BLACKSBURG, Va., May 22, 2003 – Pepper Raines, a graduate student at Virginia Tech studying crop and soil environmental science, was named Young Scientist of the Year by the American Forage and Grassland Council.
Raines, a Christiansburg native, received the honor at the council's national meeting in Lafayette, La., at the end of April. She made a presentation in the national competition held in conjunction with the meeting based on her graduate research concerning managing alfalfa in tall fescue pastures.
According to Ray Smith, associate professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Science under whom she is studying, Raines found that tall fescue was very competitive. She developed grazing management strategies to allow alfalfa to prosper in the tall fescue pasture.
In addition, she presented an innovative computer model that provided a visual depiction of the outcomes of various grazing strategies. The computer model will be useful in teaching farmers about the concepts developed in her research, Smith said.
Also at the council meeting, Phillip Witmer, a former Virginia Tech student who operates a dairy farm in Dayton, Va., won the first place award in the council's national Forage Spokesperson Contest. In the competition, Witmer discussed strategies and techniques he uses to manage his operation.
The Virginia Forage and Grassland Council is scheduled to host the next annual meeting of the American Forage and Grassland Council in Roanoke June 13-16, 2004. Virginia Cooperative Extension will be one of the sponsors of the annual meeting.