Vice President’s Message

Dr. John W. Kelly

We mark milestones as the years go by: anniversaries, birthdays, commemorations of all kinds. In 2012, we reached the sesquicentennial of an event you may have forgotten.  

The Morrill Act -- which led to the creation of universities like Clemson -- was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln. Its framers, offering a land grant to each state, envisioned a network of American colleges that would bring education in agriculture and industry directly to the people who could put that knowledge to work.  

Today, 150 years later, those statesmen would be proud.  

This issue of Impacts reflects the breadth of Clemson's educational outreach in agriculture and environmental sciences, from research on the frontiers of science to the tried-and-true methods of instruction that have been helping farmers and agribusinesses maximize production and profit for generations.  

Our cover story touches on both these: When a new pest of soybeans, the kudzu bug, emerged three years ago, entomologist Jeremy Greene led the charge to fight back. This fall he brought the nation's leading experts on the insect to Clemson's Edisto Research and Education Center -- elbow-to-elbow with the South Carolina farmers who are on the front lines -- to determine the most effective and cost-efficient ways to control the bug.  

Around the corner at Edisto, the forage bull test completed its 30th year of providing top-flight genetics for the next generation of calves in the state’s cattle industry. Staged in cooperation with the South Carolina Cattlemen’s Association and led by animal scientist and county agent Kevin Campbell, the Edisto event annually puts bulls to the test on exactly the kind of feed that will sustain their offspring. Similar research at the Simpson Station shows just how important a pasture diet can be in cattlemen's quest to reduce costs.  

Face-to-face delivery of up-to-date information directly from research scientists has been the hallmark of land-grant universities since the Morrill Act was passed. With field days and workshops in every county in the state, Clemson continues to deliver the latest in research-based information directly to the people who can use it. In this issue we highlight a few: cotton and soybeans, peanuts and corn, watermelons and vegetables, and the burgeoning turfgrass industry. We also review the Advanced Plant Technology Program at Clemson’s Pee Dee Research and Education Center designed to improve crop yields and quality, increase the per-acre value of crops, and identify superior varieties that enhance agriculture’s impact on economic development in the state.  

At the root of all our educational efforts is sound scientific research. In this issue we highlight a new variety of oats tailor-made for South Carolina farmers, a plant pathologist's work to increase yields and lower production costs in cucumber crops, and new ways to monitor river ecology as the Intelligent River project begins to set hundreds of sensors in the Savannah River. We also examine "food deserts," areas where access to supermarkets is beyond the reach of many residents, and what can be done to improve the delivery of healthy and affordable food in those communities.  

In more than a century of conducting such research and sharing it with the people who need the knowledge, the land-grant system -- Clemson included -- has had its share of ups and downs. In the past decade especially, we've faced, along with South Carolina and the nation, some tough economic times.  

In organizing to meet those challenges, Clemson has never lost sight of the vision established by the original Morrill Act statesmen. Now, as we begin filling important positions for the first time in several years, we are as dedicated as ever to the proposition that timely, unbiased research coupled with personal, dirt-under-the-fingernails instruction is the basis for enhanced economic development and improved health and safety in South Carolina's agriculture, forestry and natural resources.  

Thank you for allowing us to introduce some of our people and let you know what they are doing for you.

John W. Kelly
Vice President for Public Service and Agriculture