2015 Declared International Year of Soils

LOGO_IYS_en_PrintThe 68th United Nations General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils! According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “the International Year of Soils (IYS) 2015 aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions”. Events are planned around the globe. Check out the following links for more information on the International Year of Soils on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Soil Science Society of America, and the International Union of Soil Scientists websites.

Recent Retirements

lowery_smThe first recent retirement in the Department of Soil Science was of a great mentor, Birl Lowery, in early August. Birl served on the faculty for 36 years, including time as the department chair and the senior associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He was a warm-hearted teacher in Soil Science 322: Physical Principles of Soil and Water Management for decades and mentor to many graduate students.

Kevin McSweeney. copyright Michael Forster Rothbart - UW-Madison University CommunicationsComing quickly on the heels of Birl’s departure was Kevin McSweeney‘s announcement that he was retiring and joining the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The department was delighted when Kevin returned to our department a couple of years ago from the UW Arboretum. Kevin received his PhD at UIUC, and his spouse, Jacqueline Hitchon, has been recruited as professor and head of the Department of Advertising there.

news_bockheimRounding out the departures is Jim Bockheim, a pillar of the department for over 39 years, who retired on January 2, 2015. Jim has long been a leading light in the study of cold soils. His energetic and prodigious fieldwork in the Arctic and Antarctic both documented these soils and inspired his theoretical contributions on their genesis and how they are best classified. In recent years, he has taught Soil Science 324: Soil and Environmental Quality, with great reviews.

-Bill Bland, Chair

Programmer Analyst or Software Engineer Wanted

job_iconThe Department of Soil Science is seeking a Senior Programmer Analyst or Programmer Analyst to work within a team of software engineers and soil scientists to develop and support the SnapPlus farm nutrient management software (http://snapplus.wisc.edu). This software uses soil science mathematical models and agronomic best practices so that Wisconsin farmers can economically plan manure and fertilizer applications for their farms while reducing the risk of soil loss and water pollution. This software is part of a State of Wisconsin farm regulatory process and is used by farmers, agricultural consultants, land management planners and government agency staff at the county, state, and federal levels. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Soils Science, or a related field. A strong science background is highly desirable. Candidates must have a minimum of 5 years of work experience in software development in web applications using .NET, PHP, Java, Ruby on Rails, etc.; and 3 years of work experience in an academic research setting for a physical science. Please see PVL# 81524 for a complete description including additional work experience requirements and application information. The deadline to apply is Jan. 26, 2015.