P. Hobbs, N. Uphoff and D. O. Hansen, Marcel Dekker, New York (2004).

Ecoagriculture: A Review and Assessment of its Scientific Foundations, with L. E. Buck, T. A. Gavin and D. R. Lee, and D. C. Behr, L. E. Drinkwater, W. D. Hively and F. R. Werner. Ecoagriculture Discussion Paper No. 1. Ecoagriculture Partners, Washington, DC (2004).


Agroecological Innovations: Increasing Food Production with Participatory Development, editor, Earthscan, London (2002).


The agricultural development challenges we face; Rethinking agriculture for new opportunities, with E. Fernandes and A. Pell; Human dimensions of agroecological development, with J. Pretty; and A more productive synthesis for agriculture, in: Agroecological Innovations: Increasing Food Production with Participatory Development, ed. N. Uphoff, Earthscan (2002).


Expanding opportunities with agroecological approaches, Environment and Development Economics, 6:4 (2001).


Soil health: Linking research and action for more regenerative agriculture, with S. Sherwood, Applied Soil Ecology, Summer (2000).


Sustainable agriculture, in: The Global Environment: Securing a Sustainable Future, eds. P. ReVelle and C. ReVelle, Jones and Bartlett (1992).


Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Development


Systems thinking on intensification and sustainability: Systems boundaries, processes and dimensions. Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability, 8: 89-100 (2014).


Foreword to Biological Diversity: Balancing Interests through Adaptive Collaborative Management, eds. L. E. Buck, C. C. Geisler, J. Schelhas and L. Wollenberg, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2001).


Balancing development and environmental goals through participatory and community-based natural resource management, in: Agricultural Intensification, Economic Development, and the Environment, eds. D. R. Lee and C. B. Barrett, CAB International, Wallingford, UK (2000).


Assessing social factors in sustainable land-use management: Social capital and common land development in Rajasthan, India, with A. Krishna, in: Economic Policy and Sustainable Land Use, eds. N. Heerink, H. van Keulen and M. Kiuper, Physica Verlag, New York and Heidelberg (2000) .


Incentives for avoiding the ‘tragedy of the commons,’ with J. Langholz, Environmental Conservation, 25:3 (1998).


Community-based natural resource management: Connecting micro and macro processes, and people with their environments, Keynote for international workshop on Community-Based Natural Resource Management, Economic Development Institute, World Bank, Washington (1998). (http://www.cbnrm. net/pdf/uphoff_001.pdf)


Developing institutional capabilities for environmental leadership, with R, Barker, in: Educating New Environmental Leadership in Asia, eds. K. Hemmi and J.C. Cool, Morrilton, AR: Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development (1995).


Sustainable Development and Biodiversity: Complementarities and Conflicts, co-editor of proceedings of international symposium at Cornell University, September 1991, CIIFAD, Ithaca, NY (1992).


Food Security, Poverty and Environmental Issues


Climate Change and Global Food Security, co-editor with R. Lal, B. A. Stewart and D. Hansen, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2005).


Bridging qualitative-quantitative differences in poverty appraisal: Self-critical thoughts on qualitative approaches, in: Q-Squared: Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Poverty Appraisal, ed. R. Kanbur, Permanent Black Publishers, Delhi (2002).


Food Security and Environmental Quality, co-editor with R. Lal, D. Hansen and S. Slack, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2002).


Poverty and inequality: A life chances perspective; and Reconciling food security with environmental quality in the 21st Century, in: Food Security and Environmental Quality in Developing Countries, co-editor with R. Lal, D. Hansen and S. Slack, Lewis Publishers (2002).


Irrigation Management


Toward new and sustainable models of organisation for better irrigation management, in: Participatory Irrigation Management: Paradigm for the 21st Century, eds. L. K. Joshi and R. Hooja, Rawat Publications, New Delhi (2000). 


Learning from Gal Oya: Reflections on participatory management, In: Gal Oya Development Scheme, Golden Jubilee, 1949-1999, Committee for the Gal Oya Golden Jubilee, Irrigation Department, Colombo (1999).


Understanding the world as a heterogeneous whole: Insights into systems from work on irrigation, Systems Research, 13:1 (1996).


Learning from Gal Oya: Possibilities for Participatory Development and Post-Newtonian Social Science, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY (1992); paperback edition with new introduction, Intermediate Technology Publications, London (1996).


Managing Irrigation: Analyzing and Improving the Performance of Bureaucracies, with P. Ramamurthy and R. Steiner, Sage Publications, New Delhi (1991).


'Optimal' participation in irrigation management: Issues and evidence from Sri Lanka, with M. L. Wickramasinghe and C. M. Wijayaratna, Human Organization, 49:1 (1990).


Gal Oya, Sri Lanka: A case study in possibilities for improvement in water management; and Farmer participation and organization, in: Irrigation System Management: An Interdisciplinary Synthesis of Water Management Studies, eds. J. Keller et al., WMSP II, Utah State University, Logan, UT (1988).       


Improving International Irrigation Management with Farmer Participation: Getting the Process Right, Westview Press, Boulder, CO (1986).


Operation and maintenance in Asian irrigation: Reappraising government and farmer responsibilities, with E. W. Coward, Jr., Irrigation and Drainage Systems, 1:1 (1986).


Improving Policies and Programs for Farmer Organization and Participation in Irrigation Management, with R. Meinzen-Dick and N. St. Julien, Water Management Synthesis Project Paper No. 1, Irrigation Studies Group, Cornell University (1985).


Community response to irrigation, with P. K. Bardhan, WAMANA: Water Management News, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (1984).


Productivity and equity in Gal Oya: A Sri Lankan irrigation system, with others, in: Productivity and Equity in Irrigation Systems, ed. N. Pant, Ashish Press, New Delhi (1984).


Contrasting approaches to water management development in Sri Lanka, Third World Legal Studies 1982, International Center for Law in Development, New York (1982).


Development Strategy and Policy


Foreword to Learning from the Field: Innovating China’s Higher Education System, eds. R. Vernooy, Li X-Y., Xu X-L., Lu M. and Qu G-B., Foundation Books/IDRC, Ottawa (2008).


The integration of rural development research and community service, Acta Academica, 37:2 (2005).


A double reorientation to improve nutrition and health: Linking the agricultural and medical sciences with a food-systems perspective, in: Improving Health and Economic Development: Approaches to Preventing Diet-Related Rickets: Proceedings, Dhaka, November 25, 2000, ed. G. F. Combs, ed., CIIFAD (2001).


Chinese research and extension linkages: A farmer-centered approach, with Li X.Y. (in Chinese), in special issue on Science & Technology Policy, Hebei Agricultural University Journal, China (2000).


Rural development strategy for Indonesian recovery: Reconciling contradictions and tensions, in: Indonesia's Economic Crisis: Effects on Agriculture and Policy Responses, eds. P. Simatupang et al., Centre for International Economic Studies, University of Adelaide (1999).


Foreword to Indigenous Organizations and Development, eds. D. M. Warren and P. Blount, Intermediate Technology Publications, London (1996).


Food-Based Approaches to Preventing Micronutrient Malnutrition - An International Research Agenda: Proceedings of an International Symposium, Salt Lake City, November, 1995, co-editor, CIIFAD, Ithaca, NY (1996).


Poverty Alleviation with Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development in Indonesia: Proceedings of National Seminar and Workshops, co-editor, Centre for Agro-Socioeconomic Research, Bogor, and CIIFAD, Ithaca, NY (1992).


A Field Training Guide for Group Enterprise Management, with P. Norton, People’s Participation Programme, FAO, Rome (1990).




Professor Uphoff has been involved in a wide range of professional activities over the past 45 years, across many disciplines, problems and organizations, as seen from the listing below from his CV. His current activities focus on sustainable development, agroecological innovaton, and civil society initiatives and improvement.

Agronomy Society of America/Crop Science Society of America/Soil Science Society of America: joint symposium with World Bank on sustainable agriculture, presentation on SRI, Baltimore, 1998.

American Agricultural Economics Association: international conference on agricultural intensification, economic development, and the environment, paper on participation, Salt Lake City, 1998.

American Friends Service Committee: International Affairs Division Executive Committee, 1971-1974.

American Phytopathological Society/Entomological Society of America: joint conference on soil health, Las Vegas, 1998.

American Political Science Association: panel chairman at annual meeting, Washington, 1984; discussant, Washington, 1988; paper, San Francisco, 1990; panel chair, San Francisco, 1996, Boston, 2002.

American Society for Public Administration: papers presented at annual meeting, Bloomington, 1985, Boston, 1987.

Asian Centre of Innovation for Sustainable Agricultural Intensification, Board of Governors, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, 2013-

Association of Asian Studies: panel discussant, 1976; panel chair at annual meeting, Chicago, 1990.

Association for International Agricultural and Rural Development: panel presentation at 30th annual meeting, Washington, 1994; Action Plan Committee, 1994-95; session chair and facilitator, 1995.

Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development (now Higher Education for Development, HED): Advisory Council, Washington, 1998-2006.

Center for International Exchange of Scholars: reviewer of applications for South Asia fellowships for Fulbright Advisory Committee, 1989-1992.

Committee on Agricultural Sustainability in Developing Countries, Washington: Advisor, 1993-2000.

Council of Directors of National Resource Centers: Executive Committee, 1990-1991.

Institute for Development Research, Boston, MA: International Advisory Committee, 1992-1998.

Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, UK: conference on Planning Models for Income Distribution and Employment, Bellagio, Italy, 1976.

International Center for Self-Governance, Board of Overseers, San Francisco, 1994-1997.

National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration: workshop on Social Development Management, Washington, 1982.

National Center for Food and Agriculture Policy: working group on Intl. Development and Trade, 1996-97.

Overseas Development Council, Washington, DC: Program Committee, 1983-1993.

Pugwash Conference: resource persons for panel on international development cooperation, 39th international meeting, Lahti, Finland, 1996.

Society for International Development: panels at 13th World Conference, San Jose, Costa Rica, 1972; 14th World Conference, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 1974; presentations to Sri Lanka chapter, Colombo, 1979, and Zimbabwe chapter, Harare, 1982.

Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE): paper presented at 6th intl. meetings in Paris, 1994; member of program committee, panel organizer and panel chair at 8th intl. meetings, Geneva, 1996.

Southeast Asia Development Advisory Group (SEADAG): chair, Development Administration Panel, 1972-1974; conferences on Asian Urban Development, Manila, 1972; Factors of Administrative Productivity, 1974; Administration of Labor-Intensive Development, Singapore, 1974; Future Philippine Development Needs and Alternative US Responses, Belmont, MD, 1975.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID):  member, Research Advisory Committee, 1982-1989; external advisory committee, New Partnerships Initiative, 1995; Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Assistance, roundtable on civil society, 1998.

U.S. Social Science Research Council, New York:  member, South Asia Committee, 1979-1985; conferences on Development of African Bureaucracies, Belmont, MD, 1974; Community Response to Irrigation, Bangalore, India, 1974; Symbolic and Material Dimensions of Agrarian Change in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura, 1974.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Asia Program Peer Review Panel, 1989-1995.

World Bank, Washington, DC: workshop on Evaluating Human Resource Development, 1980; conference on Agricultural Sector Management, 1981; conference on Institutional Development and the World Bank, 1989; workshop on Popular Participation, 1992; annual conference on Rural Development, 1996; keynote for national conference on Participatory Irrigation Management, New Delhi, 1997; workshop on Local Organizational Capacity, 1997; workshop on Social Capital, 1997; conference on Community-Based Natural Resource Management, 1998; workshop on Measuring Empowerment of the Poor, 2002; World Bank Institute seminar on 'climate-smart agriculture,' 2012.

World Resources Institute, Washington: policy consultative group meeting, 1992; water resource management consultation, 1995.


As Senior Advisor to the SRI International Network and Resources Center (SRI-Rice), based in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Office of International Programs, Prof. Uphoff spends about half of his time interacting via email with a large network of collaborators that he and his SRI colleagues have built up over the last 15 years.

Their shared interest is to advance the knowledge and practice of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) principles to improve crop yields, water and other resource productivity, profitability, and resilience to climate-change constraints and hazards. SRI ideas and methods are now being extrapolated successfully to many other crops, including wheat, millet, maize, sugarcane, mustard, tef, many legumes and some vegetables.

Prof. Uphoff publishes widely on this and related agroecological subjects, as seen under Publications, to improve the adequacy and sustainability of food production, particularly in developing countries where food security and nutrition are most often insufficient, but discussions and adaptations are now starting in the U.S. as well. The SRI-Rice website ( has been a leading medium for public engagement and outreach.

Professor Uphoff teaches an interdisciplinary graduate course on the Planning and Management of Agricultural and Rural Development in the spring semester (PADM 5655, cross listed as IARD 5655). He continues to advise many MPA Fellows and some MPA students in international development, plus occasional PhD students in various fields.

 PADM 5655 (cross-listed as IARD 5655)

The Planning and Management of Agricultural and Rural Development (4 credits), spring semester


B.A., University of Minnesota, 1963

M.P.A., Princeton University, 1966

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1970


 Information on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and its derived System of Crop Intensification (SCI) to raise productivity for many other crops, which is the main focus of Prof. Uphoff's research and outreach work at present, is available at: