The department’s Weed Science component arrived during the 50th anniversary year, in 1997. The program began with the appointment of one faculty member in 1947 and doubled in size in 1953. Also, a plant physiologist with an appointment from USDA-ARS joined the faculty in 1953 to study the mechanisms of action of herbicides.
A major strength of the program from the beginning was its breadth–from basic to applied science–and a dynamic focus on excellence in academics and extension. Seven faculty members, seven technicians, and 19 graduate students are currently employed. Activities are coordinated among Weed Science faculty (research and extension), faculty in other departments, and with other agencies both private and public. This collaborative effort has resulted in the development of a program that has attracted national and international recognition. Our graduates hold key positions in major industries and in universities throughout the world. The goal of the Weed Science group is to remain one of the primary providers of trained Weed Science professionals.
Our faculty are committed to a long-range plan of continual updating and refining of crop protection programs to meet the needs of N.C. citizens. The faculty will continue to conduct research on fundamental principles and new technologies in weed science; to integrate new knowledge into developing improved and sustainable weed management programs; to provide high quality weed science education and training for students, adult clientele groups and the public at large; to promote adoption of economically sustainable, environmentally sound weed management systems; and to promote professionalism in the discipline.
Future plans include the following research and extension activities: work on developing principles and technology related to basic biology/ecology of weed/crop interactions; the impact of pesticides and other weed management practices on the environment; weed/soil/crop interactions and the basis for mechanisms of action; evaluation of new technologies and formulation of new weed management programs encompassing these technologies; continued development and implementation of decision aids for weed management; to remain a primary provider of well-trained weed science graduates; maintain, strengthen and update curricula; cooperate with new and/or different agencies for dealer-distributor training and extension agent training; to increase extension activities on alternative weed management practices, on responsible use of current technology, and on environmental aspects of weed management; and to give renewed focus to non-farm audiences and computerized and electronic delivery of information.