November 21, 2008
Texas Tech University announces the establishment of the J.A. Love Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
Tom Thompson, a nationally-recognized agricultural researcher and Texas Tech administrator, is the first chair recipient.
“I’m humbled by this honor,” said Thompson, who currently serves as chairman of Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science. “Making agriculture on the southern High Plains more sustainable is a huge challenge, and I hope that the funds provided through this endowed chair will be a catalyst for greater efforts toward this goal.”
In the past, Thompson has conducted research to advance and support sustainable agriculture practices, especially improving the efficiency of irrigation and nutrient management for crops. In general, sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental health, economic profitability and social and economic equity.
The J.A. and Malone Love Charitable Trust was established more than 40 years ago in Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science as part of a bequest from the estate of Judge J.A. Love. The endowment, which changed to the J.A. Love Endowment in 1977, originally supported research and other activities related to organic farming.
Over the decades the endowment has steadily grown in size and is now large enough to fund an endowed chair at the university. The J.A. Love Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture Now was created with the approval of the Texas Tech Foundation to provide support for activities related to sustainable agriculture in the department.
“I’m very pleased that Tom Thompson, an eminent scientist and colleague, will be the first holder of the J.A. Love Chair,” said John Burns, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “This represents a turning point and vote of confidence in our support for future improvements in the critical area of sustainable agriculture.”
Thompson, who was named professor and chair at Texas Tech in 2006, leads a diverse mix of research programs important to agriculture in Texas. In addition, he oversees instruction for the department’s 185 undergraduate and graduate students, whose majors include environmental crop and soil sciences, as well as horticulture and turfgrass sciences.
The plant and soil science department studies a slate of issues vital to the agriculture community, as well as to the rest of the world. They include: conserving Ogallala Aquifer water, developing drought-tolerant plants and enhancing the genetic traits of cotton.
Thompson, an Abilene native, joined Texas Tech after a 15-year stint at the University of Arizona, where he was a professor and extension specialist with the soil, water and environmental science department. Thompson’s research program has addressed soil-plant relationships in agricultural and non-agricultural systems.
A particular focus has been efficient water and nutrient management with subsurface drip irrigation. Many of his studies were conducted at the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Center near Phoenix.
Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Abilene Christian University and a master’s degree in soil chemistry and fertility from Texas A&M University. His doctorate in soil chemistry is from Iowa State University. He’s a member of the American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America.
CONTACT: Thomas Thompson, chair and professor of soil science, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2838 or firstname.lastname@example.org.