Yelverton Named 2021 Crop Science Fellow

NC State Crop and Soil Sciences Extension Specialist and professor of turfgrass weed science Fred Yelverton was named as a 2021 Crop Science Society of America Fellow. The awards are presented to Society members in recognition of outstanding contributions to crop science through education, service, and research.

The CSSA website notes “Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by the Crop Science Society of America. Members of the Society nominate worthy colleagues based on their professional achievements and meritorious service. Less than 0.3 percent of the Society’s active and emeritus members may be elected Fellow.”

Lambert McCarty, Clemson professor of horticulture in turfgrass science, nominated Yelverton for the award. “Dr. Yelverton is the world’s leading turfgrass weed scientist. He never seeks attention or personal recognition but because of his incredible professional knowledge, conducting numerous training opportunities, willingness to help the industry with agronomic problems, and service to the Society, he deserves this highest professional recognition,” McCarty said. 

Serving In Education and Extension

Yelverton is a lifelong member of the Wolfpack. He received his B.S. in Wildlife Biology and M.S. and Ph.D. in Weed Science at North Carolina State University.

Man in white coveralls spraying turfgrass
Yelverton conducts turfgrass herbicide research and Extension activities across the state.

He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in turfgrass, co-authored “Color Atlas of Turfgrass Weeds ”A Guide to Weed Identification and Control Strategies”, and writes extensively in professional journals and for NC State’s TurfFiles Extension website. His most recent work has been on managing herbicide-resistant weeds in turfgrass, particularly goosegrass and annual bluegrass. 

“Herbicide resistance, from a broad perspective, is one of the most problematic issues in agriculture, and turfgrasses are certainly not immune. It will be an issue in agriculture for the indefinite future,” Yelverton said.

Among many accomplishments, Yelverton was part of a public-private partnership with NC State faculty, the turfgrass industry and the NC legislature to create the Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research and Education in 1999-2000. 

“Over its 20 year period, the Center’s funding has resulted in NCSU faculty graduating 46 M.S. and 36 Ph.D. students. The quality and relevance of research funded by the Center is something everyone associated with NC State can be proud of,” Yelverton said.

goosegrass weed seedhead
Goosegrass is a persistent turfgrass weed.

A Legacy of Honor

Yelverton joins 15 Crop and Soil Sciences faculty who previously received the same Crop Science Society Fellow honor since 1980. 

Guy Jones 1980
Joe Burns 1981
Bill Collins 1982
Major Goodman 1986
Charlie Stuber 1986
Earl Wernsman 1987
Bob Patterson 1988
Joe Burton 1991
Rich Wilson 1993
Tom Sinclair 1995
Tommy Carter 1997
Tom Stalker 1998
Johnny Wynne 2000
Paul Murphy 2008
Jim Holland 2014
Fred Yelverton 2021


Yelverton will formally accept the Fellow award at the CSSA awards ceremony in November during the scientific society’s annual meeting. He is humbled by the recognition and reflected on the intangible rewards of his career. 

“Without a doubt, [the highlight of my work] is helping people be more successful in their jobs and businesses. The land grant mission has to be one of the greatest accomplishments in our country. I have seen how we can help people via research and outreach and then take our experiences to the classroom and then watch as our graduates become some of the most successful people in the industry. That is very rewarding.”

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NC State logo on turfgrass