Colorado State University Soil and Crop Scientists to be Honored at International Meetings

Several professors, a key partner and a promising student in the Colorado State University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences will be honored this month during the 2012 international meetings of leading agronomy, crop and soil science societies.

More than 4,000 scientists, agricultural professionals, educators and students from around the globe are expected to attend meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The scientific gatherings will be Oct. 21-24 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

More than 3,000 research presentations will be featured. They will address issues such as: ecosystem impacts of manufactured nanoparticles; links between organic farming, healthy soils and healthy foods; use of “grey” wastewater for farm irrigation; and strategies for addressing food security in the face of climate change.

Top scientists also will be recognized, including several people who work in or with the CSU Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.

The three societies will honor:

Donald Hodgkinson, Golden Opportunity Scholar. Hodgkinson, from Burlington, Colo., is a senior majoring in soil and crop sciences with a concentration in plant biotechnology, genetics and breeding. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in plant breeding after graduation in May. As a Golden Opportunity Scholar, Hodgkinson will take part in a special mentorship program during the scientific meetings to gain guidance, professional contacts and encouragement in his chosen career field.

The American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America both will recognize:

Darrell L. Hanavan, honorary member. Hanavan is executive director of Colorado Wheat, based in Fort Collins, and as a leader of the Colorado wheat industry works closely with the CSU Wheat Breeding and Genetics Program. With financial support and research input from Colorado Wheat, the CSU program has successfully developed high-quality, high-yielding and drought-tolerant wheat varieties embraced by farmers because they perform well in the state’s challenging climactic conditions.

The Crop Science Society of America will honor:

Patrick Byrne, society fellow. Byrne is graduate student coordinator and a professor of plant breeding and genetics in the CSU Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. His research focuses on the application of quantitative and molecular genetics to crop improvement. Since 2000, Byrne has led public outreach programs on the risks and benefits of genetically engineered crops, making presentations statewide, nationally and internationally on the hot-button topic. He has established an educational website at

The Soil Science Society of America will honor:

Gary “Pete” Peterson, Distinguished Service Award. Peterson is a professor emeritus and former head of the CSU Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. He served as president of the Soil Science Society of America in 2008. Peterson also has served as editor-in-chief of American Society of Agronomy publications, and as editor, soils-technical editor, and soils-associate editor for Agronomy Journal. His research has focused on the application of soil science principles to management problems in the field, with emphasis on dryland cropping systems that conserve water and minimize soil erosion. He has been a major professor dozens of graduate students and has authored or co-authored numerous scientific papers.

Rajiv Khosla, Applied Research Award. Khosla, a professor of precision agriculture in the CSU Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, has developed an undergraduate program in applied information technology in agriculture. He has served as president of the International Society of Precision Agriculture. Khosla also serves on a federal panel, called the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board. The board, sponsored by NASA, helps develop national policy on the use of space-based technologies. In 2012-13, Khosla holds an appointment as a Jefferson Science Fellow. The fellowship program, coordinated by the National Academies, allows Khosla to work with the U.S. Department of State to shape federal policy on global food security.