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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Issue: November/December 2003
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Northern PlainFacts.Northern PlainFacts image extension.

Issue: November/December 2003


The Northern PlainFacts from the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Montana, offers brief updates on research, personnel and events at the lab, and includes contact names and e-mail addresses for those interested in further details.

 

In This Month's Issue:

 

ARS specialist to speak at irrigation workshop

ARS Ecologist to participate in forum at University of Oxford workshop

TEAM Leafy Spurge documentary now available on ARS website

New scientist hired at NPARL

ARS plant pathologist to meet with German cooperators

ARS scientists to speak at salt cedar research meeting

New soil scientist hired at NPARL

 

 

 

ARS specialist to speak at irrigation workshop

Agricultural Engineer and Water Quality specialist Dr. Robert Evans has been invited to speak Nov. 20 at Fort Berthold Community College (of the Three Affiliated Tribes in New Town, ND) as part of an irrigation workshop series being sponsored by North Dakota State University Extension Service. The workshops target new irrigators or people exploring the option of adding irrigation to their farming operations. Topics presented will focus on the fundamentals necessary to begin irrigating including identification of irrigable soils, locating sufficient supplies of quality water, selecting equipment, permitting and the economics of irrigation and high value crop opportunities. Dr. Evans, an irrigation specialist at the Sidney, MT, ARS research laboratory, will discuss "Irrigation Water Management under Center Pivots" during the Nov. 20 workshop.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS Ecologist to participate in forum at University of Oxford workshop

Ecologist Greg Sword has been invited to participate in a workshop entitled "Future directions in the study of collective animal behaviour" at the University of Oxford in Oxford, UK, on Nov. 22. Dr. Sword will join 20 other international experts for discussions on topics related to pattern formations in biological systems, such as the collective swarms of bacteria, army ants, locusts and their relatives, Mormon crickets. Currently, Dr. Sword is investigating the migratory behavior of Mormon crickets in the western U.S., in particular studying the individual behaviors underlying migratory band formation. He plans to initiate collaborations with other international experts at the workshop to generate additional interest in work on the ecology and migratory behavior of this particular pest.

(Greg Sword, 406.433.9429, gsword[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

TEAM Leafy Spurge documentary now available on ARS website

With the aid of ARS Information Staff in Beltsville, MD, the award-winning TEAM Leafy Spurge documentary "Purging Spurge: Corralling an Ecological Bandit," is now available on the national ARS website at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/video/vnr/spurge.htm. TEAM Leafy Spurge representatives, working with IS Public Affairs Specialist Jim DeQuattro in Beltsville, provided the footage for inclusion in ARS’ national video archive. "Purging Spurge" was produced in 2002 by the TEAM Leafy Spurge program in partnership with North Dakota’s Prairie Public Broadcasting and was subsequently named a 2003 Finalist in the documentary category of the 24th Annual Telly Awards. The Telly Award, the non-network equivalent of an Emmy, is a national competition honoring outstanding non-network television commercials and programs, and non-broadcast video and film productions. The "Purging Spurge" documentary debuted on Prairie Public Television in June 2002 and was distributed nationally in April 2003. The documentary, which focuses on grassland health and the impact of invasive weeds like leafy spurge, was developed to help increase public awareness of noxious weeds and to bring all segments of society on board to help control them. A VHS videotape of the documentary is available free from TEAM Leafy Spurge by contacting the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory at P.O. Box 463, Sidney, MT 59270; or by phone at 406-433-2020; by fax at 406-433-5038; or by e-mail at teamls[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov.

New scientist hired at Sidney ARS Lab

Dr. Andrew Lenssen has been hired to fill a new Weed Ecologist post established at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, MT. The announcement was made this past week by Dr. Robert Evans, Research Leader of the lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU).
"I am quite pleased that we were able to attract someone of Andy's high caliber and reputation for excellence to our cropping systems research program," Dr. Evans said, in making the announcement. "He brings a wealth of experience in addressing management and production problems associated with various high plains crops."
Dr. Lenssen will begin his new duties in 2004.

Those duties will include:

  • Development of weed management programs adapted to various crop production systems.
  • Investigation of the effects of soils and plant diversity on weeds under different tillage or no-till regimens in dryland and irrigated cropping systems.
  • Development of methods to detect and delay weed herbicide resistance.

Dr. Lenssen, an associate research professor at Montana State University in Bozeman, received his bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from Cornell University in 1980. He then managed an irrigated farm (480 acres) and cow-calf operation on public and private rangelands near Hope, New Mexico. Three years later he was hired as a research technician at the New Mexico State University Science Center, Artesia, New Mexico, conducting research on irrigated alfalfa production, including studies with drying accelerators, hay stabilizers, weed management, and cultivar development. He later entered graduate school at Kansas State University, receiving his master’s (1987) and doctorate degrees (1989) in Agronomy. Following post doctorals with USDA ARS in Ft. Collins, CO, investigating photosensitizing agents in forage legumes and sugar beet cyst nematode management, he moved to Bozeman, MT, to work in the Department of Entomology at Montana State University.
Over the last 10 years, he has conducted research and demonstration programs throughout the Golden Triangle, Judith Basin, and northeastern areas of Montana, including cooperative projects at the USDA-ARS Soil and Water Conservation Research Farm in Froid. His projects have included large-scale field studies of crop productivity and quality, water and nitrogen use, weeds, insects and diseases of wheat and various alternative crops in diversified, intensified rotations under dryland and irrigated conditions.
He is married to Sue Blodgett, also a professor at MSU-Bozeman, and they have a 16-year-old daughter, Susan.

(Robert Evans, 406.433.9496, revans[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)
(Andrew Lenssen, 406.433.2020, alenssen[at]sidney.ars.usda.gov)

ARS plant pathologist to meet with German cooperators

Plant Pathologist Robert T. Lartey will travel to the Christian-Albrecht University, Kiel, Germany, on Dec. 22-23 to meet with Prof. Dr. Joseph-Alexander Verreet, Director of the Plant Disease Control and Crop Protection Unit at the Institute for Phytopathology. Dr. Lartey and his German colleagues are conducting a joint research, which addresses problems concerning sugar beet diseases forecasting and molecular pathogenesis of Cercospora leaf research. Dr. Lartey and Verreet will be joined by Dr. Wolf from the German State of Bayern to discuss and plan future joint research projects.

ARS scientists to speak at salt cedar research meeting

Botantist John Gaskin and Research Entomologist Dave Kazmer have been invited to speak at a Diorhabda Biology Research Meeting to be held in Albany, CA, Jan. 8-9. Drs. Gaskin and Kazmer will make presentations on several components of their salt cedar research at the session including "Diorhabda Genetics", "Influence of Tamarisk Genetic Variability on Diorhabda Performance" and "Status of Experimental Diorhabda Releases in Montana and Wyoming." A leaf beetle imported from China, Diorhabda elongata deserticola is the first biological control agent introduced against saltcedar (tamarisk), a noxious weed that infests over 1 million acres in the western United States. In addition to participating in the meeting, Dr. Gaskin will also conduct field work in Central California collecting genotypes of hoary cress, another noxious weed being studied at NPARL.

New soil scientist hired at NPARL

Dr. Jed Waddell has been hired as the new soil scientist at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) in Sidney, MT. Dr. Robert Evans, Research Leader of the lab’s Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU), made the announcement this past week. Jed was hired to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Dr. Verlan Cochran, a 40-year veteran with ARS.

"I am quite pleased that we were able to attract someone of Jed's high caliber and reputation for excellence to our cropping systems research program," Dr. Evans said, in making the announcement. "His experience in industry will be a big benefit in addressing management and production problems associated with various high plains crops."

Dr. Waddell will begin his new duties on January 11. Those duties will include:

  • Helping to develop dryland and irrigated soil and fertility management programs adapted to various crop production systems under different tillage regimens.
  • Investigating nutrient cycling and fertilizer management for Northern Great Plains conditions.
  • Exploring the impacts and interactions of varying cultural practices (e.g., tillage, crop rotation, fertilization), soil, and climate to aid farmers and decision makers in reducing costs, while protecting the water for generations to come.

Jed comes to NPARL from Tetra Tech, an environmental consulting firm in Virginia, where he analyzed the costs and benefits of new rules for animal feedlots for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In particular, he addressed the interactive effects of tillage, crop rotation, and fertility management to insure profitability and sustainability while maintaining water quality. He also spent eight years in a university setting developing, quantifying, and evaluating the use of best management practices to preserve water quality under various agricultural systems. Jed’s research has spanned many levels from the small plot study to world-scale simulations. In a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional endeavor, Jed led a research initiative to identify best management practices for use in potato cultivation. His research focused on minimizing the loss of nitrogen without reducing potato yield and quality.

He has a B.S. (Agricultural Chemistry, 1990) and an M.S. (Agronomy, 1993) from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD and a Ph.D. (Soil Science) from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN (1997).

In addition to his work experience, Jed has coached Little League, plays soccer, and has worked with Homestretch in Northern Virginia, an organization helping needy families in the area.

 


Last Modified: 11/10/2004
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