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Agriculture

Jackson To Step Down As President Of Kansas Ag Research Institute

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The man who has headed the Land Institute since its establishment in 1976 has announced plans to step down from his leadership position next summer. Heartland Health Monitor's Bryan Thompson has details.

Wes Jackson sees agriculture as a problem. That's because it requires plowing, which leads to soil erosion. It also plants large tracts of land with a single species of crop, using large-scale application of pesticides and fertilizer.

Jackson views native prairie as the model for a more sustainable kind of agriculture. His Land Institute, located near Salina, is developing perennial crops, which would not require plowing and planting. They could be planted in combinations, so they'd be less vulnerable to pests and weeds. Jackson pioneered this revolutionary way of farming, known as natural systems agriculture.

After 40 years at the helm of the Land Institute, Jackson has decided to step down as president next June, when he turns 80.

"You know, I feel fine, but I think it ought to be someone that is younger, and knows more—more up to speed on the more recent stuff in genetics and ecology, and so on," he says.

A national search will be conducted to find Jackson’s replacement. While he won't be the Land Institute’s president, Jackson plans to continue working with the institute, and promoting environmental issues.