Crop & Soil Sciences Faculty Honored at 2019 CALS Alumni Awards

NC State honors CALS Alumni at Awards Ceremony

Awarding Agricultural Excellence

Attracting great talent is a central tenet of NC State’s mission in the Department of Crop & Soil Sciences (CSSC).  It’s one way we are ‘growing the future’ for NC, through excellence in our faculty for higher education, research, and extension.  So it is with great pride we congratulate three CSSC members recently recognized for their outstanding career contributions: 

  • Dr. Richard Reich (Adjunct Professor & retired NC Associate Commissioner of Agriculture) was one of two honored as 2019 Distinguished Alumni
  • Dr. Deanna Osmond (CSSC Associate Department Head & Extension Leader) named a 2019 CALS Outstanding Alumni
  • Dr. Matthew Vann (CSSC Assistant Professor of Tobacco Management) honored as a 2019 CALS Outstanding Young Alumni

NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) bestows these awards each year to recognize the exceptional achievements of the college’s outstanding graduates and their dedicated work and service for NC State University and the benefit of North Carolina citizens.  Award selection criteria include excellence in implementing progressive state, national and/or international programs; development of improved technology or science; or other outstanding achievements in the field of agriculture and life sciences.  

NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni awards
2019 NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Awards

Dr. Richard Reich – CALS 2019 Distinguished Alumni

Dr. Richard Reich was honored as a 2019 CALS Distinguished Alumni
Dr. Richard Reich, former NC Assistant Commissioner of Agricultural Services

Dr. Reich is a native of Forsyth County.  He grew up on a small family farm where, from an early age, he saw firsthand the impact cooperative extension agents make on our communities. Since then, he has spent his career serving the agricultural industry of North Carolina. 

Dr. Reich began his career as an assistant agricultural extension agent in Lincoln County in 1976. He later joined R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company where he developed and coordinated cooperative research, extension, and educational programs at land-grant universities in 14 states.  In 1999 he began work for the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, first as a Director of the Agronomic Services Division, and later as the Assistant Commissioner of Agricultural Services.

Dr. Reich received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and his master’s and Ph.D. in soil science from NC State. Throughout his career, he has maintained close ties with NC State’s Crop and Soil Sciences Department and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

He has been honored with numerous awards during his career – including The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the NC Farm Bureau’s “Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award” and the “Outstanding Service Award” from the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

“Dr. Reich has been a leader at all levels when it comes to serving the agricultural industry of North Carolina,” said NC State CALS Dean Richard Linton. “He is a tireless ambassador whose service and wise council serve as a valuable asset to us all. He is a true friend to farmers, and we’re grateful for his legacy.”

Dr. Deanna Osmond – CALS 2019 Oustanding Alumni

Dr. Deanna Osmond, NC State Department of Crop & Soil Sciences
Dr. Deanna Osmond, Associate Department Head of Crop and Soil Sciences

Dr. Deanna Osmond has served at NC State University for 26 years and is dedicated to applying research knowledge in the field. She graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Agronomy and anthropology and went on to earn an M.S. in Soil Science (NC State) and Ph.D. in Agronomy (Cornell).  She also spent time as an Agricultural Project Officer for the United States Agency for International Development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa. Over her career, she has conducted over 155 extension trainings, published 99 peer-reviewed journal articles, presented over 150 invited talks, and has earned numerous state & national awards including the USDA Secretary’s Award for Protecting and Enhancing the Nation’s Natural Resource base and Environment with her Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool Team in 2004.  

Dr. Osmond’s areas of specialty include: soil fertility, nutrient management, conservation practices, and water quality.   She is a current Professor, Associate Department Head, & Extension Leader for Crop & Soil Sciences. 

Dr. Osmond was clearly not anticipating the CALS honor and was unable to attend the awards ceremony.  “I’m completely surprised but delighted. I’m so appreciative of the award.  I cannot imagine having any other job. Conducting research that can help farmers stay profitable while at the same time reducing off-site environmental impacts is completely satisfying.  Luckily, I work at a university that supports the continuum of research through extension and the best part is working with agents and the farmers.” she said.

Dr. Matthew Vann – CALS 2019 Oustanding Young Alumni

Dr. Matthew Vann was honored as a 2019 CALS Outstanding Young Alumnus
Dr. Matthew Vann (second from right) pictured alongside left to right) Chad Benton CALS Alumni Friends Society board president, Dr. Jeff Mullahey Department Head Crop and Soil Sciences, and Richard H. Linton Dean of NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dr. Matthew Vann is a native of the Florida Tobacco Belt who greatly understands the value of tobacco to the family farm.  He graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources and a double minor in Plant Science and Soil Science.  He completed his M.S. (2011) and Ph.D. (2015) in the Crop and Soil Sciences at North Carolina State University focused on the agronomic management of flue-cured tobacco.  

Dr. Vann currently serves as the Dr. William K. Collins Tobacco Agronomist Position.  His responsibilities include teaching tobacco production courses in both the two (AGI 195) and four year (CS 216) programs at NC State and supporting growers and cooperative extension agents with tobacco research and best practices.  He also collaborates with Dr. Loren Fisher on flue-cured and burley tobacco research at 7 field labs across the state. Dr. Vann is the primary author of “From the Field-Agronomy Notes” (available during the production season through the NC State Tobacco Portal).

He too was surprised to learn of his CALS award.  “I was humbled to be recognized – to know that our program is valued … I’m also proud to represent our college and department to build on our legacy of tobacco science,” he continued.  “I’m fortunate that our college has maintained its support of our program because farmers need the results of our scientific research community.”     

A Legacy of Excellence

We are proud to celebrate their achievements as a model of how we ’Think and Do’.

Dr. Jeff Mullahey, Department Head of NC State Crop & Soil Sciences, underscored the importance of such top-notch faculty.  “NC State’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences has a rich and successful history of outstanding innovation and discovery due in large part to exceptional faculty members like these.  Their legacy of excellence benefits both the students of our university through their teaching and the citizens of NC in their research and outreach,” Mullahey said. “We are proud to celebrate their achievements as a model of how we ’Think and Do’.”  

To learn more about the depth of our department’s faculty & staff, visit our website for a complete list.