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UGA Tifton Crop and Soil Sciences: Celebrating 100 years

So crop and soil science is agriculture
in my mind. Although other departments may argue, but it’s the development of
new genetics, similar to what I do and the management of those genetics, whether that’s finding new ways to fertilize for higher yields or to ward off
insects or pathogens. So crop and soil science is agriculture.
I think the impact here is very crucial for crop production in the state,
not just in peanuts but across the other commodities. This team, the peanut team is
one of the largest commodity teams probably in the U.S. when it comes down
to such a small crop. We provide probably as much of the crucial
information that growers need on a year-to-year basis in order to manage
any potential issue that might come up in the short-term as well as long-term. So I’m actually looking to do research, extension and teaching, so I get
to cover all facets of the soil science, soils and hydrology. As far as my
research, I research mostly cotton and peanuts and you know we got a
really good cotton and peanut team here. We’ve got a lot of people working on cotton and
peanuts. It’s just a great place to work but soil fertility I tested for
fertilizers, different fertilizer techniques, anything to just produce good
crops economically that would give the county agents
so they can use those for their extension program to get the information to the
growers. Joining the crop and soil sciences department was one of the
smartest decisions I ever made and it’s because I’ve joined a true family of
colleagues and it’s given me the opportunity to really expand my research
programs in directions I never thought I could take them to. I’m an engineer by
training and most the work I do still is engineering related. I do a lot of
precision agriculture research. I play around with technology, develop new
technologies or fine-tuned older technologies. Before I didn’t really
have the opportunity to interact with people who could apply my technologies
or look at them from the crop perspective. Now I’ve got this group of
colleagues here on the Tifton campus who I work with on a daily basis, people
who like dr. Glenn Harris, Dr. Scott Tubbs, others who who look at things from
a variety of different perspectives. So that gives me input on many many
things. So my role when I first came on in 2002 in Tifton was to evaluate
pesticide fate in the environment and how it would affect vegetable production
and other crops, carryover, etc. From that it has allowed me to
travel nationally and internationally and present at meetings basically all
over the world. It’s been a big positive with respect to my career. It has allowed
me to interact with people that I never would have interacted with unless
I came here. So the crop and soil sciences department is key in peanut production
especially in Georgia just because our breeding efforts. The breeding efforts
here in the crop and soils department is the basis of the
kind of crop that we produce here in Georgia;
this high yield and high-quality crop. If we did not have the breeding
efforts as well as the other colleagues that come in like myself looking at all
the agronomic practices; how to manage diseases, insects, how to know what
kind of money is invested in this crop; a grower pretty much could not grow a
high yielding and high quality crop without the information and the backbone
of the science that is produced here on the Tifton campus. The biggest
thing we always say is we have job security because it’s always changing.
One of the big impetus when I first came here was methyl bromide phase-out and so
that just put the burden of weed control on herbicides and with so many
restrictions and things like that that’s Stanley has been involved
heavily with with registrations of new herbicides for vegetables, but along with
that comes the inevitable issues of carryover and that’s what I’ve been heavily involved with. It’s hard to put a dollar value I think on on what this campus, the crop and soil science department has on AG in Georgia, especially South Georgia for row crops.
We developed programs like I said to help the farmers through the county
agents learn the most economical way to grow the crop, market the crop, everything and
it’s just hard it’s hard to put a dollar value on it. It makes us
feel good when we’re able to you know help the farmers and sometimes even just
one phone call they’ll have a question on something they’re thinking about
doing or a new technique or something they want to try to do and sometimes
it’s a good idea or sometimes we have research to show that it’s not a good
idea. We can help them out so it’s just really really satisfying to be able to
help the growers like that. The Tifton campus is a pretty close community.
Everybody pulls together and works really well across disciplines, everything. I
always say you know you can pretty much borrow anything from anyone because you
know and they know it’ll be treated kindly and returned in good shape and and
we all need each other to make things work and that’s kind of how all these
projects come about together. It’s no single person, it’s a collection of
people with a lot of good ideas and it comes about. I also really love
teaching on this campus, been teaching for fifteen years since our program started.
I teach soils hydrology class and one of the things I didn’t think about when
I first started teaching is watching the students as they graduate and get
jobs and still working with a lot of a lot of them. A lot of them have become County agents so
I still get to work with them. So when they call me and ask me a
question, I said, well you should have paid more attention to class that day and then you
wouldn’t have to call me. No I’m just kidding, but it is really satisfying, something I
didn’t think about it but it’s really satisfying to me, fulfilling to know that
you help you know help them along with their career and then and then still get
to work with them after they graduate. I really enjoy being a member of the crop
and soil science department. The department has been very welcoming to me and it’s
allowed me to take initiatives on the educational front that I’ve never had a
chance to do in my previous department. For example I’m working with Dr.
Miguel Cabrera in Athens, we were able to develop a dual master’s degree program
with the University of Padova, Italy. That has become a really good
success story because we have students graduate students from our department
going to Italy and students from Italy coming to our department here. So we’ve
got over 12 students in the program at the moment, it’s a huge success story.
We’re very much a family on this campus, we all interconnect, whether we’re
working on one particular crop or across many different crops. We help each other.
By far this is one of the best family atmospheres that I’ve ever been involved with.

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