Meet Our Team
Dr. Kirk was born and raised in Columbia, SC and began working for Clemson as the Precision Agriculture Engineer in May of 2014. Kirk holds three degrees in Biosystems Engineering from Clemson: a B.S. in 2002, an M.S. in 2004, and a Ph.D. in 2010. His current work focuses on developing technologies and software that are useful, profitable, and cost effective for growers. Prior to starting his current position, he held teaching and research appointments on campus for almost 10 years in the Agricultural Mechanization & Business program. Since joining the faculty at Edisto REC, Kirk and cooperators have been awarded U.S. patents for a peanut yield monitor and an automated depth control system for peanut harvest. He and his former graduate students also have patents pending for a hay yield monitor and a round hay bale weighing system. Some of his current research includes variable rate prescription development for inputs in cotton, corn, and soybean, optimization of peanut harvest operations, and precision ag software development. In his spare time, Dr. Kirk enjoys spending time with his wife, Emily, and his children, Katie and Caulden. The Kirks are active members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Aiken, SC and both kids are involved in scouts, sports, and love the outdoors.
Dr. Plumblee was born and raised in Lexington, SC and began working for Clemson as the Precision Agriculture Extension Specialist in May of 2018. Plumblee received his B.S. in Agricultural Mechanization and Business at Clemson in 2013, M.S. in Agronomy at the University of Georgia in 2015, and Ph.D. in Agronomy at Mississippi State in 2018. His current work focuses on providing growers with recommendations and support on how to utilize new and existing precision ag. technologies in their operations. Some of his current research includes evaluating and developing soil moisture sensor thresholds in various row crops, variable rate prescription development for nitrogen and seeding, chemigation applications, and pesticide product efficacy as a function of droplet size. In his spare time, Dr. Plumblee enjoys hunting, fishing, spending time on a tractor, and being with his wife Allison and family.
Kayla Carroll was born and raised in Barnwell, SC and began working for Edisto Research and Education Center in June of 2016. Kayla is working on her Associates Degree in Diversified Agriculture at Piedmont Technical College. She is involved in all aspects of the Clemson Precision Agriculture program with primary responsibilities in overseeing laboratory testing such as soil texture and organic matter, collecting spatial crop and soil data, and maintaining field and test records. In her free time, Kayla enjoys spending time with her family, boyfriend, and friends.
Ben is from Neeses, South Carolina and began working for Clemson as the technician for the Precision Agriculture program in 2017. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Mechanization and Business in December of 2016, and is currently working on a M.S. in Plant and Environmental Sciences with a focus on technologies on peanut equipment. Ben’s research project objectives are to quantify yield losses on peanut harvesters and to determine a way to decrease yield losses. In Ben’s free time, he enjoys farming at home with his father and spending time family, friends, and girlfriend. Ben hopes that his research will help increase profitability for peanut growers in South Carolina.
Current Graduate Students
Alex is from Saluda, South Carolina and began working for Clemson as the technician for the Corn, Soybean, and Small Grains program in 2016. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Mechanization and Business in 2015, and is currently working on a M.S. in Plant and Environmental Sciences with a focus on comparing the suitability of spatial data for the creation of yield management zones. Alex’s research project objectives are to determine the most suitable datasets to use in creating yield management zones across major row crops. Additionally, Alex plans to evaluate how the data sets influence management decisions for crop inputs in order to maximize grower profit. In Alex’s free time, he enjoys farming at home with his father and spending time family, friends, and fianceé.
Brennan is from Shelby, North Carolina and began attending Clemson in the fall of 2014. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Mechanization and Business in May of 2018, and is currently working on a M.S. in Plant and Environmental Science with a focus on image analysis. Brennan’s research project objectives are to identify various weed species and soil texture from aerial images taken from consumer-level UAVs, or “drones”. In Brennan’s free time, he enjoys kayaking and working on vehicles. Brennan hopes that his research will aid in the development of technologies, which are affordable and easy enough to be used by growers in the state.