November 17 • 1:00–2:30 PM
Associate Dean & Director-CALS Global | College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Professor of Agronomy | School of Plant & Environmental Sciences
CALS Global for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Tom will discuss the background, goals, partnerships, and implementation plan for Virginia Tech’s “RIPE-Partnership” project, a new $80 million project funded by USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program.
Tom Thompson is Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech, Director of CALS Global, and Professor of Agronomy. Thompson earned BS, MS, and PhD degrees in agronomy and soil science and served as Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Arizona and Professor and Department Head at both Texas Tech University and Virginia Tech before assuming his current position.
Thompson has published more than 65 refereed journal articles and garnered more than $87 million in extramural competitive funding and more than $11 million in philanthropic support. His expertise is in soil, water, and nutrient management in cropping systems and disturbed lands, and climate-smart agriculture.
In addition to his work in the U.S., he has conducted and published research from China, Haiti, Israel, Mexico, and Senegal. Thompson is also Executive Editor of the Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report, globalagriculturalproductivity.org). The annual GAP Report is a global thought leader in agricultural productivity growth and engages audiences around the world. Thompson is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, LEAD21, and the Food Systems Leadership Institute.
Associate Director, Environmental Resilience Institute
UVA Environmental Resilience Institute
Andrés Clarens is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia and Associate Director of the University’s Environmental Resilience Institute. Their group studies decarbonization of infrastructure systems.
At large scales, their work explores the life cycle environmental impacts of the manufacturing, transportation, and energy sectors through projects in next-generation bioenergy, subsurface energy storage, and negative emissions technologies.
At the molecular scale, they study the chemistry of CO2 in high pressure environments to support geologic carbon storage and the production of carbon-negative cements. Their work is supported by a range of federal agencies including the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.
Andrés has been a visiting professor at Utrecht University (Netherlands) and the Technical University of Argentina. Before coming to UVA he was a US Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic.
Andrés received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia, and an M.S.E. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has three great kids and loves backpacking, fly-fishing, and traveling with them.
President, Board of Directors
Virginia Association for Biological Farming
Brent Wills has been involved in restorative agricultural systems and conservation for 25 years and is the owner of Wills Soil & Stream in Montvale, Virginia, providing ecological land management services for farmers and land managers in the mid-Atlantic region.
Since 2004, Brent and his family have operated Bramble Hollow Farm in the mountains of Bedford County, Virginia, and use managed livestock rotations, composts and other soil-building techniques to diversify their pasture-based operation where they specialize in the production of heritage breeds of pigs and poultry, including farm-hatched heritage birds for laying flocks as well as meat birds.
Brent serves as President on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Association for Biological Farming, promoting soil health, resilient farming practices and the production of nutrient-dense and ecologically-friendly food.
Mitigating Climate Impacts on Virginia Farms
We are seeing a major shift in the agricultural paradigm, especially on small diversified family-owned farms all across the country. Soil health, nutrient-density in food crops and overall ecosystem benefits are being achieved by farmers and food producers who prioritize the biological systems they rely upon. The main goal of biological and organic farmers is to improve the plant-soil relationship by focusing on carbon cycling, managing rotations and biological diversity and how those components build health and resilience into our food production systems. We will discuss the what, why and how of several on-going programs in Virginia and the organizations that are helping to pave the way.
Register for Session 3