• Ron Kotrba

US biodiesel pioneer awarded for leadership in international education

Leon Schumacher, professor and agricultural systems technology program coordinator at the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, has received the 2021 Provost’s Award for Leadership in International Education. The award recognizes University of Missouri faculty members that have provided outstanding leadership in strengthening the university’s “international dimension,” according to the school.


Schumacher was a key figure in the early development of U.S. biodiesel—or “SoyDiesel” as it was called 30 years ago. In 1991, with a small investment from the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Schumacher demonstrated use of the new fuel in a pickup truck in real-world conditions. Schumacher’s work, and his participation in critical meetings, helped launch the U.S. biodiesel industry.

The university noted Schumacher’s more recent research, including work in precision agriculture, smart farm initiatives, the Internet of Things, automated farming systems and energy conservation in the fields of biodiesel, biomass and ethanol, as well as curriculum-related issues associated with agricultural systems technology.

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