Little Rock-based economic development organization Winrock International announced Wednesday (March 10) two new board members.
Dr. Ruth Oniang’o is the long-time chair of the Sasakawa Africa Association and recipient of the Africa Food Prize. John R. Tyson is the chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods.
“We are delighted to welcome Ruth and John to our board of directors,” Winrock President and CEO Rodney Ferguson said in a statement. “They bring impressive talents to our organization and we are thrilled to have them aboard.
“Dr. Ruth Oniang’o is one of the pioneering African women in nutrition and agricultural development and the long-time chair of the Sasakawa Africa Association. John Tyson is an energetic leader who is driving positive change for the global food system in his role at one of the world’s largest food companies.
“Ruth and John bring exceptional breadth and depth to our Board. I am also pleased that staff members suggested both Ruth and John as potential new Board members. Plainly, this kind of staff involvement makes us stronger as an organization.”
Oniang’o is a professor of nutrition and former member of parliament in Kenya who spearheaded the completion of Kenya’s food and nutrition policy. Oniang’o is board chair of the Sasakawa Africa Association — which was founded by Winrock board member Norman Borlaug, Japanese philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa and former President Jimmy Carter — and has worked to define and expand the program.
In 1991, Winrock partnered with the association to create the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE), which has spread to nine countries and graduated 4,000 mid-career extension agents. In 2017, Oniang’o was awarded the African Food Prize for her work in agriculture and nutrition. She is also the namesake of one of Winrock’s new conference rooms — the Oniang’o Room.
Tyson, son of chairman John Tyson, joined the Tyson Foods team in 2019 and serves as chief sustainability officer, leading the company’s efforts to support a more sustainable protein system. That includes driving improvement by implementing the company’s sustainability strategy as well as managing the sustainability, animal welfare, environmental, social responsibility, procurement and equity, inclusion and diversity teams.