Perspectives on GE Crops from US Agricultural Extension


The committee held a webinar on Wednesday, October 22, from 2-4pm Eastern to gather information from invited speakers. The webinar featured:

Russel Higgins, Extension Educator, Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center, University of Illinois Extension. bio

Russ Higgins is a commercial agriculture educator at the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center in DeKalb County. Mr. Higgins has applied research and outreach responsibilities for the commercial production and management of field crops (emphasis on corn and soybeans) in Northern Illinois. He collaborates closely with campus-based specialists and other faculty in the planning and implementation of research projects with local relevance to stakeholders. He cooperates with campus faculty in conducting pest surveys and the dissemination of these findings to clientele. Mr. Higgins holds a master of science degree from the University of Illinois in agronomy and a bachelor of science degree in agricultural sciences from Western Illinois University. His professional affiliations include the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, Illinois Extension Agricultural Association, and American Society of Agronomy. He is an American Society of Agronomy Certified Crop Advisor and a graduate of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership and the National Extension Leadership Programs.

Jeff Lannom, Weakley County Extension Director, University of Tennessee Extension. bio

Jeff Lannom grew up on a row-crop farm in Gibson County, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Martin in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a concentration in agricultural business. He served as the 4-H agriculture agent in Weakley County for the University of Tennessee Extension before returning to UT-Martin for a master of science degree in education. Mr. Lannom transferred from 4-H to adult agriculture extension in 1994 and was appointed the Weakley County Extension Director in 1998. This year marks Mr. Lannom’s 25th year in UT Extension based in Weakley County. In 2014, Weakley County planted 67,000 acres of corn, 85,000 acres of soybeans, and 27,000 acres of wheat with minor acreage of cotton and grain sorghum. The county is annually ranked in the top 5 grain-producing counties in the state of Tennessee.

Diana Roberts, Regional Extension Specialist, Washington State University Extension. bio

Diana Roberts has worked as a regional agronomist for Washington State University Extension since 1991. Dr. Roberts plans, conducts, and evaluates a research- and experience-based educational program consistent with clientele needs and Extension policy in agricultural crop production, with the goal of increasing agricultural sustainability. She works primarily with large-scale grain farmers across the dryland region of eastern Washington. Soft white wheat is the principal crop in the area, and most of it is grown for export markets. Increasing numbers of growers in the region use no-till farming systems. She works closely with farmers on producer-initiated, on-farm testing projects of direct-seeding systems. Washington State also has a large number of organic producers. Dr. Roberts has worked on a number of integrated crop production system projects, including biological control of cereal leaf beetle, trials of cover crops in the region, and integrated pest management strategies for the wheat midge. Dr. Roberts earned a BS in agricultural genetics from the University of Natal (South Africa), an MS in agronomy at North Dakota State University, and a PhD in agronomy at Washington State University.

Dallas Peterson, Professor and Extension Weed Specialist, Kansas State University. bio

Dallas Peterson is a professor and extension weed specialist at Kansas State University. He grew up on a small diversified crop and livestock farm in north central Kansas and received his BS and MS degrees in agronomy from Kansas State University. Dr. Peterson completed his PhD degree at North Dakota State University and worked as an assistant professor and extension weed specialist in North Dakota from 1987 to 1989 before returning to Kansas State. Dr. Peterson conducts applied weed management research and provides educational programming and weed management information to Kansas farmers and crop advisors. Dr. Peterson has served as president and been recognized as a fellow of the North Central Weed Science Society. He has also has received the Outstanding Extension Award and is currently serving as President-Elect for the Weed Science Society of America.

Presentations for each speaker start at the below timestamps:

  • Russel Higgins: 00:06:15
  • Jeff Lannom: 00:36:08
  • Diana Roberts: 00:51:55
  • Dallas Peterson: 01:23:10

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