USDA Agency Honors Soil
Scientist By Jan
February 12, 2003
BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 12Soil scientist
Peter J. A.
Kleinmans studies to develop manure management practices that better
protect water quality have led to his being named as an Early Career
Scientist of 2002" by the Agricultural
Research Service, the chief scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
ARS will honor Kleinman and other award-winning scientists today
a ceremony at the agencys Henry A.
Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center here. Kleinman will receive
a plaque and cash award from ARS Acting Administrator Edward B. Knipling. ARS
early career awards recognize the achievements of scientists who
have been with the agency for seven years or less, and earned their highest
academic degree within the past 10 years.
Kleinmans contributions at ARS
Pasture Systems and Watershed Management
Research Unit in University Park, Pa., include adding to the understanding
of chemical and hydrological processes that affect on-farm losses of nitrogen
and phosphorus, which, unchecked, can impair the aquatic health of nearby
lakes, rivers, and other water bodies.
Kleinman also conducted research to assess the impact of common
nutrient management practices, especially in Northeastern states, with the goal
of refining them for greater effectiveness. At the same time, he has worked
with farmers and state and federal agricultural agencies to translate the
science behind his findings into cost-effective, on-farm nutrient management
practices that safeguard water quality without sacrificing productivity.
In related work, Kleinman unearthed important information about
the solubility of phosphorus in manure, particularly when spread onto crop
fields as fertilizer. Many states base their on-farm, phosphorus management
strategies on three risk factors: the amount, timing and method of manure
application. But Kleinman believed phosphorus solubilitythe
nutrients ability to dissolve in watershould also be considered.
So, he devised lab and field studies to ascertain its potential as an
environmental risk factor based on animal type and diet.
He then teamed with scientists from Pennsylvanias State
Soil Testing Laboratory and Extension Service to make use of the information.
From this, they were able to show that phosphorus solubility should indeed be
accounted for, and later developed a simple, easy-to-use method of extracting
phosphorus from manure to determine the potential for its loss in runoff.
Kleinmans collaborations on phosphorus solubility,
transfer, distribution, and management include not only producers and Extension
agents, but also USDAs Natural
Resources Conservation Service, and other researchers across the country.
He is the author or co-author of 30 papers and has been a
speaker or poster presenter at 16 national and international conferences. He is
a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and an associate editor of
its Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. His professional activities also
extend to other organizations, including the National Research Initiative, and
the Southern Extension Research Activity-Information Exchange Group (SERA-17).
Kleinman attended Cornell University, where he earned a
bachelors degree in 1989 in biology and society, a masters degree
in 1995 in natural resource management and policy, and a Ph.D. in soil science
in 1999. He joined the ARS lab in 1999.
Kleinman, his wife Kelly, and their daughter live in
Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa.