Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Arkansas Ag Scientists Recognized for Conservation Work in Rice, Soybeans

⋅ BY MARY HIGHTOWER ⋅
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

Trent Roberts and Caio Vieira, faculty members with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, were recognized for their conservation work in rice and soybeans at the National Conservation Systems conference.

Trent Roberts, left, and Caio Viera, accepting awards at the National Conservation Systems Conference.

Roberts, interim head of crop, soil and environmental sciences as well as the Endowed Chair of Soil Fertility Research was awarded Rice Researcher of the Year. Vieira, assistant professor of soybean breeding, was honored as Soybean Researcher of the Year at the National Conservation Systems conferences on Jan. 30-31 in Jonesboro. Both have appointments with the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the division’s research arm. Roberts also has a division Extension appointment and both have teaching appointments in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

Roberts was honored for his work in rice fertility. Among other roles, he’s director of the N-STaR program, short for Nitrogen-Soil Test for Rice, established to help growers in the nation’s top rice-growing state. N-STaR enables growers to test for organic nitrogen, a more usable nutrient for rice. He has also had a hand in developing management recommendations for furrow-irrigated rice; examining the benefits of using the Greenseeker handheld for nitrogen management in rice; and investigating use of cover crops in Mid-South rice rotations.

“It is an honor and privilege to receive the Rice Researcher of the Year award,” Roberts said. “Although this is not a team award, I would be remiss if I did not thank all the staff and students who have contributed to the success of our program over the years. I am proud to work in rice and hope that our work continues to make meaningful impacts within the industry.”

Caught off Guard

Caio joined the experiment station in 2023. The award recognized contributions to soybean breeding in the Mid-South. His work includes identification of natural tolerance to off-target dicamba exposure, breeding for resistance to stressors including southern root-knot nematode, and breeding for tolerance to stressors like flood and drought. The award also recognized contributions based on implementation of data analytics in breeding decisions, such as genomic prediction models.

“I have an entire team supporting me every day,” Vieira said. “I am happy to ‘bring this back home’ and share the results of our work with my team.”

Roberts said that “Dr. Vieira’s recognition highlights the meaningful impact he’s had on soybean cultivar enhancement during his short tenure leading the UADA soybean breeding program.

“Although his contributions began as a master’s student and continued through his Ph.D. and early career since joining our department, his success provides a glimpse into the continued growth and excellence of our UADA breeding programs,” Roberts said.

Industry Impacts

“I am very happy for both Trent and Caio to be recognized as Rice and Soybean researchers of the year,” said Jean-François Meullenet, director of the Arkansas Agri
cultural Experiment Station.

“Dr. Roberts has had sustained impacts on rice production in Arkansas and has brought significant innovation to the rice industry in Arkansas through N-STaR and the Greenseeker technology. He is one of our very best talents,” Meullenet said.

“Dr. Vieira is a great example of the amazing talent we have attracted to Bumpers College and the Division of Agriculture in the past few years,” Meullenet said. “He has had a phenomenal start in research, and I am confident that this is just the beginning of a great career at the University of Arkansas. Congratulations to both of them.”

Very Deserving

Jeff Edwards, dean of Bumpers College, said. “I worked closely with both Trent and Caio while I was head of the department of crop, soil, and environmental sciences, and both are very deserving of their awards.

“Trent has made major contributions to the rice industry, which is obviously very important in Arkansas, and across the country and the world. Caio has made an impact in his short time with us in his work with soybeans, and I’m looking forward to what he does going forward,” Edwards said. “Their research and accomplishments have been significant, and it’s great to see them recognized.”

Related Articles

Connect With Rice Farming

Quick Links

E-News Sign Up