LCOLUMBUS, Ohio—Douglas Jackson-Smith, interim director of the Agroecosystem Management Program (AMP) at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), has been named the college’s W.K. Kellogg Foundation Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management, pending final approval by the Ohio State University Board of Trustees.
His appointment runs through May 15, 2027.
Jackson-Smith first joined CFAES as a professor and associate director in the School of Environment and Natural Resources in 2016. He was named interim director of the AMP in 2021. He has won numerous national awards and authored, co-authored, or reviewed more than 362 publications including books, book chapters, journal articles, research papers, and scholarly presentations.
A trained sociologist, Jackson-Smith also has a significant background in geography, economics, political science, and anthropology. His research focuses on the social and economic drivers and impacts of structural and technological change in agriculture. Most of his work is collaborative and interdisciplinary, and he has organized and led multiple interdisciplinary teams with agricultural and environmental scientists to carry out engaged scholarship and outreach related to social and environmental dynamics of complex working landscapes. A signature of his approach is to engage farmers and other key stakeholders in the design and implementation of research.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management was endowed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) in 1998, the first such endowment established by the WKKF. The program partnerships extend throughout Ohio State, statewide, and beyond. The chair runs the AMP that works to produce innovative research and teaching programs concerned with an ecological approach to farm and resource management, in support of whole farm, farming community, and natural resource management.
AMP participants include research, teaching, and Ohio State University Extension faculty from the natural, physical, economic, and social sciences, as well as students, postdoctoral researchers, and staff, along with wide representation from the agricultural community including farmers, landowners, farming organizations, conservation and environmental organizations, and government agencies.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES.
“Agroecological management strategies provide important tools to help Ohio farmers maintain economic and environmental resilience in the face of a rapidly changing climate, volatile markets, and growing societal expectations for sustainability in farming and food production,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES.
“The Kellogg chair provides critical leadership within our college to organize research and educational opportunities to help farmers and communities adapt to these challenges,” Kress said. “Jackson-Smith’s commitment to fully engaging stakeholders—as well as his research breath—position him well for success.”
Jackson-Smith earned his Ph.D. and two master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he obtained his Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. He previously served as a professor, associate professor, and assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology at Utah State University, in addition to teaching and research roles at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In his new role as endowed chair, in addition to serving as the AMP director, Jackson-Smith will contribute to and provide leadership within CFAES’ teaching, research, and outreach missions. His work will include the following:
- developing, conducting, and maintaining a program focused on research, teaching, and public service around ecosystems design and management, and on farming systems.
- providing leadership of agroecosystems management statewide by engaging, collaborating, and partnering with internal and external stakeholders to advance management initiatives and programs that address agricultural production and environmental, social, and economic issues for promoting and understanding sustainable agroecosystems.
- providing leadership across the three CFAES campuses for advancing Ohio State’s agroecosystem sciences research, outreach, and teaching programs.
- participating in and providing leadership in support of national efforts through the WKKF-endowed Inter-institutional Network for Food, Agriculture and Sustainability.
“Building a more resilient farming and food system in Ohio requires new approaches to research that bring together scientists with different expertise and incorporates the knowledge and experience of innovative farmers,” Jackson-Smith said.
“CFAES has a deep pool of research and Extension faculty who are excited to collaborate with farmers to leverage agroecological system processes to improve the long-term viability and performance of Ohio farms,” he said. “Ohio is poised to be a national and global leader in pioneering new approaches to organizing farming systems, and I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to help organize and lead these efforts.”