New Head of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences aims to engage with students and stakeholders in first year


Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards plans to launch as the newly appointed Department Head of the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences for the Agriculture System Division at the University of Arkansas and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Edwards)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jeff Edwards plans to embark on his new role as Head of the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences for the Agriculture Systems Division at the University of Arkansas and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural , Food and Life Sciences.

Edwards, who takes charge of the department on Jan. 10, said he wanted his first year on the job to be focused on knowing students and stakeholders.

“I want to interact with as many people as possible to learn more about the University of Arkansas system and the people we serve,” he said. “I want to know more about our research and extension programs and how I could help them accomplish our mission.”

Edwards said his long-term goals for the CSES department will rest on a solid foundation. “Throughout the interview process, I was impressed with the investments made in people and facilities,” he said.

“My goal is to build on current strengths and successes to ensure the ministry remains a nationally and internationally recognized leader in improving agricultural systems and increasing environmental sustainability,” said Edwards. “I am very excited about this opportunity.”

Edwards’ role as head of department at CSES will encompass the three missions of the land grant university: research through the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station; extension activities through the cooperative extension service; and education by Bumpers College.

Deacue Fields, Dean of Bumpers College, said, “I am extremely happy that Jeff is joining our team. I met Jeff at the Food Systems Leadership Institute a few years ago, and I was impressed with his accomplishments in Oklahoma State.

“You don’t often have the chance to hire someone with their reputation and proven track record of leadership as a department head,” said Fields. “Jeff has the vision to continue to build national awareness of our Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences department, and it’s a bonus that he completed his graduate studies here at the U of A. “

Edwards comes to Arkansas from Oklahoma State University, where he served as the Department Head for the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences since 2015. Prior to that, he was Warth Emeritus Professor of Agronomy at OSU.

Edwards said students became more connected to the plant and soil science department during his tenure as department head at OSU. “I worked to develop a family atmosphere and we were all part of the family working for the same goal,” he said.

Edwards also said he was proud of the new faculty hires and the faculty mentoring process he has put in place at OSU, “to make sure they are successful.”

“We feel very fortunate to have attracted someone with Jeff’s experience and stature to the scientific community,” said Jean-François Meullenet, senior associate vice president-agriculture and director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. “Jeff is an experienced leader and we believe he is the right fit right now to lead the department and we look forward to Jeff’s arrival in January and the hires of much needed faculty at CSES.”

Meullenet also praised the efforts of the Deputy Director of the Experimental Station, Nathan Slaton, who has served as the Interim Head of the Department since January 2021. “I would like to salute the excellent work that Dr Nathan Slaton has done on an ad interim basis to the CSES, ”he said.

Edwards’ appointment as head of the CSES department will bring him back to where he completed his graduate studies. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky., Edwards received his master’s degree in weed science and his doctorate. in Crop Physiology at the University of Arkansas.

“I’ve known Dr. Edwards since my graduate studies,” said Bob Scott, associate senior vice president of agriculture and director of the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. “He’s a fellow weed specialist and comes to us with a lot of experience in row crop production as well as in the administration of his positions in the state of Oklahoma. We are very happy to welcome Jeff to our agriculture team. “

“I just have such a connection with Arkansas,” Edwards said. “I am originally from Kentucky, but Arkansas is my home in my book.”

“It’s like playing varsity track somewhere and coming back and training,” he said.

To learn more about the Division of Agriculture’s research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at @ArkAgResearch.

To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter at @AR_Extension and Instagram at @ Arkansas.Extension.

To learn more about the Agriculture Division, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.

About the Agriculture Division

The mission of the University of Arkansas Agriculture Systems Division is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting reliable research with adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Agriculture Division conducts research and extension work within the historical education system of land grants in the country.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities in the University of Arkansas system. It has offices in all 75 counties of Arkansas and faculty on five campuses in the system.

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture System offers all of its extension and research programs and services regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information or any other status protected by law, and is an affirmative action / equal opportunity employer.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in businesses associated with food, family, environment, agriculture, sustainability and quality of life. human life; and who will be the prime candidates for employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named after Dale Bumpers, a former governor of Arkansas and a longtime U.S. senator who made the state a major player in national and international agriculture. For more information on Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @ Bumpers College and Instagram at BumpersCollege.


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