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Recognition; Retired PSS Prof Receives AFGC Distinguished Grasslander Award

Recognition; Retired PSS Prof Receives AFGC Distinguished Grasslander Award

Noted agroecosystem research scientist Vivien Allen has received the 2013 Distinguished Grasslander Award from the American Forage and Grassland Council. The honor was presented at the group’s annual conference Jan. 6-9 in Covington, Kentucky.

“This award recognizes Dr. Allen’s very productive career as a scholar and researcher in forages,” said Richard Zartman, chairman of Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science. Allen, the university’s Thornton Distinguished Professor of Forages since 1995, retired from Texas Tech in August 2011.

Program officials note that the American Forage and Grassland Council is an international organization made up of 20 affiliate councils in the United States and Canada. Total individual membership is about 2,500. Its primary objective is to promote the profitable production and sustainable utilization of quality forage and grasslands.

Allen’s research work largely centered on forage and grazing animals. Prior to joining Tech, she served in several academic posts at Virginia Tech University for 15 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in general agriculture from the University of Tennessee. Her master’s and doctorate with majors in agronomy and animal science are from Louisiana State University. Honors for Allen include a special “Award of Illumination” from the American Forage and Grassland Council and the Society for Range Management.

While at Tech the Nashville native was a critical part of a team of researchers at Texas Tech and other universities and agencies that have partnered with farmers to find the real costs and returns and water used by different crop and livestock systems. A research and demonstration project initiated by Allen near New Deal showed about 90 percent more cash profit and about 23 percent less irrigation water used for diversified systems over cotton alone at yields typical of the region.

“With increasing pressure on agriculture to meet global food, feed and fuel demands while preserving a healthy environment and sustainable natural resource base, understanding agricultural ecosystems at a landscape scale is critically important,” Allen said.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Richard Zartman, Department Chair and Leidigh Professor of Soil Physics, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or



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