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Jose, Jr Franco

Research Ecologist


Dr. Jose G. Franco, Jr. serves as a Research Ecologist at the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory (NGPRL) under the leadership of Dr. John Hendrickson. Jose is a post-doctoral research associate with an interest in agroecology and the application of ecological theory to crop production. His research emphasis is on integrated and alternative cropping systems and, more specifically, on the mutualistic interactions between species and how this affects plant growth, resource allocation, and above- and below-ground interactions. His work at the NGPRL will focus on alternative cropping strategies and on species interactions in mixed cropping and integrated crop-livestock systems and how they affect short- and long-term yields, and their ability to enhance ecosystem services and build resiliency into production systems. Jose’s previous research in Texas included multi-functional organic intercropping of vegetables to reduce plant water stress, enhance resource-use efficiency, and maximize total food production and on integrated cropping approaches to reduce salt stress on watermelon and introduce value-added crops. Jose is a member of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Board, Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, Soil and Water Conservation Society, Crop Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, and the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Photo of Jose Franco   Jose Franco, a research ecologist at the NGPRL, collecting above-ground plant biomass as visitors look on.

Publications and  Abstracts



Scientific Posters


Perennial Forage Stand Duration Impacts on Spring Wheat Yields in a Semiarid Cropping System

Long-Term Agroecosystem Research: The Potential for Sunflower to Provide Multiple Ecosystem Services in Diverse Cropping Systems

Morphological Plasticity in Watermelon in Response to Interspecific Competition in a Low-Resource Intercropping System

Multifunctional Intercropping as a Cultural Strategy to Reduce Weed Pressure for Small-Scale Organic Vegetable Production


Research Experience


2015 - present: Research Ecologist, USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND.


Educational Background


Texas A&M University; Ecosystem Science and Management; Ph.D. 2015.

New Mexico State University; Rangeland Science; M.S. 2007.

University of Texas at El Paso; Biological Sciences; B.S. 2004.