New Interim Department Head Announced
A new interim department head for the plants, soils and climate department in Utah State University’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences was named on Monday. Plant science associate professor Paul Johnson will replace previous head Teryl Roper who was recently named director of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.
“This new position will be a challenge, but I look forward to being part of our department in making a plan for the future in terms of teaching, research and extension in agriculture — both rural and urban,” Johnson said.
Johnson earned his bachelor’s in horticulture from Iowa State University followed by a master’s and doctorate degree in horticulture from the University of Minnesota. He came to USU in 1998 and has been with PSC ever since then.
While his emphases include horticulture science, landscaping and ornamental horticulture, Johnson’s specialty is turfgrass science.
“I study the plants we trample on,” Johnson said. “Those on parks, sports fields, lawns, golf courses, etc. It’s frequently taken for granted but essential for many of our daily activities, especially in urban areas.”
Johnson’s current research topics include development of stress tolerant and sustainable turfgrass for the Intermountain West including bluegrass and wheatgrass, organic golf course management in Utah, drought management in Utah and turfgrass variety trials.
Johnson and his wife Patty have two sons and in his spare time, he enjoys trail running, skiing, coffee drinking and cats.