MSU’s Thomasson named president-elect of national ag science, technology organization

Contact: Karen Brasher

J. Alex Thomasson (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The head of Mississippi State’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering is the 2022-23 president-elect the Council for Agriculture Science and Technology.

J. Alex Thomasson will officially assume his responsibilities as president-elect at the conclusion of CAST’s fall board meeting in October. In 2023-2024, he will become the 51st president of the organization, a singular honor and responsibility dating back to 1972, when Charles A. Black and Norman Borlaug, along with other committed scientists, spearheaded the movement to “bring science-based information to policymaking and the public.”

CAST membership is composed of scientific and professional societies, universities, companies, nonprofits, libraries and individuals. According to the organization’s website, “The wide distribution of CAST publications to non-scientists enhances the education and understanding of the public. At a time when the internet has made it more difficult to separate accurate and inaccurate information, it has never been more critical for reputable sources to deliver trusted, non-partisan information from authorities in their respective fields.” For more, visit www.cast-science.org.

Thomasson represents the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers on CAST’s Plant Agriculture and Environmental Issues work group. He has been involved in writing two CAST Issue Papers—“Ground and Aerial Robots for Agricultural Production: Opportunities and Challenges” and “The Role of Agricultural Science and Technology in Climate 21 Project Implementation”—and he has served as a liaison on other CAST publications.

In his role at MSU, Thomasson also is the William B. and Sherry Berry Endowed Chairholder. He manages 17 faculty members in research and extension associated with agricultural and biological engineering and technology and teaches approximately 500 undergraduate and graduate students. He is a registered professional engineer and previously held faculty positions at Texas A&M University and MSU, while starting his career as a research engineer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

His vision for CAST includes maintaining scientific objectivity so position papers are viewed as informed and credible.

“Within CAST’s position as a scientific authority on agricultural matters, modern means of communicating critical ideas to the public should be explored and adopted where appropriate,” Thomasson said.

Thomasson said he wants to grow CAST’s membership. He believes with the growth of agricultural technology in the last decade, it is critical CAST expand its academic, nonprofit and corporate membership with emphasis on technologies. He hopes to do so by engaging young members and increasing their opportunities for involvement, while encouraging lifetime membership.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

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