|1983||Ph.D., Cornell University (Agronomy/Crop Science)|
|1979||M.S., Cornell University (Agronomy/Crop Science)|
|1976||BSc (Agr), McGill University (Plant Science/Agronomy)|
|1970||B.A., Goshen College (Biology)|
|2004-present||Professor, Auburn University|
|1996-2004||Associate Professor, Auburn University|
|1990-1996||Assistant Professor, Auburn University|
|1985-1990||Scientist/Agronomist, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Democratic Republic of Congo|
|1983-1985||Junior Scientist/Grain Legume Agronomist, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria|
|2006-present||Faculty Distance Education Coordinator, Department of Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences|
|1992-2001||Campus Coordinator for Auburn University, Productive Land Use Systems Project, USAID/Haiti|
|1990-1991||Senior Agroforester, Agroforestry II Project, USAID/Haiti|
|1989-1990||Advisor to National Maize Program, Lubumbashi, Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo)|
|1985-1989||Advisor to National Legume Program, Gandajika, Zaire|
Honors and Awards
|Appointed by Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) to the BIFAD Task Force on Haiti, 2010|
|Phi Beta Delta, 1993|
|American Society of Agronomy|
|Crop Science Society of America|
|Soil Science Society of America|
|Alabama Medicinal Plant Growers Association (founding member)|
My current research, which began in 2006, focuses on medicinal crops as potential new cash crops for Alabama. The goal is to identify medicinal plant species that are adapted to Alabama with market potential and determine cropping practices and varieties that enhance the quantity and yield of bioactive compounds. We are currently focusing on ways to increase concentration and yield of curcumin in turmeric (Curcuma longa). This can be achieved by selecting for varieties with high concentration of curcumin and extending the growing season. We are also studying the effect of shade on rhizome yield and curcumin concentration. Past research has been on American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and on Astragalus membranaceous.
Prior research focused on alley cropping, an agroforestry system in which annual crops are grown between rows of closely-planted N-fixing trees that are pruned and the prunings applied to the soil as mulch. The goal was to sustain and increase maize yields through application of N-rich leaves as mulch. My research focused on management of the tree hedgerows to optimize maize yield and tree biomass production by controlling pruning regimes to minimize tree-crop competition. We also studied alley cropping as a cost-effective alternative to conventional terraces for soil and water conservation on sloping land, measuring runoff, sediment and nutrient losses and crop yield. We examined the effects of hedgerow pruning regime on competition for water, light and nutrients in maize grown in the alleys.
We assessed over 35 hedgerow species under a range of environmental conditions (rainfall, elevation, temperature, soils) in Haiti, compared alley cropping with other soil conservation barriers, and assessed hedgerow management practices in alley cropping. We studied N cycling and P and K fertility in relation to alley cropping, and N, C, P and K release rates from decomposing leaves of tree hedgerows. Two trials were conducted for 14 or more seasons of continuous cropping, giving us long-term data that is available for only a few alley cropping sites around the world. This research enables us to develop comprehensive recommendations on alley cropping for Haiti and similar environments.
Current outreach activities focus on providing support for medicinal plant growers in Alabama through the Alabama Medicinal Plant Growers Association and through support to the Medicinal Plant Garden on the Agronomy Farm. Ms. Tia Gonzales is curator of the garden and provides monthly tours during the summer months as well as individualized group tours and workshops. I also coordinate our department’s distance education program, which provides graduate degrees in Agronomy and Soils, in Turfgrass Management, and in Soil, Water and Environmental Science.
The goal of my international outreach is to increase productivity and sustainability of agricultural production through agronomic research and technical assistance. I am currently involved with a USAID Feed the Future project in northern Haiti and in a training of Haitian soil scientists in soil survey. In the past, I have provided technical assistance in alley cropping in the Jequitinhonha Valley in Brazil, as well as in Haiti. I supported on-farm research and provided other technical assistance with USAID, USDA and the World Bank projects in Haiti. For 10 years, I provided leadership for technical assistance to USAID’s Productive Land Use Systems Project, and was responsible for agronomic, agroforestry, tree improvement and marketing research. I have also had small activities in Vietnam, West Africa and Kenya. Prior to coming to Auburn, I provided research support to the Ministry of Agriculture in Congo and carried out grain legume research in Nigeria.
Recent COURSES Taught
Soil Resources and Conservation. Taught Fall semesters