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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Logo Image for "A R S : The Future Grows Here"Agricultural Research Service
50th Anniversary

National Scientific Leadership Meeting and
Annual Recognition Program

Proud Past and Promising Future
January 21-23, 2004
New Orleans, Louisiana

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Fred Magdoff

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Fred MagdoffFred Magdoff is Professor of Soils in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont. He received his degrees from Oberlin College (BA) and from Cornell University (MS and PhD). Magdoff was Plant and Soil Science Department Chair for 8 years (1985-1993), a member of the National Small Farm Commission (1997-1999, USDA), and is the Coordinator in the 12-state Northeast Region for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy.

Magdoff's area of specialty is soil fertility and management. He has worked on problems of sodic and saline soils, acid soils, use of manures and sewage sludges, phosphorus soil tests, nutrient cycling, and he developed the first reliable soil test for nitrogen availability to corn for the humid regions of the U.S. This test, called the Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Test (PSNT) and the Spring or Late Spring Nitrate Test, is now used throughout much of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwestern states as well as in eastern Canada. It has also been adopted for use with a number of vegetable crops.

Magdoff has oriented his outreach activities to explaining how to apply ecological principles to agricultural production. His book, Building Soils for Better Crops (2000, Harold van Es, co-author), is an ecologically-based approach that explains how to work with and enhance the inherent built-in strengths of plant/soil systems. Magdoff is also interested in political and economic issues surrounding agriculture and was senior editor of Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment (2000, Monthly Review Press, NY).

 

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