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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS Honors Scientist for Soil and Water Research / February 9, 2005 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Jerry C. Ritchie
Jerry C. Ritchie

More about Ritchie's research

Photo:  Link to photo information
Soil scientist Jerry Ritchie and botanist Carole A. Ritchie measure leaf area of mesquite at the Jornada Experimental Range in New Mexico. Hands-on measurements help scientists verify data gathered by remote sensing. Click the image for more information about it.

ARS Honors Scientist for Soil and Water Research

By Don Comis
February 9, 2005

National news release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9—Jerry C. Ritchie, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientist, has been named the "ARS Beltsville Area Senior Research Scientist for 2004."

Ritchie received a plaque and cash award at U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters here today, and will also receive additional research funding. ARS is the USDA's principal scientific research agency.

"Dr. Ritchie is internationally recognized for his impact on, and leadership in, soil and water conservation research and applications," said Edward B. Knipling, ARS administrator.

Based at the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., Ritchie is being honored for "continuous research and leadership in soil and water conservation on ways to manage, conserve and improve the quality and sustainability of soil and water resources." Over his 36-year career, Ritchie has achieved national and international recognition for his scientific contributions, including:

  • Mapping water quality from space satellites.
  • Measuring landscape with laser altimetry technology that can correlate surface roughness to soil moisture, erosion and crop yields.
  • Using grass hedges as "living fence" buffers to improve marginal soils and block runoff before it reaches sensitive riparian areas.
  • Estimating carbon stored on farm fields, small reservoirs and wetlands, significantly affecting the calculation of carbon storage worldwide.

Ritchie earned a B.A. in biology and education in 1960 from Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C.; an M.S. in botany and soils in 1962 from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville; and a Ph.D. in botany and ecology from the University of Georgia-Athens in 1967.

He has held offices in many scientific societies and was elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America in 2000. Ritchie has also served nationally and internationally as an expert advisor to numerous organizations.

Ritchie has received a USDA certificate of merit for outstanding research each year since 1988.

Last Modified: 2/9/2005