UT AgResearch Names New Director of West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center
Jul 27, 2020
Known for researching agronomic and horticultural crops since its establishment in 1907, the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center supports the work of scientists from several University of Tennessee departments. It also supports several USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists and houses UT Extension’s Western Region Office as well as some offices of the UT Institute of Public Service and UT Martin. The scientists conduct more than 100 investigations annually, with an emphasis on corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat production dating back to the founding of the center. In more recent years, forestry and ornamental and turfgrass research have also been emphasized, as the center is home to the UT Gardens, Jackson, one of three sites of Tennessee’s State Botanical Garden.
Once situated on the outskirts of the city, the center includes 647 acres near downtown Jackson. The land features 18 different soil types, which makes it a uniquely valuable facility for agricultural research.
Stewart is no stranger to the center, having worked there as a faculty member of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology since 2002. Prior to that, he served at Mississippi State University for seven years. His pedigree includes serving as author, co-author, or presenter on hundreds of scientific papers as well as shepherding nine students through graduate school. Stewart himself earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Northern Iowa, a master’s degree in entomology from Texas A&M, and his doctorate in entomology from Auburn University.
Among his best-known efforts has been as a leader in the development of the popular UTCrops.com website and news blog, which together serve as a hub of historic and week-by-week information for crop producers in West Tennessee and the Mid South.
Stewart will be the seventh director of the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. He replaces Robert Hayes who has retiring on Sept. 30. He served at the West Tennessee AgResearch Center for 42 years, first as a weed scientist and since 2002 as center director.
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