Skip to main content
ARS Home » News & Events » News Articles » Research News » 2016 » ARS Honors Scientists of the Year

John Sadler.
John Sadler. Click the image for 300 dpi.

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Honors Scientists of the Year

By Dennis O’Brien
September 7, 2016

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist E. John Sadler is the agency's Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year for 2016 for research focused on conserving soil and water and for using new technologies to achieve innovative agricultural practices.

Sadler, a soil scientist and research leader at the Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit in Columbia, Missouri, and other ARS researchers are being honored for their scientific achievements in a ceremony today in Beltsville, Maryland.

Sadler was one of the first to use satellite data, field sensors and computer technology in research to help farmers make site-specific decisions on how much water and fertilizer to apply and when to apply them. Finding ways to apply water and fertilizer that maximize productivity and minimize environmental risks are key issues for farmers producing corn, wheat, cotton, soybeans and many other crops.

Sadler’s understanding of irrigation practices and soil-plant-water relationships also has advanced our understanding of how seasonal weather patterns, climate change, soil profiles and other factors can affect crop productivity. He has also mentored numerous young scientists and is a leader in focusing research priorities and gathering “big data” from multiple ARS locations to help farmers produce crops more efficiently and sustainably.

ARS also named four 2016 Area Senior Research Scientists. They are —

Gary S. Bañuelos with the Water Management Research Unit in Parlier, California, for the development of alternate crops and bio-based products from phytoremediation strategies used on poor-quality soils.

John J. Burke with the Cropping Systems Research Laboratory in Lubbock, Texas, for outstanding research in plant stress physiology and crop germplasm development designed to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Kamal R. Chauhan with the Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, for sustained productivity and research that has led to novel technologies in Integrated Pest Management.

Jean Y. Guard with the Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit in Athens, Georgia, for research explaining how Salmonella evolves and for developing technologies for identifying strains of bacteria with public-health implications.

ARS is also honoring scientists who are in the early phases of their careers. The early-career awards recognize the achievements of ARS researchers who have been with the agency seven years or less.

The top award in this category, the Herbert L. Rothbart Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist of 2016, will go to Jo Anne Crouch, with the Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. She is being honored for research in the diagnosis, biology and genomics of plant-pathogenic fungi threatening U.S. agriculture.

ARS is honoring four other Area Early Career Research Scientists. They are —

Ray G. Anderson with the U.S. Salinity Laboratory in Riverside, California, for improving our understanding of evapotranspiration, water use efficiency, and salinity assessment at regional scales. Jason W. Karl with the Range Management Research Unit in Las Cruces, New Mexico, for bringing science-based principles and technologies to management of public rangelands.

Torey P. Looft with the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, for pioneering the field of metagenomic analysis of food-producing animals receiving antibiotics in their diets.

Per H. McCord with the Sugarcane Production Research Station in Canal Point, Florida, for outstanding breeding research and leadership.

The agency also announced its 2016 ARS Technology Transfer Award winner. This award recognizes individuals or groups who have done outstanding work in transferring technology to the marketplace. This year’s winner is the team at the National Animal Germplasm Program in Fort Collins, Colorado, for the transfer of genetic resources information and germplasm to a broad base of customers and stakeholders. The team includes Harvey D. Blackburn, Phillip H. Purdy, Scott F. Spiller and Carrie S. Wilson, among other ARS and industry collaborators.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief in-house scientific research agency.