Auburn soil science professor named center director at West Florida REC

weswood

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences this week named Wes Wood, an expert in nutrient management, to head its West Florida Research and Education Center in Jay and Milton, Fla.

Wood is currently a professor of soil science at Auburn University, where he is also the coordinator for the university-wide environmental science undergraduate major. In addition to teaching classes in nutrient management, soils and environmental quality, Wood conducts research on carbon and nutrient cycling in managed and natural ecosystems.

Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at UF, said the university is fortunate to have someone of Wood’s talents.

“Dr. Wood is an accomplished scientist, with a great love of agriculture and the environment,” Payne said.  “I know he will do an outstanding job for IFAS.”

Wood said he is thrilled to join the UF/IFAS faculty.

“I’m very happy and excited to be joining the team at West Florida Research and Education Center,” Wood said. “I’m looking forward to working with the producers and students in West Florida to improve production and conservation of resources.”

Farmers in that area of the state grow peanuts, cotton and vegetables, while ranchers raise cattle. IFAS conducts production research at its station in Jay, while UF provides degree programs at its Milton campus in natural resource conservation, plant science-environmental horticulture, or golf and sports turf management.

Wood has published more than 130 peer-reviewed articles and conducted research in Eastern Europe, South and Central America, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. He has also served as associate editor and soil science technical editor for the Agronomy Journal, has won awards for research, and is a Fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America. Wood has procured more than $6 million in grant funding.

Since joining the Auburn faculty in 1990, more than 25 graduate students have received advanced degrees under Wood’s guidance.  Before moving to Auburn, Wood was a research associate at Mississippi State University, from which he received his master’s degree in soil science and a bachelor’s degree in agronomy, and Colorado State University, from which he received his doctorate.

Barry Brecke, an emeritus professor in weed science, is currently serving as interim center director. Wood is expected to begin his new appointment with UF/IFAS Feb. 1, 2014.