Presenting the Candidates for the 2021 SWSS Officer Elections
Vice President – Eric Castner
Eric Castner is the Western Regional Technical Manager for FMC and resides in Pauls Valley, OK where his current responsibilities include technical support of new and existing FMC products as well as leading a team of FMC Technical Service Managers in the Western US. Prior to his career with FMC, he spent 1.5 years with Corteva Agriscience as the Southern and Specialties Integrated Field Science Leader and 28 years with DuPont Crop Protection as a member of the US Field Development organization and Southern Field Development Manager. While at Corteva and DuPont, his responsibilities included oversight of the research and development effort in the Southern US as well as leading the Field Development team in this geography. Prior to moving to Texas in 2001, Eric worked for DuPont as a Field Development Representative in Louisiana (1993-2001) and as a Sales Representative in Columbia, SC (1990-1993). Eric received his B.S in Agronomy from Oklahoma State University in 1986 and his M.S. in Agronomy – Weed Science from Oklahoma State University in 1988. His first became member of the Southern Weed Science Society in 1986 and continues to be active in the society and currently serves on the SWSS Board in the capacity of Industry Member at Large.
Eric was the President of the Texas Plant Protection Association (2015) which is comprised of approximately 300 members representing university research and extension, independent consultants, farmers as well as the manufacturers and retailers of agricultural products. Eric continues to be very active in the Texas Plant Protection Association where he currently serves on the board of directors. While in Louisiana, Eric was very active in the Louisiana Plant Protection Association where he served as President in 1998. Eric has been married to his wife, Lori for 35 years and they have two sons. Their oldest son, Matt is a Mechanical Engineer (OSU – 2014) and resides in Broken Arrow, OK and their youngest son, Mason is a graduate of Oklahoma State University – Plant and Soil Science and is working towards MS and PhD degrees in Weed Science at the University of Arkansas. Lori is beginning her 30th year as an elementary teacher and teaches in Elmore City, OK.
Vice President – Jacob Reed
Jacob Reed is a Trait Development Site Manager with BASF Corporation in Lubbock, Texas. He is a native of Canadian, Texas. Jacob received his B.S. with a double major in Science and Religion from Wayland Baptist University in 1998, his M.S. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Kansas State University in 2001, and his Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science from Texas Tech University in 2012. Jacob spent eight years at Texas AgriLife Research, working in peanut physiology and weed science and being honored with Wayland’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award and the Texas A&M Department of Soil and Crop Science Special Achievement Award for Graduate Research Support. He has worked for BASF for seven years and previously managed field research trials in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. In his current role, Jacob is responsible for managing a Trait Development research site and oversees site operations, safety, budgets, and training. He is a member of the Weed Science Society of America, the Southern Weed Science Society, and Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture. He is very active in the SWSS serving as chair of the Sustaining Membership Committee, member of the Finance and Continuing Education Units Committees, and volunteer judge for the Graduate Student Contest. Jacob is married to Georgia and they have two daughters and a son.
Member at Large (Industry) – Andy Kendig
Andy Kendig received a BS in Agriculture (Agronomy) from the University of Missouri in 1988, Worked two years in the lawn-care industry and then completed MS and PhD degrees at the University of Arkansas in Agronomy (Weed Science). From 1992 he was an Extension Associate and Extension Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri Delta Research Center managing a research and extension program in cotton, rice, soybean, corn and winter wheat. His research focused on economical and environmentally sound weed control programs with a strong emphasis on herbicide resistance as well as postemergence use patterns with imazethapyr in imidazolinone-resistant rice. In addition to a traditional extension program in Missouri and the Mid-South, he developed a new training program at the University of Missouri Delta Center for professional crop advisors, was field day chair, supervised two MS students and served on graduate committees of five additional students. In 2018 he became an adjunct professor with the University of Missouri to serve on additional degree committees. Since leaving he has worked in development and tech service roles with Monsanto, Cheminova, UPL and ADAMA.
His professional activities and service roles include the board of directors of SWSS, NCWSS, Rice Industry Outlook Conference, Missouri Certified Crop Advisor Board (Chair from 2001-2001), and Missouri Agriculture Industries Council. He was program chair for the Beltwide Cotton Conference Weed Science Sessions (1999 and 200), Rice Technical Working Group Weed Science Sessions (2000) society, SWSS Education Regulatory Program (2001), SWSS New Developments from Industry (1997) and the NCWSS New Developments from Industry for 2018. He has been a member of the SWSS resistance committee from 1994 to present (Secretary and Cahir in 1997 and 1998), Computer application committee chair from 2005 to 2007, volunteered at SWSS and NCWSS contests and hosted the event in 2000.
Member at Large (Industry) – Bruce Kirksey
K. Bruce Kirksey, Ph.D. is Director of Farm and Research at Agricenter International where he manages the farm and conducts field research trials on 600 acres. He works with all segments of the agriculture industry as he establishes product development, variety testing, and new crop interests on corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat, rice, and other crops. In his career, he has been involved in research and development with several companies and has over 30 years of experience in experimental trials. Kirksey has a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Tennessee at Martin and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Kirksey is active in presenting papers at research conferences and is involved in many professional organizations such as the Weed Science Society of America, Southern Weed Science Society, National Cotton Council, American Seed Trade Association, Mississippi Seedmen’s Association, Southern Seed Association, Tennessee Agricultural Production Association, and the Memphis Agricultural Club.
Member at-large (Academia) – Tom Barber
Tom received his M.S degree in Weed Science from University of Arkansas in 2000 and Ph.D. in Weed Science from Mississippi State University in 2004. In 2004 he accepted a position as Assistant Professor Extension Cotton Specialist for Mississippi State University. In 2007 he moved back to his home state of Arkansas and held an Associate Professor Cotton Extension Agronomist position with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture until 2012. He currently serves as Professor and Extension Weed Scientist with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and Director of the Newport Extension Center. Tom’s extension and applied research program focuses on weed control and weed resistance management outreach in Arkansas. Each year he conducts over 100 applied research trials in all major Arkansas row-crops including: corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanut, rice, and soybean. Tom has been an active member of SWSS since 1998 and has volunteered to judge numerous years for the student paper and poster contest. He has served as vice president and president of the graduate student organization, on the Sales Coordination committee, Local Arrangements committee, and as chair of the poster session. He currently serves on the Sustaining Membership committee, Continuing Education committee and the Finance committee.
Member at-large (Academia) – Jim Brosnan
Dr. Brosnan is a Professor in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee (UT) and Director of the UT Weed Diagnostics Center. In this role, he leads research, extension, and diagnostic programs targeting the needs of Tennessee’s $5.8 billion turfgrass industry.
Dr. Brosnan maintains an active research program focused on control of problematic weeds in turfgrass systems, particularly biotypes evolving herbicide resistance. Efforts have led to authorship of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles in his career and mentorship of six M.S and Ph.D. students, all whom moved into positions within academia or industry.
Dr. Brosnan is an active member of the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and the Southern Weed Science Society (SWSS). He currently serves on the SWSS Board of Directors, several WSSA committees, and has been Associate Editor for Weed Technology. In his career, Dr. Brosnan has been recognized with the Northeastern Weed Science Society (NEWSS) Outstanding Researcher Award, the NEWSS Outstanding Educator Award, as well as the SWSS Outstanding Young Weed Scientist Award. He was also the recipient of the Crop Science Society of America Young Crop Scientist Award, as well as the Sports Turf Managers Association Dr. William H. Daniel Award, the highest honor their association bestows upon an educator. Dr. Brosnan serves as an advisor to the Tennessee Turfgrass Association Board of Directors, and is actively involved with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Sports Turf Managers Association,
and Turfgrass Producers International. He has consulted at multiple venues on the PGA Tour (including several major championship host sites) in addition to National Football League franchises.
Endowment Board Trustee – Sandeep Rana
Dr. Sandeep Rana grew up in a family of agricultural researchers and administrators on the campus of CCS Haryana Agricultural University (HAU), a public-funded agricultural university located in Hisar, Haryana, India. He was destined to become an engineer but some forward-looking conversations with his Plant Pathologist father motivated him to pursue a career in agricultural sciences instead. He still considers that to be the best career decision he has made so far. Sandeep completed his B.Sc. (Honors) in Agriculture and started with an M.S. degree in Horticultural Biotechnology at CCS HAU before coming to the USA to start his journey as a weed scientist.
In 2010, Sandeep moved to University of Arkansas to pursue his M.S. in Weed Science under the guidance of Dr. Jason K. Norsworthy. After completing the M.S. in 2013, Sandeep went ahead to earn his Ph.D. in Turfgrass Weed Science (2016) from Virginia Tech under the direction of Dr. Shawn D. Askew. He also spent a short but fruitful time at North Carolina State University working with Dr. Wesley J. Everman as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar (2017). In fall 2017, Sandeep started his professional career as an Agronomic Research Manager in Galena, MD, with Monsanto Company. With the long-term goal of contributing to cutting-edge research and production technology that address critical needs of productivity and sustainability of global agriculture, Sandeep currently serves as the North America Agronomic Research Lead for Bayer Crop Science. In this role, Sandeep provides strategic, technical, and people leadership to a team of scientists that aid in field testing, protocol development, and trial execution of new biotechnology traits, crop protection products, and system improvement concepts. He works with cross-functional and multi-disciplinary teams and acts as a liaison between applied agriculture and next-generation biotechnology and precision agriculture tools. To date, Sandeep has authored and co-authored 8 peer-reviewed journal articles, over 60 abstracts, 18 extension and outreach publications, and over 50 extension and other scientific presentations. He thoroughly enjoys reviewing scientific articles and have reviewed over 30 papers across 6 journals and serve as an Associate Editor for Agronomy Journal and Open Agriculture Journal.
Sandeep considers SWSS as his home society and has been actively involved in numerous SWSS activities since his graduate school days. He has learned a lot from this society and its extremely talented members. Sandeep is always ready to give back to the society in whatever way he can to help make SWSS members experience, especially students, at least as enriching as the one he continues to have. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Sandeep is happily stuck in Middletown, DE, with his beautiful wife, Trisha Sanwal Rana, and a handsome 8-month-old son, Aveer Rana. Sandeep and his family will relocate to Chesterfield, MO for his new role as soon as things start to get back on track.
Endowment Board Trustee – Adam Hixson
Adam is currently a Technical Service Representative with BASF Corporation responsible for numerous crops, including cotton, corn, sorghum, wheat, alfalfa, sunflowers, pecans, and many others. His territory includes West Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. He has been with BASF for 12 years, spending his first 3 years in Raleigh, NC as a part of the Research and Development group working as a project leader in Soybean Herbicide Development. Adam has a B.S. degree in Entomology from Texas A&M University (2000), a M.S. in Nematology from University of Florida (2003), and Ph.D. in Weed Science from North Carolina State University (2008).
Adam has been involved in the SWSS since 2003, both as a graduate student and industry representative. He served as the Graduate Student Organization president in 2007-2008 where he developed a deep appreciation for the society and its mission to provide solutions to growers’ ever-changing weed challenges. He has served as graduate student contest judge numerous times giving him the privileged opportunity to interact with the future leaders in the Weed Science discipline. Adam currently resides in Lubbock, TX, the center of the largest cotton patch in the world, where he enjoys spending his free time with his wife, Kelly, son, Chase, and daughter, Kylie.