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James N. Seiber
James N. Seiber

 James N. Seiber Delivers 2018 ARS Sterling B. Hendricks Memorial Lecture at ACS National Meeting

By Kim Kaplan
August 21, 2018

BOSTON, August 21, 2018—“Pathogens and Pesticides—Research Topics in Food and Environmental Safety” was the title of James N. Seiber’s 2018 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Sterling B. Hendricks Memorial Lecture, delivered today at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall National Meeting in Boston.

Seiber is internationally recognized for raising concerns about how scientists evaluate the risks to our food supply and our environment associated with pesticide use and how to balance such risks against the need for pesticides to support strong agricultural production systems.

In the Hendricks Lecture, he pointed out these are “critical issues for researchers to address, especially as world population and globalization of the food supply expand; land and water devoted to agriculture is at a premium; and climate change exerts pressure on the nexus of food, energy and water.”

Consumer expectations for food quality and healthfulness continue to expand, which further compounds these issues, Seiber pointed out.

“Understanding important risk elements in our food supply including pathogens and how to keep them at bay from farm to fork is going to be essential to our future,” Seiber said.

He also advised “young scientists to engage in public policy activities that can help their research be relevant to societal needs.”

Seiber currently is a professor emeritus in the Department of Environmental Toxicology at the University of California at Davis. Prior to that, Seiber served as director of ARS’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California, from 1998 to 2008, and as Director of the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The breadth of his research and expertise is notable. He has published across the fields of agricultural and food chemistry; pesticide transport and fate, analysis of pesticides and other contaminants in water, soil, foods and the atmosphere; new disposal and decontamination methods for chemical, agricultural and food wastes; new methods for controlling agricultural pests; human exposure analysis; environmental chemistry associated with biofuels; international food and agricultural systems; and regulation of pesticides and contaminants.

ARS established this Lectureship in 1981 to honor the memory of a remarkable scientist, Sterling B. Hendricks, and to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to the chemical science of agriculture. For more information about the Sterling B. Hendricks Lecture, see

For more information contact Kim Kaplan, ARS Office of Communications.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.