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K-State Today

September 9, 2015



K-State’s Rice tapped for key National Academies of Science post

By Mary Lou Peter

Dr. Charles "Chuck" Rice

Kansas State University's Charles "Chuck" Rice, university distinguished professor of agronomy, has been named to chair the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, a major program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, starting Jan. 1, 2016.

Rice, a university distinguished professor of soil microbiology in K-State's agronomy, will serve three years in the role. The appointment was made by Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.  

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources addresses issues of agricultural production and related matters of natural resource development, including forestry, fisheries, wildlife, and land and water use. Rice served two three-year terms on the board before being named board chair.

In addition to staying aware of relevant work related to emerging issues and problems, the board is tasked with planning new studies, overseeing projects carried out by subsidiary committees and making an annual appraisal of accomplishments and potential new initiatives.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions and include scientists, engineers, physicians and researchers who provide expert advice on some of the world's most pressing challenges.

"We are fortunate to have faculty members like Chuck Rice at K-State," said John Floros, dean of K-State's College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. "Chuck's important contributions to agriculture and the environment through his research and teaching are known internationally. The NAS could not have chosen a more fitting person to lead the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources."

"The board will be tackling several issues including genetically-modified organisms, agricultural workforce and water resources," Rice said. "Several groups have identified the lack of quantity and quality of the agricultural workforce from nondegreed all the way to Ph.D. The U.S. agriculture and food industry must have a properly trained workforce to remain competitive while sustaining the environment."

In his most recent work at K-State, Rice has focused on soil and global climate change, including carbon and nitrogen emissions in agricultural and grassland ecosystems, and soil carbon sequestration and its potential benefits to the environment.

As part of that work, he was a member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that received the Nobel Prize in 2007.

Rice earned an undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University and a doctorate from the University of Kentucky. He joined the K-State faculty in 1988.