Thomas Lacher, Ph.D., director of Texas A&M’s Center for Coffee Research and Education, CCRE, and professor for over 20 years in the Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology, retires at the end of June. He has been a global leader in both roles.
Lacher, serving as director of the CCRE of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture’s coffee center for the last year, has worked to incorporate innovations to coffee production practices.
“Dr. Lacher has brought awareness of the value and environmental sustainability of agroforestry as applied to coffee,” said Elsa Murano, Ph.D., director of the Borlaug Institute.
Coffee agroforestry consists of producing coffee under a canopy of native trees. This creates habitat for biodiversity to thrive and serve as natural control agents against pests, such as the coffee borer beetle. Such innovative practices are essential for small-holder coffee producers in developing countries to be able to thrive in a competitive market, enhancing their livelihoods and elevating them out of poverty.
In his professor role, Kirk Winemiller, Ph.D., interim department head of the Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, described Lacher as a leader in biodiversity conservation.