The Southern Weed Science Society (SWSS) recently honored Larry Steckel, a professor with the University of Tennessee Department of Plant Sciences, with the Outstanding Educator Award. The award was presented at the society's 2019 annual meeting.
The Outstanding Educator Award is presented annually to a weed scientist who has made significant contributions to the Southern Weed Science Society and the discipline of weed science through education.
Steckel has served as UT Extension Weed Specialist since 2003. His responsibilities include conducting statewide educational programming and research in weed management for row crops. In this role, Steckel’s calendar stays full speaking at many field days, Extension workshops, seminars or short courses, and making farm visits to meet with producers individually to answer questions and assess a situation. He coordinates an annual weed tour for farmers and industry and uses social media tools such as YouTube, Twitter and blog posts to communicate new research with producers and extension agents.
As a professor, Steckel has served as a major advisor to seven graduate students, while also serving as a mentor to three faculty.
“Dr. Steckel is truly deserving of this award,” says Scott Senseman, head, UT Department of Plant Sciences. “He has a heart for education and takes great pride in helping our state's producers tackle weed challenges. I am proud to work with him and see the positive impacts he is making in the field of weed science.”
A recent weed challenge in Tennessee involved dicamba herbicide drift. Steckel was charged with developing a training module to address the issue. Thanks in part to his extensive training efforts, Tennessee reported a significant reduction in dicamba-damaged crop acres in 2018.
The Southern Weed Science Society was established to bring together weed control experts in the areas of research, education, regulation, manufacturing and merchandising.