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USDA Cochran Fellowship

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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.

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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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

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 Lynn Zhou at zhouyi9(at)

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