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ARS Honors Scientists and Support Staff

By Ann Perry
February 10, 2009

Anthony J. Svejcar
Click the image for 300 dpi.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 — Rangeland scientist Tony Svejcar of Burns, Ore., has been named “Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of 2008” by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for his scientific leadership and rangeland research discoveries. ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Svejcar heads the ARS Range and Meadow Forage Management Research Unit in Burns. He and other ARS researchers and support staff were honored today at the agency's awards ceremony here.

“Over the past 25 years, Dr. Svejcar’s leadership has been fundamental to developing rangeland management systems that address both natural resource protection and agricultural production issues,” said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. “Under Dr. Svejcar’s guidance, the ARS scientists working in Burns have excelled in conducting research that supports agricultural producers, stakeholders and partners within the region and across the country.”

Svejcar’s research on rangeland ecology has yielded valuable information about the complex interplay between grazing practices, riparian systems, weed ecology and carbon cycling. Scientists and managers worldwide have drawn on his guidance and expertise. In addition, he is widely respected as an inspiring mentor for new scientists and students.

ARS also honored the following "Area Senior Research Scientists" today:

Kevin HicksKevin Hicks, ARS Crop Conversion Science and Engineering Research Unit, Wyndmoor, Pa., for outstanding research accomplishments and outstanding leadership during the past 20 years.

Benjamin F. MatthewsBenjamin F. Matthews, ARS Soybeans Genomics and Improvement Research Unit, Beltsville, Md., for outstanding research accomplishments, scientific leadership and sustained support of fellow scientists and scientists of the future.

Edward P. Richard Jr.Edward P. Richard, Jr., ARS Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, La., for identifying and leading efforts to conduct research that meets current and future needs of the sugarcane industry.

Ronald Thomas RileyRonald Thomas Riley, ARS Toxicology and Mycotoxin Research Unit, Athens, Ga., for significant improvements in the science-based risk assessment of food-borne fumonisin mycotoxins.

Timothy P.L. SmithTimothy P.L. Smith, ARS Genetics and Breeding Research Unit, Clay Center, Neb., for sustained productivity and leadership in cattle genomics research and technology transfer.

David SpoonerDavid Spooner, ARS Vegetable Crops Research Unit, Madison, Wis., for outstanding research on the systematics, evolution and domestication of potato, tomato and their relatives.

Jean L. SteinerJean L. Steiner, ARS Grazinglands Research Laboratory, El Reno, Okla., for outstanding research in conserving and protecting the nation’s natural resources and dedicated leadership in ARS national research programs. (More)

Erica Spackman

ARS also recognized exceptional "early career" scientists who have been with the agency for seven years or less.

The top prize, the Herbert L. Rothbart Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist Award, went to Erica Spackman, ARS Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research Unit, Athens, Ga., for her timely development of rapid diagnostic tests for the control of important poultry diseases, including avian influenza virus, Newcastle disease virus and enteric viruses of turkeys.

Scott R. BeanThe seven "Area Early Career Research Scientist Award" winners for 2008 are:

Scott R. Bean, ARS Grain Quality and Structure Research Unit, Manhattan, Kan., for outstanding independent and collaborative research contributions to solve industry problems resulting in new and more efficient uses of sorghum.

Michael H. CoshMichael H. Cosh, ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., for developing novel methods of soil moisture remote sensing validation using in situ networks and field experimentation.

 L. Jason KrutzL. Jason Krutz, ARS Southern Weed Science Research Unit, Stoneville, Miss., for creative research programs investigating the relationship of crop management practices on atrazine dissipation in soil.

April B. LeytemApril B. Leytem, ARS Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory, Kimberly, Idaho, for excellence in planning and conducting collaborative research within the environmentally crucial field of phosphorus cycling.

Martin A. RicheMartin A. Riche, ARS Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center, based at the center's Ft. Pierce, Fla., worksite, for outstanding scientific contributions and leadership to sustainable, low-salinity marine aquaculture.

Alejandro P. RooneyAlejandro P. Rooney, ARS Microbial Genomics and Bioprocessing Research Unit, Peoria, Ill., for excellence in research on the genetics of agriculturally important organisms and the application of genetic theory to enhance U.S. agriculture and biosecurity.

Doreen WareDoreen Ware, ARS Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, Ithaca, N.Y., for providing a leadership role in computational approaches and leveraging emerging sequence technology to link candidate genes and their function with agricultural traits and germplasm improvement.

Other 2008 ARS award winners include the following:

Kerry PedleyKerry Pedley, ARS Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit, Fort Detrick, Md., received the ARS T.W. Edminster Award for his proposal to use gene silencing for discovering plant genes that play a role in orchestrating defense responses to Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the organism that causes soybean rust, in resistant soybeans. The T.W. Edminster Award is given annually to the researcher who submits the highest-rated research proposal in the ARS Postdoctoral Research Associate Program.

Melissa AlegriaMelissa Alegria, ARS Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC), New Orleans, La., was presented with the 2008 ARS Office Professional of the Year award for superior service, achievements and contributions that improved the SRRC Property and Acquisition Office’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Jason WongJason Wong, ARS Southwest Watershed Research Unit, Tucson, Ariz., received the 2008 ARS Excellence in Information Award for providing quality on-line access to data and research results that improved customer service through enhanced information delivery.

Two groups were the winners of the 2008 Administrator’s Outreach, Diversity and Equal Opportunity (ODEO) Awards. The winners are:

  • The management unit of the ARS Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center, Weslaco, Tex., for effectively utilizing and managing the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) as a tool for succession planning while demonstrating commitment to a diverse, qualified workforce. This management unit includes Center Director Paul Sebesta; Administrative Officer Mari Gomez; and scientists Gene Lester, Allan Showler, Shoil Greenberg and Frank Eischen.

Winners of the agency's 2008 Administrative and Financial Management Support Awards for Excellence also were announced. This year’s winners are:

  • Janet L. Jones, ARS Northern Plains Area, who received the Silver Award for Excellence for her exceptional support and guidance to the Northern Plains Area in negotiating a complex series of policies and procedures that yielded substantial savings of time and energy and streamlined operations.
  • Kathleen Dunaway of Burns, Ore., received a Bronze Award for Excellence for her commitment to delivering efficient administrative services to the Burns location and enthusiastic assistance and support at locations throughout the agency's Pacific West Area.