Global Agriculture

Weed Scientists from Across the Nation Recognized by Peers

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01 May 2023, Colorado: The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and its affiliates recently singled out nearly a dozen of the nation’s most accomplished weed scientists for Fellows awards – a recognition honoring their outstanding contributions to the profession.

“These are individuals who have advanced weed science through innovation, research, teaching, publishing and outreach,” says Carroll Moseley, Ph.D., president of WSSA. “We are delighted to honor them both for their commitment and their impact.”

The awards were presented during the most recent annual meeting of each weed science organization, as indicated below:

Weed Science Society of America (WSSA)

Antonio (Toni) DiTommaso, Ph.D., is a weed science professor and chair of Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University where he focuses on the biology, ecology and management of agricultural weeds and invasive plants. He is coauthor of the widely acclaimed book Manage Weeds on Your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies and of the second edition of Weeds of the Northeast. He also is editor of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management. DiTommaso is a past president of the Northeastern Weed Science Society (NEWSS). He has received numerous teaching and advising awards, including recognitions from NEWSS, WSSA, the Crop Science Society of America, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Peter Porpiglia, Ph.D., is global vice president of product development and technical support at AMVAC Chemical Corporation. He has focused his career on developing and leading research teams in a wide range of agricultural and horticultural disciplines. He previously worked at Syngenta and UPL legacy companies and at Kumiai Chemical Company. He has been involved in the commercialization of over two dozen novel products. Peter has served on the WSSA board and has been active in all the regional weed science organizations. He also has used his commercial and technical experience in weed science to guide graduate students at Ohio State, Iowa State and Cornell universities.

North Central Weed Science Society (NCWSS)

Stott Howard, Ph.D., has spent more than three decades as a scientist with Syngenta Crop Protection. He now heads the Heartland Region for the company’s Crop Protection Field Development organization. He has worked with chemists on the discovery of new herbicides and has served as a global technical manager responsible for strategies promoting effective use of herbicides in corn, cotton and soybean crops. Prior to joining Syngenta, Stott spent five years as an extension weed scientist with Washington State University at the Western Washington Research and Extension Center in Mt. Vernon. He has been an active member of NCWSS for 18 years and served as its president in 2020.

Stevan Z. Knezevic, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he teaches integrated weed management. He is recognized both nationally and internationally for three areas of research and data analysis: the critical period of weed control, dose response and flame weeding. He has earned two dozen previous awards, including an “Innovation Award” from the International Propane Association and Research Council for his work on a new flame weeding machine. He received a “Best Extension Publication” award from the American Society of Agronomy for his Guide for Weed Management in Nebraska and an Outstanding Young Scientist in Crop Protection award from the American Society of Agronomy.

Northeastern Weed Science Society (NEWSS)

Shawn Askew, Ph.D., is a professor, researcher and extension specialist at Virginia Tech where he specializes in turfgrass. He has pioneered new weed management solutions that have been widely adopted across the U.S. and parts of Asia – used by golf courses and other sports fields, as well as in lawn care and sod production. He is a highly sought-after speaker and has been recognized throughout his career with numerous awards. Among them are the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services award for Outstanding Performance in Pesticide Safety Education and awards from WSSA for his extension work and efforts as an early career weed scientist. He also has previously served as president of NEWSS.

Southern Weed Science Society (SWSS)

Gary Schwarzlose, MS, is a principal field agronomist with Bayer Research and Development where he evaluates early phase herbicide, insecticide, fungicide and seed growth chemistries in various cropping systems. He also leads a team that evaluates new software applications and delivers training in how to use software for trial and data management. Gary is a past president of the Texas Plant Protection Association (TPPA), the American Peanut Research and Education Society (APRES) and the SWSS board. Among his most recent awards are a TPPA lifetime achievement award and a special achievement award from the West Texas Agricultural Institutes. He also was recently named a Fellow of APRES.

Larry Steckel, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Tennessee where he holds a weed science extension and research appointment. His extensive applied research program focuses on the biology and management of herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth, junglerice and horseweed in row crops. Larry has received numerous awards for his research – among them a Conservation System Cotton Researcher of the Year award from the National Conservation System Cotton and Rice Conference and an Ag Research Impact Award from the University of Tennessee. Larry also has a highly regarded, nationally recognized extension program that helps farmers, consultants and county agents navigate challenging weed management problems.

Western Society of Weed Science (WSWS)

Brad Hanson, Ph.D., works at the University of California-Davis where he is a professor of cooperative extension and conducts basic and applied research on weed management issues faced by growers and land managers. Among his many awards and honors are a 2016 recognition by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources as an Outstanding New Academic and a 2020 Graduate Advising and Mentoring Award from UC Davis Graduate Studies. He is a former associate editor for the journal Weed Technology. Brad has served on the WSWS board and on a number of committees. He also has been very active in both WSSA and the California Society of Weed Science.

Corey Ransom, Ph.D., is an associate professor and extension weed scientist at Utah State University. He has been recognized as a Graduate Research Mentor of the Year by the College of Agriculture and as a Teacher of the Year by the Department of Plants, Soils and Climate. Corey served as WSWS president in 2020-2021 – a particularly challenging time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has chaired the annual meeting site selection committee, the research section and the necrology committee, served as a student paper judge, and served on the WSWS board as the constitution and operating procedures representative. He has been an active member of the WSSA and local weed science organizations in Utah and Oregon.

Aquatic Plant Management Society (APMS)

Honorary members are the APMS equivalent of the Fellows awards presented by WSSA and its regional affiliates. At its most recent annual meeting, APMS presented honorary member awards to two individuals:

Joe Bondra, recently deceased, was a well-respected leader in the aquatic plant management industry. He began his career in the 1990s at Cygnet Enterprises, Inc. where he helped grow the company into a leader in aquatic plant management product distribution. He later became president and owner of the company. Joe demonstrated his commitment to the industry through his involvement with multiple societies and committees, including APMS, the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society, the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), the Pesticide Advisory Committee for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Michigan Aquatic Managers Association.

William H. Culpepper founded SePRO Corporation in 1994 – a business focused on the development of sustainable plant protection and water resource management products. SePRO rapidly became a leader in technologies to protect and restore water resources. Bill currently serves as the company’s board chair. He also founded RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), which is a leading voice for the specialty pesticide industry. Bill has generously supported research initiatives, especially at his alma mater, North Carolina State University, where he received the Watauga Medal—the organization’s highest nonacademic honor. He also has been honored by CropLife Americas with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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