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Agency Scientists Win Top Research Awards / December 3, 1997 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Donald W. Reeves, ARS research agronomist

Agency Scientists Win Top Research Awards

By Tara Weaver
December 3, 1997

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 3--Donald W. Reeves, a research agronomist with the Agricultural Research Service, has been named the agency's 1997 "Distinguished Scientist of the Year" for his leadership in soil management research. ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For the past 10 years, Reeves has studied soil compaction, conservation tillage systems at ARS' National Soil Dynamics Laboratory at Auburn, Ala. "Dr. Reeves' work has established him both nationally and internationally as an authority in those areas," said ARS administrator Floyd P. Horn.

Reeves and other agency scientists each will receive a plaque, a cash award and additional research funding at a Dec. 10 ceremony at Beltsville, Md.

Horn praised Reeves' work to transfer his research findings from the laboratory to the public, including oral presentations to more than 5,000 farmers in two years.

Examining cotton bolls

"Dr. Reeves' research and technology transfer has played a major role in developing soil management practices in Alabama and other states," Horn said. "As a result, conservation tillage acreage in Alabama has increased 32 percent, and the state has seen a 16-fold increase in conservation tillage cotton. This has helped reduce soil erosion and improved water quality because of the decrease in sediment runoff."

Reeves has written or co-written more than 230 research and technology transfer publications since 1985. Results from his research identifying the optimum conservation-tillage system for cotton, soybean and corn production on coastal plain soils resulted in several highly requested technical publications. His research also has provided guidelines for soil management to other agencies and their clients.

Reeves has a bachelor's degree in biology from Georgia Southwestern College at Americus, a master's degree in horticulture from the University of Georgia at Athens and a doctoral degree in agronomy and soils from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.

Reeves recently received the "Career Professional Agronomic Research Award" from the American Society of Agronomy-Southern Branch. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy.

Richard J. Brenner, ARS entomologist

Using GPS to plot fireant nests





Robert Davis, ARS plant pathologist

Loading plant DNA into gels





Eric H. Erickson, ARS entomologist

Chemical wetting agent subdues Africanized bees




Laura McConnell, ARS chemist

Collecting water samples from the Susquehanna River

ARS has named Richard J. Brenner, Robert E. Davis and Eric H. Erickson, Jr. as "Outstanding Senior Research Scientists of 1997." Brenner head's the agency's Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research Unit in Gainesville, Fla. Davis works at the ARS Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., and Erickson is at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Laboratory in Tucson, Ariz.

ARS is honoring Brenner for developing and leading a multi-disciplinary research program to enhance the environment and human health through pesticide reduction, risk assessment and precision targeting. His research has led to the development of safer technologies for suppressing cockroaches. Brenner is being recognized as the top senior research scientist in ARS' South Atlantic Area, which includes Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Davis' award is for his groundbreaking research on disease-causing plant pathogens. He is being recognized as the top senior scientist for the agency's Beltsville Area, which includes 36 laboratories at the Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center.

Erickson is being honored for innovative research and leadership to solve problems affecting beekeeping, crop pollination and the impact of Africanized Honey Bees on the public. He developed practical ways to rescue victims of Africanized honey bee attacks using conventional emergency equipment and fire-fighting chemicals. Nearly all fire departments nationwide now use these methods in bee emergencies. The award cites Erickson as the agency's top senior scientist in the Pacific West Area, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii.

Laura L. McConnell has been named "Outstanding Early Career Scientist of 1997." McConnell works at the ARS Environmental Chemistry Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. She is being honored for research on atmospheric pesticide deposition in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The "early career" award is given to scientists who have been with ARS less than 7 years and completed their highest academic degree within the past 10 years.

ARS has also named four "Area Senior Research Scientists of 1997." They are:

  • Kenneth Eskins, head of ARS' Biomaterials Processing Research Unit at Peoria, Ill. He is being cited for research on plants and plant products involving light regulation, and for development, creation and marketing new starch-oil composite products. Eskins is the winner for the Midwest Area, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

  • Thomas A. Foglia, based at the ARS Hides, Lipids and Wool Research Unit at Wyndmoor, Pa. Foglia is being honored for research on converting fats and oils into products such as fuels, biodegradable lubricants and healthier margarines. The award recognizes him as the agency's top senior scientist in the North Atlantic Area, which includes Maine, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

  • Kenneth P. Vogel, head of the ARS Wheat, Sorghum and Forage Research Unit at Lincoln, Neb. Vogel is being honored for achievements in genetic studies on perennial grasses and development of improved grasses and grass management practices for the Great Plains and the Midwest. He was selected as the top senior scientist for the research agency's Northern Plains Area, which includes Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

  • James A. Webster at the ARS Plant Science and Water Conservation Research Laboratory in Stillwater, Okla. Webster's award is for outstanding research on the mechanisms of cereal plant resistance to insect pests and for developing resistant germplasm lines. He was chosen as the top senior scientist for the agency's Southern Plains Area, which includes Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

ARS also has named seven "Area Early Career Scientists." They are:

  • Casey C. Grimm, Mid-South Area, Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research Unit, New Orleans, La. The award cites Grimm's research accomplishments in analysis of food components.

  • David R. Horton, Pacific West Area, Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research Unit, Wapato, Wash. Horton is being recognized for his pioneering work on the ecology and behavior of two important crop pests, pear psylla and the Colorado potato beetle.

  • O. Lloyd May, South Atlantic Area, Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Research Center, Florence, S.C. He is being recognized for outstanding research in cotton genetics.

  • David J. Nisbet, Southern Plains Area, Food Animal Protection Research Laboratory, College Station, Texas. Nisbet is being commended for research contributions to the development of a bacterial mix that reduces Salmonella in poultry.

  • Steven C. Olsen, Midwest Area, National Animal Disease Center, Ames, Iowa. Olsen is being honored for research contributions in developing improved vaccines to protect cattle and bison against brucellosis, a contagious livestock disease

  • Charles I. Onwulata, North Atlantic Area, Dairy Products Research Unit, Wyndmoor, Pa. He is being recognized for developing ways to encapsulate milkfat in common food ingredients, such as all-purpose flour or sugar.

  • Steven D. Shackelford, Northern Plains Area, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Neb. Shackelford is being honored for research on production of lean and flavorful beef.
 

Scientific contact: Floyd P. Horn, Administrator, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC. Telephone (202) 720-3656.

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