Jerry Hatfield received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 1975 in the area of Agricultural Climatology and Statistics. From 1975 through 1983 he was the Biometeorologist at the University of California-Davis and from 1983 through 1989 Research Leader at the USDA-ARS Plant Stress and Water Conservation Laboratory in Lubbock, Texas. Since 1989 he has served as the Laboratory Director of the USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
Dr. Hatfield has been responsible for the development of the scientific program in the Tilth Laboratory and the management of a multi-agency, multi-location environmental quality program to assess the impact of farming practices on water quality and serves as the technical manager of the USDA-ARS research program to assess the impact of livestock systems on air quality. He has developed several watershed scale projects to address concerns about the spatial and temporal impacts of farming practices on environmental quality.
His research interests focus on the interaction of water, nutrients, carbon, and light in the response of crops to management systems across varying landscapes. A portion of his current research efforts is directed toward the integration of remotely sensed information into agricultural management decisions to enhance agricultural production efficiency.
He is internationally recognized as one of the leading authorities on the impact of crop and livestock components of agricultural systems on air, water, and soil quality.
He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the American Society of Agronomy and is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America and a 1997 recipient of the A.S. Flemming Award for Outstanding Federal service, ARS Outstanding Scientist of the Year in 1999, Federal Laboratory Consortium Laboratory of the Year in 2002, and Distinguished Service Award for Agricultural Research from Kansas State University in 2002. He is the author over 305 refereed publications and the editor of ten monographs.