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Karki joins UMES Extension

  • Dr. Lila Karki

    A native of Kathmandu, Nepal, nested high in the Himalayas at the foot of Mount Everest’s soaring 29,029-foot summit, Dr. Lila B. Karki has come to Princess Anne’s University of Maryland Eastern Shore, just 16.4 feet above sea level.  His over 30-year career in agriculture has taken him from Nepal to India, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Australia, the Philippines, Germany and finally to the Southeast United States.

    Karki joins UMES in a dual role.  He will lend his expertise to both UMES Extension and to the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Resource Sciences.  As a program evaluations specialist for UMES Extension, he will provide leadership and support for extension program planning, evaluation and reporting.  His mission in this post is to support, strengthen and participate in county-based extension programs and to develop an extramurally funded extension and applied research program.

    “For more than two years, UMES Extension has not had access to a specialist serving in this capacity,” said Dr. E. Nelson Escobar, associate dean and associate administrator for UMES Extension.  “The task Dr. Karki faces is monumental because of the changes in the needs of the Eastern Shore citizenry that has been accentuated by the current crisis.  UMES Extension is pleased to welcome him, and I feel confident in saying that his new teammates are looking forward to his participation in our programs.”

    Dr. Karki will also serve as an assistant professor of agriculture economics for the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences teaching, engaging in research and participating actively in graduate education by chairing and serving on graduate committees. He will provide experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students.

    Karki comes to UMES from Tuskegee University in Alabama where he spent almost six years coordinating agriculture training and education, and evaluating projects that dealt with training related to farm economics, financial education and sustainable production systems in the Southern region. For the past five years, he was the research and extension program coordinator, agricultural economist and state financial educator for Tuskegee’s College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Cooperative Extension.  

    He began his career with Nepal’s Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives as a livestock development officer and served in the capacity of undersecretary.  During his decade and a half of service, he served in various government institutions, international organizations and private industry.  Karki then went to Germany where he earned a doctorate in agricultural economics and was a postdoctoral research associate at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.  His master’s in rural sociology and bachelor’s in agricultural economics are from Tribhuvan University in Nepal.   

    Karki has been instrumental as collaborator, co-principal investigator, project director and principal investigator in the awarding of over $4 million in grants throughout his career.  This year, he was a collaborator on a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant, “An Integrated Project to Promote Center of Excellence for Innovation and Sustainable Small Farms, Ranches and Forestlands,” at Tuskegee University.  

    His volunteer service and commitment to education earned him recognition as the recipient of a 2020 U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award gold pin certified by the Corporation for National and Community Service. He holds leadership appointments in professional societies, chief among them is director for the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association of the Extension 1890 Land-Grant Universities through 2023 and the 2020-22 president-elect for the International Honor Society of Agriculture (Gamma Sigma Delta).  Karki holds membership in Epsilon Sigma Phi, the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, the Money Smart Advance Team of the FDIC’s Money Smart Alliance, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, the Association for Temperate Agroforestry Inc., the American Economic Association, the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences, the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and the Southern Rural Sociological Association. He is the founding president of the Association of Nepalese Agricultural Professionals of the Americas.  

    Karki has published a book and contributed seven book chapters and 18 papers for peer-reviewed journals and magazines over the span of his professional career in the U.S.  He has also presented over 100 papers and posters in professional conferences, annual meetings and workshops. Currently, he serves as an editor for three peer-reviewed journals and is a reviewer or review panelist for four journals, grant proposals, conference papers and abstracts.

     

    Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, School of Agricultural & Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 410-621-3850, gcstephens@umes.edu.

    Photo by Todd Dudek, agricultural communications, UMES Extension, tdudek@umes.edu