Corn
Cotton
Sorghum
Soybean
Wheat
Other Crops

Field Crops Extension and Research Team

Nutifafa (Fafa) Adotey

Assistant Professor, Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science
The University of Tennessee
West TN Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: 731-425-4711
Email: nadotey@tennessee.edu

Ryan Blair

Extension Area Specialist
West Tennessee Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: (731) 425-4733
Email: rblair2@utk.edu

Ryan serves as the Area Crop Production Specialist in West Tennessee, with responsibilities for county variety testing across the state for corn, soybean, wheat, and cotton.

Heather Young Kelly

Associate Professor, Field Crops Pathologist & IPM Coordinator
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
University of Tennessee
West TN Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: (731) 425-4713
Fax: (731) 425-4720
Email: youngkelly@utk.edu

Dr. Kelly serves as extension-research plant pathologist at The University of Tennessee in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in Jackson, TN. The majority of her time is concentrated on the control of diseases in cotton, corn, soybean, and wheat. She is responsible for all disease control recommendations of field crops except tobacco for Tennessee. This includes the development of statewide educational programs covering cotton, corn, soybean, and small grains. More information can be found on Dr. Kelly’s faculty page – https://epp.tennessee.edu/people/directory/dr-heather-kelly/

Angela Thompson McClure

Associate Professor, Corn and Soybean Specialist
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Tennessee
West TN Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: (731) 425-4706
Fax: (731) 425-4720
Email: athompson@utk.edu

Dr. McClure received her M.S. in Agronomy from the University of Kentucky in 1989, and obtained her Ph.D at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1993 (specialty in Weed Management). Previous career experiences include crop protection products research and teaching in undergraduate agriculture classes. Dr. McClure has been with the University of Tennessee since June 1, 2002.

Dr. McClure is responsible for coordinating statewide extension education programs in corn, soybean and grain sorghum production. Dr. McClure collaborates with extension personnel to conduct county hybrid and variety testing, and coordinates demonstration research in areas of weed management, crop production systems, fertility and integrated pest management.

Tyson Raper

Assistant Professor, Cotton and Small Grains Specialist
Department of Plant Sciences
The University of Tennessee
West TN Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: (731) 425-4707
Fax: (731) 425-4720
Email: traper@utk.edu 

Dr. Raper received his Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of Arkansas, his M.S. in 2011 from Mississippi State University and his B.S. in 2009 from Auburn University. His research has focused on the remote detection of nutrient deficiencies in cotton and the use of soil moisture measurements to quantify severity of seasonal drought stress.

Tyson has a 75% Extension and 25% Research appointment at the University of Tennessee. This appointment consists of conducting applied research, developing extension publications, presenting educational programs and troubleshooting on-farm cotton and small-grains issues. His research program focuses on cotton variety testing (both official and county test demonstrations), plant nutrition and site-specific management.

Avat Shekoofa

Asst. Professor, Crop Physiologist-Water Stress and Irrigation
Department of Plant Science
West TN Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: (731) 425-4704
Fax: (731) 425-4720
Email: ashekoof@utk.edu

Dr. Shekoofa’s Ph.D research was focused on kernel development of maize as affected by source/sink ratio. (Her dissertation was written and presented in English.) She was a visiting scientist at Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina from 2009-2010. She conducted postdoc research at North Carolina State University (NCSU) on water stress in turfgrass and crop species. Particular emphasis was given to identifying genetic traits that impart drought tolerance. Dr. Shekoofa’s current research in the Department of Plant Sciences centers on developing an active and nationally recognized program in crop physiology with a focus on plant water saving potential. Her true passion in research lies in discovering more about the action of the environment on plant water movement, leaves stomata conductance, transpiration response, plant resistance, and resilience to environmental changes such as water and/or heat stress.

Larry Steckel

Professor, Row Crop Weed Specialist
Department of Plant Science
West TN Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: (731) 425-4705
Fax: (731) 425-4720
Email: lsteckel@utk.edu

Dr. Steckel was raised on a small farm near Carrollton, Illinois. He received his B.S. in agronomy in 1987 from Western Illinois University and his M.S. in Weed Science from the University of Missouri in 1989. Larry took a position with Pioneer Hi Bred Inernational. in 1989 where he worked for 10 years as an Agronomist covering the southern third of Illinois. He left Pioneer in 2000 to pursue a Ph.D at the University of Illinois. Upon receiving his Ph.D in 2003, Larry joined the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee as an Assistant Professor.

Currently, he is a Professor in Weed Science with a 75%Extension and 25% AgResearch appointment at UT. His extension/outreach efforts have been recognized for several awards including the Cavendar award for Outstanding Extension publication from the UT Institute of Agriculture and in 2012 when he was awarded the Excellence in Extension Award from Gamma Sigma Delta. Dr. Steckel also maintains an extensive applied research program on weed management in agronomic crops in Tennessee. His research focus is the study of the biology and management of glyphosate-resistant horseweed, giant ragweed and Palmer amaranth. His research efforts were recognized in 2013 when he was awarded the Ag Research Impact Award by the UT Institute of Agriculture. While Dr. Steckel directs much of his research and extension efforts on very troublesome and economically important weeds, he and his graduate students evaluate novel integrated weed management technologies fit in Tennessee row crop agriculture.

Scott Stewart

Director, West TN Research and Education Center
(Professor, Dept. Entomology and Plant Pathology)
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: (731) 425-4709
Fax: (731) 425-4760
Email: sdstewart@utk.edu

Dr. Stewart is the Director of The West Tennessee Research and Educations Center.  Before that, he was an Extension Entomology Specialist with expertise in row crops, also at the University of Tennessee.  Scott grew up in Iowa, received his MS and PhD degrees and Texas A&M University and Auburn University, respectively, before working for Mississippi State University and ultimately joining the faculty at UT in 2002.

Virginia Sykes

Asst. Professor, Agronomy and Corn and Soybean Variety Testing Coordinator
Department of Plant Science
347 Ellington Plant Sciences Building
2431 Joe Johnson Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4561
Phone: (865) 974-7285
Fax: (731) 425-4720
Email: vsykes@utk.edu

Dr. Sykes is an Assistant Professor in Plant Sciences serving as the coordinator for the corn and soybean agronomic variety testing program. This program provides important information on state-wide cultivar performance to Tennessee producers. Results from these trials can be found at https://search.utcrops.com

Xinhua (Frank) Yin

Assistant Professor, Systems Agronomist
Department of Plant Sciences
The University of Tennessee
West TN Research and Education Center
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson, TN 38301
Phone: (731) 424-1643
Fax: (731) 425-4760
Email: xyin2@utk.edu

Dr. Yin has a 100% research appointment working in the area of systems agronomy. Frank brings much needed expertise in precision agriculture and nutrient management to our already strong team of research and Extension scientists in Jackson.