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USDA Cochran Fellowship

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About the Cochran Fellowship

About the Cochran Fellowship Program

The Cochran Fellowship Program provides short-term training opportunities to agricultural professionals from middle-income countries, emerging markets, and emerging democracies. The primary goals of the Cochran Fellowship Program are to aid in developing agricultural systems in the fellows’ home countries and to strengthen and enhance agriculture trade linkages. Fellows typically visit the U.S. for about 2-3 weeks and work at higher education institutions, government agencies, and private companies. You can learn more about the Cochran Fellowship Program on the USDA’s website.

VIPP plays various roles in these competitive programs, and assists MSU professors who are interested in developing a Cochran Fellowship Program and hosting Cochran fellows.  VIPP provides program development, serves as departmental liaison, and assists with proposal and budget development, as well as program delivery and logistical support.

If you are an MSU faculty member interested in developing a Cochran Fellowship Program and want to learn more about how VIPP can provide support, contact vipp(at)

2022 Cochran Fellowship

2022 Cochran Fellowship

U.S. Healthy Food Ingredients for Thailand

VIPP worked with Dr. Won Song, Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition in the MSU College of Natural Resources to host seven food industry executives from Thailand for an intensive training program to improve their understanding of healthy food, food ingredients, the food and beverage industries, and innovative food processing technology so that they can develop new food/beverage products in Thailand. Learn more about the fellows' experiences in the program:

Las Vegas SupplySide West Expo

The U.S. Healthy Food Ingredients for Thailand program started in Las Vegas at the SupplySide West Expo, and was an exciting opportunity for the fellows to connect with the U.S. and international food industry.


MSU Experiences

The fellows visited a variety of MSU food processing facilities, as well as MSU's allergen-free dining hall for faculty and staff (the first of its kind in the U.S.), as well as packaging labs and facilities.


Fellow Program Presentations


Kanokon Jiemjitt

Senior Business Division Manager at the Special Tech Corporation Co

Program Presentation (PDF)

Ms. Kanokon Jiemjitt, a Senior Business Division Manager at the Special Tech Corporation Co. Ltd., (STC), is responsible for new product development and sourcing as well as application laboratory for STC’s sweet, savory, and nutraceutical industry. Kanokon was particulary excited about the supermarket visits to Seafood City Market, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Whole Foods Market, and Fresh Theme Market. “I learned a lot about U.S. (healthy food) market trend which can be applied in Thailand to ensure product competitiveness. Some successful stories I learned in the U.S on healthy food from production to launch is truly inspiring.” Sensory testing method, application laboratory equipment settings, and impacts of food packaging were a few highlights of Kanokon’s learning in MSU. She took advantage of the SupplySide West Expo to meet with her existing suppliers, connect with new customers, learn new innovative products and ingredients at the product zone, and network with CEOs to share product development experiences. 

Pitchamon pic.pngPitchamon Kohsakjarukhul

KCG Corporation Co. Ltd.’s Overseas Procurement Manager

Program Presentation (PDF)

Ms. Pitchamon Kohsakjarukhul is KCG Corporation Co. Ltd.’s overseas procurement manager. During the fellowship, she enjoyed learning about U.S. food innovation with regards to raw materials especially dairy and confectionery products. “This program provides me a great opportunity to learn the latest healthy food trends and connect with new suppliers in the U.S.”



Prakhan Bai-Ngam

General Manager of Foodtech Products (Thailand) Co. Ltd.

Program Presentation (PDF)

Mr. Prakhan Bai-ngam, General Manager of Foodtech Products Thailand Co., Ltd. was trained as a food scientist in Thailand and has been leading Foodtech’s lactose cheese development and trading in the last a few years. He was excited about a number of possibilities the Cochran program opened up for him. “I would like to work on a fresh whey drink project following my visit to the U.S. especially my conversations with MSU Product Center and the Dairy Processing Center.” Prakhan was also inspired to explore new cheese products for the aging population in Asia after attending the SupplySide Network West Expo seminar on Personalized Nutrition and the Quest for Healthy Aging. Finally, Prakhan is keen to engage a potential dairy ingredient supplier from the U.S. as a second source for his company, which currently relies on Australian and New Zealand products solely.


MicrosoftTeams-image (57).pngCharuphan Lertchaikittipaisarn

Technical Sales, INNO FO-ED Co., Ltd.

Program Presentation (PDF)

Ms. Charuphan Lertchaikittipasiarn, a technical sales manager at INNO FO-ED Co. Ltd., focuses on pulses, dry bean, ancient food, and superfood market trends. She was inspired by plant-based food applications and flavor discussions during the Cochran program and will be exploring new products in pulse and beans for healthy snacks with food processing companies, including canned factories in 2023. Charuphan is also excited about the food application and market trends she experienced in the U.S. and planned to provide education seminars for her customers with healthy food market analysis. “I’ll build on the business network and connections made during the program and explore new and alternative suppliers for my company.” Charuphan values the learning and exchange with her fellow Cochran participants, too.

MicrosoftTeams-image (58).pngWinyoo Kongkavitool

CEO, Tinnakorn Chemical and Supply

Program Presentation  (PDF)

Mr. Winyoo Kongkavitool is the CEO of Tinnakorn Chemical and Supply. As a chemical engineer working in the food industry, the SupplySide West Expo was a rare opportunity for Winyoo to learn different products in each category, such as fat protein, plant-based protein, carbohydrate, vitamin, and plant extracts. He was also excited about the latest technology in personalized nutrition which presented new commercialization opportunities to different industries. “The food processing and packaging technology from lab, kitchen to commercial product I learned in MSU is inspiring. I plan to upgrade our application lab facilities next year. Based on many different products we experienced during the program, including new ingredients for supplement and beverage, I would also like to analyze our existing product portfolio and plan for new product development.” Winyoo values the business network and friendship he forged during the Cochran program.

MicrosoftTeams-image.pngWiphu Loetsuraphibun

Co-founder and CEO of Meat Avatar

Program Presentation (PDF)

Mr. Wiphu Loetsuraphibun, Co-founder and CEO of Meat Avatar, is a computer engineer turned food technologists, innovator and entrepreneur. His young company Meat Avatar uses innovative food technology to develop plant-based meat products from crispy pork to minced beef using a large variety of healthy ingredients including beans, peas, beetroots, konjac, pomegranates, and pumpkins. “Look, smell, taste, texture, and nutrition are five key elements we pursue in plant-based meat product. We care deeply about sustainable and environmentally friendly healthy eating. This Cochran program further encouraged me to study innovative food ingredients trend for plant-based product development."

Sasiorn TantawananSasiorn Tantawanan

Program Presentation (PDF)

Special Project Developer, Vicchi Enterprise Co. Ltd.

Ms. Sasiorn Tantawanan is a special project developer in Vicchi Enterprise Co. Ltd. She is interested in sustainability in product development and its impact on the environment. She would like to explore the intersection of traditional and innovative technologies in product design and development, particularly, the development of alternative sweeteners and proteins. “I had some great opportunities during the Cochran program to meet ingredient suppliers and discuss business opportunities.” Sasiorn said about her program experience, and she is excited about the ideas that came out of the conversations. She has ambitious plans for new produce in 2023.

Recent Programs

Recent Cochran Fellowship Programs

Since 2016, VIPP has been welcoming groups of Cochran fellows from over 15 countries as they connect with specialists at MSU, across Michigan, and in Washington D.C.

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U.S. Healthy Food Ingredients for Thailand, 2022

VIPP hosted seven food industry executives from Thailand for an intensive training program to improve their understanding of healthy food, food ingredients, the food and beverage industries, and innovative food processing technology so that they can develop new food/beverage products in Thailand.


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African Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Sector (HRI) Development, 2019

VIPP hosted delegates from Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and The Gambia. The delegation visited New Orleans, Savannah, and Miami to learn about U.S. restaurant and hotel operations and management, as well as southern U.S. cuisine and popular trends in the industry.


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Animal Feed Ingredients, 2019

Delegates from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Malawi learned about animal feed and dairy farming. Programming included professional meetings with federal and state agencies, MSU faculty, and visits to local farms in Washington D.C., Maryland, East Lansing, Detroit and other cities in Michigan. The group took a trip to MSU's Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) to learn about the latest research and technology for modern dairy farming as well as ecological research.


African Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional (HRI) Sector Development, 2018

Delegates from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal learned about the operational approach to U.S. hotel restaurant management, as well as emerging market trends in the restaurant industry. Programming included trips to Chicago, MSU (East Lansing), Lansing, and Frankenmuth for site visits to innovative local restaurants and hotels, kitchen observations, and opportunities for casual and fine dining with industry professionals.

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Egyptian Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, August 2016

VIPP partnered with Prof. Won Song in the MSU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and hosted eight professionals from the Egyptian Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade. The workshop focused on the current successful food assistance programs in the US. After a training program at MSU and in Michigan, the delegation flew to Washington, D.C. to visit the US Department of Agriculture. 

Learn More and Engage

Learn More and Engage

20220401_181339_resized.jpgMs. Bilhatu D. Bot, our 2019 Cochran fellow from Nigeria, was nominated for a VIPP Global Spartan Alumni Award in the Early Career Award category during VIPP’s 30th Anniversary celebration in 2021. Although she did not win the award, Ms. Bot was delighted to receive an MSU 3D card in recognition of her career achievements. We encourage all Cochran fellows to keep in touch with VIPP and MSU. Let us celebrate your career progress and contributions to our global community!

If you are an MSU faculty member interested in developing a Cochran Fellowship Program and want to learn more about how VIPP can provide support, contact us at vipp(at)