Vice President’s Message

Dr. John W. KellyAs state funding has diminished we have taken steps to ensure that critical research, extension and regulatory programs continue to support economic development for South Carolina’s $34 billion agriculture, forestry and natural resources industries.

Extension agents are the key to transferring research information to commercial growers, livestock producers, forestland owners and natural resources managers. Our plan takes a regional approach to provide these Extension programs in every county, based on research findings.

In this issue you will find reports on how Clemson scientists are improving pest control for cotton and soybean crops using several technologies to prevent losses caused by nematodes and caterpillars. Their approaches include DNA studies to identify genetic pathways that produce a natural defense, site-specific technology to target pesticides to control nematodes, and the use of a naturally occurring repellant that protects cotton from hungry caterpillars.

Horticultural entomologists are developing a model to determine the most effective times to apply pesticides that protect ornamental shrubs and trees from damage by scale insects. Pinpointing the most vulnerable time in the pest’s life will reduce the use of pesticides and protect beneficial insects.

Extension programs are sharing information with landowners to reduce the state’s feral hog population. South Carolina has the nation’s sixth largest population of feral hogs – estimated at nearly 300,000 – with herds found in all 46 counties. Extension agents are also working with statewide “watershed stewards,” citizens and organizations interested in protecting the quality of South Carolina’s waterways, shorelines and wetlands. A new online tool maps conservation activities in the state’s eight major river basins. 

Clemson scientists are also working to develop “green” industries that can create new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil supplies. One group of researchers is converting waste food oils to high-grade biodiesel while another team is using yeast to process switchgrass into ethanol. Switchgrass is a native plant that does not compete with food crop production and produces more energy than corn, the initial crop used to produce ethanol as a gasoline additive. 

These are some of the ways that Clemson scientists are supporting South Carolina’s agriculture, forestry and natural resources industries

John W. Kelly
Vice President for Public Service and Agriculture