A number of faculty and students from the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Soil and Crop Sciences recently received recognition at the Tri-Societies international annual meeting in St. Louis.
The Tri-Societies conference includes oral and poster presentations as well as award presentations to members of the Crop Science Society of America, CSSA; the American Society of Agronomy, ASA; and the Soil Sciences Society of America, SSSA, as well as the undergraduate organization, Students in Agronomy, Soil and Environmental Sciences, SASES.
“We are very proud of our representation this year at the international meeting,” said David Baltensperger, Ph.D., head of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. “Our faculty and students are a tribute to this department and Texas A&M. It was particularly exciting to have Dr. Seth Murray, professor and Eugene Butler Endowed Chair in our department, serve as the president of CSSA this year and for Chris Barron to serve as president of SASES.”
Joe Dixon, Ph.D., a longtime faculty member and Professor Emeritus in soil mineralogy in the Texas A&M Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, was honored for his contributions to the discipline of soil mineralogy and his distinguished career.
Dixon, who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1968 and retired in 2001, influenced generations of soil and clay scientists in advancing the disciplines of soil and clay mineralogy. He led efforts to summarize new research findings in the classic soil science book “Minerals in Soil Environments” and its subsequent editions.
American Society of Agronomy Fellows and awards
Members of ASA nominate worthy colleagues based on their professional achievements. Fellow recipients from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences were Terry Gentry and Qingwu Xue. Other award winners recognized were Monte Rouquette Jr. and Amir Ibrahim.
Gentry, Ph.D., is a scientist and professor of soil and aquatic microbiology at Bryan-College Station. He teaches soil and water microbiology as well as undergraduate/graduate course in environmental soil and water science. In addition to his teaching duties, Gentry’s research includes studying various aspects of soil and water quality. He monitors how various management practices impact water quality, with a priority being pathogens and indicator organisms in the water.
Xue, Ph.D., is a Regents Fellow, professor and crop stress physiologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo. His research focuses on crop physiology, abiotic stress, drought tolerance and water management strategies for corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, potato and, more recently, vegetables. His primary objective is to improve yield, water use, water-use efficiency and stress resistance or tolerance in major crops in the Texas High Plains.
Rouquette, Ph.D., a Regents Fellow, AgriLife Research forage physiologist and professor at Overton, received the Carl Sprengel Agronomic Research Award for major research accomplishments resulting from basic or applied research in agronomy. Rouquette has served for 52 years at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton. He developed a novel soil-forage-animal research program that focuses on development of sustainable grazing systems to improve the quality and economic viability of livestock production, specifically beef cattle.
Ibrahim, Ph.D., was selected as the 2023 International Agronomy Award recipient. Recently named the new associate director and chief scientific officer of AgriLife Research and associate dean for research, Ibrahim is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and AgriLife Research. He is also an international leader in wheat breeding, known for his work as an educator, graduate student advisor, geneticist and expertise in end-use quality characteristics. Ibrahim served as an ambassador for the U.S. wheat industry in seven countries.
Soil Science Society of America Fellows and awards
Awarded the title of Soil Science Society of America Fellow this year from the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences were Julie Howe and Tony Provin.
Howe, Ph.D., is a professor and associate department head for undergraduate programs, Bryan-College Station. Her research program primarily focuses on soil chemistry and fertility with an emphasis on the effects of land management on the profitability and sustainability of agroecosystems and the cycling of nutrients and carbon in the soil. She leads the $65 million Texas Climate-Smart Initiative, a five-year large-scale pilot project funded by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service work with Texas’ commodity producers to adopt climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices.
Provin, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service soil chemist and professor, Bryan-College Station, was honored with the American Society of Agronomy Fellow title last year and this year he received the Soil Science Society of America Fellow. Provin started his career in 1996 as an assistant professor and specialist, and is now director of the Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory. He has addressed numerous clientele issues in the urban, agronomic and environmental sectors.
Crop Science Society of America award winners
Ben Wherley, Ph.D., AgriLife Research turfgrass ecologist and professor, Bryan-College Station, was selected as a 2023 Crop Science Teaching Award recipient. Wherley teaches undergraduate courses in Advanced Turfgrass Ecology and Physiology, Professional Development in Turfgrass Science and Sports Field Construction. He also oversees undergraduate research projects each semester. His research focuses on developing sustainable approaches to irrigation, nutrient management and construction practices for golf courses, sod production and lawn systems.
Christopher Cobos earned a $5,000 CSSA Gary “Pete” Peterson Dryland Soil Management Scholarship. Cobos is a doctoral student and is located at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Lubbock.
Other students receiving awards and recognition were:
- Usharani Pedireddi — ASA Graduate Student Leadership Conference Award.
- Bholuram Gurjar — ASA Graduate Student Leadership Conference Award.
- Sarah Kezar — CSSA Gerald O. Mott Award.
- Ryan Schronk — SASES National Student Recognition Program.
- Kirsten Stadler — elected a 2024 SASES communications officer.
Poster and oral competition awards
Four individuals were invited back to compete in the SSSA and CSSA Society-Wide Graduate Student Competitions Nov. 14-15.
For CSSA, competitors and categories were Kayla Beechinor, Crop Breeding and Genetics; Sarah Chu, Seed Physiology, Production and Technology; and Reagan Heinrich, Plant Genetic Resources. For the SSSA competition, Harrison Coker, Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition participated in the competition.
Beechinor placed second in the CSSA Society-Wide competition and won $750.
ASA competition placements
- Opeyemi Alabi — first — poster in Turf Management and Ecology.
- Jaiveer Brar — second — 10-minute oral presentation competition in Global Climate Change.
- Sarah Chu — first — 5-minute rapid oral presentation in Seed Physiology, Production and Technology.
- Donovan Davis — first — poster in Model Applications and Field Research; and first — poster in Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
- Purushottam Gyawali — third — poster in Weedy and Invasive Species.
- Pulkit Juneja — second — poster in Global Climate Change.
- Dinesh Phuyal — first — 10-minute oral presentation competition in Global Climate Change.
- Sk Musfiq Us Salehin — third — oral presentation in Cover Crop Management.
- Megan Schill — third — 10-minute oral presentation competition in Global Climate Change; and first — poster in Weedy and Invasive Species.
- Gustavo Silva — first — oral contest in Weedy and Invasive Species.
- Ubaldo Torres — first — 5-minute rapid oral presentation in Precision Agriculture; second — poster in Precision Agriculture; third — poster in Turfgrass Science.
- Vikas Tyagi — second — oral contest in Plant Genetic Resources.
CSSA competition placements
- Kayla Beechinor — first — graduate student oral plus poster competition; and first — graduate student oral competition – Crop Breeding and Genetics.
- Reagan Heinrich — first — poster and 5-minute rapid presentation in Plant Genetic Resources.
- Kyle Parker — third — 10-minute oral presentation in Model Applications and Field Research.
- Khushboo Rastogi — second — 5-minute rapid oral presentation plus poster – Crops for Nutrition and Health.
- Noah Winans — second — graduate student oral plus poster competition; a second — graduate student oral competition; a third — graduate student oral plus poster competition; and a third — graduate student oral competition, all in Crop Breeding and Genetics.
SSSA competition placements
- Harrison Coker — first — master’s student 5-minute rapid oral presentation plus poster in the combined Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition and the Nutrient Management and Soil Plant Analysis divisions.
- Divya Ghanghas — second — poster in Soils and Environmental Quality.
- Jenna Mark — first — undergraduate poster, Soils.
- Sk Musfiq Us Salehin — third — poster plus 5-minute rapid oral presentation in Soils and Environmental Quality.
— Gayla Rose — third — undergraduate speech contest.
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Author: Kay Ledbetter