For more than five decades Havener led the International Agriculture Research Organizations in Asia, Africa and North and South America. One of his eminent posts was as Director General, CIMMYT. He also administered CIAT and IRRI. Under his leadership CIMMYT reached the highest recognition as the leading center among the IARCs and among the world centers dealing with corn and wheat.
Havener holds academic degrees in agricultural sciences from The Ohio State University, and public administration and development economics from Harvard University. From 1954 through 1961 he served as a faculty member of the College of Agriculture, The Ohio State University.
For some 15 years he was a senior agricultural program officer for the Ford Foundation serving in the Asia and Pacific Region, The Middle East, and the Foundation’s offices in New York. In 1978 he was appointed Director General of the International Center of Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) in Mexico, and later as interim Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in The Philippines. He also served as Project Development Officer for the establishment of The International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, (ICARDA) in the Central and West Asia and North Africa Region and the International Livestock Research Center, (ILCA), located in Nairobi, Kenya.
He is President Emeritus of Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development and has received numerous awards for his contributions to international agricultural development including honorary Doctors degrees from the University of Arkansas and the Ohio State University and recognition as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Mr. Havener currently serves on the board of trustees of a number of international organizations including the Advisory Council of the World Food Prize, the International Development Enterprises-a US based non-governmental organization, the 2020 Vision Advisory Council of the International Food Policy Research Institute, The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center and the Sasakawa African Association/ Global 2000 Program and as a consultant to a number of organizations interested in third world agricultural development.
He makes his home in Sacramento, California, USA.