Writer: Beth Ann Luedeker

Dr. Clark Neely, Soil and Crop Sciences Assistant Professor and AgriLife Extension small grains and oilseed specialist, was named as the new president of the Texas Plant Protection Association at their 30th annual conference December 5.

Dr. Clark Neely holding gavel
Dr. Clark Neely is the new president of the Texas Plant Protection Association. (TAMU Soil and Crop Sciences photo by: Beth Ann Luedeker)

Neely joined the department as a graduate research assistant in 2010 after earning his Master of Science in Plant Science from the University of Idaho. He received his B.S. in Agriculture Extension and Education with minors in Agronomy and Animal Science from The Pennsylvania State University.

He has been in his current role since 2013.

As the state extension specialist for small grains and oilseed crops, Neely works with producers, industry and faculty across the state of Texas, to promote environmentally and economically sound agronomic practices.

He coordinates the statewide Uniform Variety Trials for wheat, conducting research on water use efficiency, yield improvements and sustainable practices which will best meet the global food demands and provide a profitable income stream for producers, while being environmentally sustainable.

Neely accepted the gavel from out-going president Dr. Kranthi Mandadi.

Soil and Crop Sciences Master’s student Colby Scott Ratcliff was recognized as the TPPA Outstanding Graduate Student for 2018.

This award is given to a graduate student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at TAMU who enters a poster or paper at the annual meeting, has record of excellence in the graduate program and has made a significant contribution to Texas production agriculture.

Two men presenting plaque to student
Colby Ratcliff received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for 2018 from TPPA. Pictured are past president Kranthi Mandadi, Ratcliff, and association board chairman Ray Smith. (TAMU Soil and Crop Sciences photo by: Beth Ann Luedeker)

Ratcliff, who is working under the supervision of Dr. Seth Murray, earned his B.S. in Agriculture Economics at Texas A&M in 2016. At that time he had not considered graduate school.

“I started working for Dr. Murray as an undergraduate student worker,” Ratcliff said. “As I was nearing the end of my undergraduate career, we were in the middle of a corn field and began discussing grad school. Dr. Murray offered me a spot in his breeding program, and began working on my Master’s in Agronomy right after graduating in December of 2016.”

He has played a large role in the planting, agronomics and data collection of the Genomes to Fields collaborative project in College Station and has shown great leadership in the Maize Breeding and Quanititative Genetics program, Dr. Murray said in his nomination of Ratcliff.

Ratcliff has accepted a position with J.R. Simplot Grower Solutions as a Crop Advisor-Technical Services Representative in College Station. He will complete his research work this spring (while employed) and receive his Master’s in May, 2019.

In the TPPA Ph.D. student poster contest, James Griffin, a Plant Breeding student under Dr. Gaylon Morgan, claimed first place. His poster highlights research on the efficacy of cotton recovery sprays on injury caused by dicamba and 2,4 D.

In the Plant Identification contest, Dale Mott, AgriLife Extension program specialist under Dr. Gaylon Morgan, placed third.

Three men, one holding a plaque
Ph.D. poster contest winner, James Griffin, center with past president Kranthi Mandadi and Pete Eure, poster chairman. (TAMU Soil and Crop Sciences photo by Beth Ann Luedeker)