Colorado State University Hires New Department Head for Soil and Crop Sciences

Colorado State University appointed Gary A. Peterson as new department chairman for the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences in July.

"The department is in the process of finding its future," Peterson said. "My goal is to lead the department in directions to be more useful to all citizens of Colorado."

Peterson has been with Colorado State since 1984. He teaches crop and soil management with Jack Fenwick and researches dryland soil management in cooperation with Dwayne Westfall. Peterson initiated the dryland agroecosytem project in 1985, with research goals to increase overall precipitation-use efficiency, decrease soil erosion and reverse the long-term organic matter loss pattern that has accompanied conventional cropping practices in dryland areas.

Peterson was born in Holdrege, Neb., and grew up on a small irrigated corn farm. His formal education was in a one-room, one-teacher school in Phelps County in Nebraska, and he graduated from Holdrege High School, "The Dusters," in 1958.

Peterson received a doctorate degree in soil fertility from Iowa State University and, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in technical agronomy and a master’s of science degree in soil fertility.

Prior to coming to Colorado State, Peterson spent the first 17 years of his career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln teaching courses in introductory soil science, soil management and soil chemistry methods. While at the University of Nebraska, he researched soil fertility problems of wheat and sugar beet.

Peterson is married to wife Jackie, and has two daughters, Kerstin and Ingrid.

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