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Ries earns national recognition for soybean improvement

By Staff | Jul 7, 2010

An Emmet County native has received national recognition for his work in advancing the science of soybean improvement.

Landon Ries of Armstrong, the son of Linn and Sharla Ries, is the recipient of the 2009 United Soybean Board Graduate Fellowship. The announcement was made at the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America’s national meetings held in November in Pittsburgh, Pa.

In addition to the honor, Ries was awarded a $25,000 annual stipend for up to four years, providing satisfactory progress is made toward the completion of a Ph.D. degree.

“I have a hard time describing in words the feelings I had when the announcement was made – euphoric, honored, grateful, and just generally overjoyed. It was an honor that the USB selection committee and crop scientists around the country, after reviewing several other outstanding young scientists and comparing credentials, chose me as the 2009 recipient. The monetary aspect of the award was certainly great, but I was more delighted due to the sense of accomplishment this selection meant.”

Ries shared his appreciation to “so many people because without them, this would never have occurred: parents Linn and Sharla, siblings Sheena and Katrina, and wife Tara for their encouragement and support through my academic endeavors and life in general; my undergraduate advisers and internship supervisors for guiding me as I became acquainted with research, my graduate advisers (past and present) for writing me such beaming recommendations, Larry Purcell for giving me the opportunity to work in an extraordinary research program and acquainting me with soybean research during my time at the University of Arkansas; and James Orf and Seth Naeve for presenting me with the opportunity to work with their research programs at the University of Minnesota.”

Promoting graduate education in the area of plant science is the focus of the United Soybean Board Fellowship. Emphasis is placed on the development of improved soybean varieties, understanding soybean genetics and developing improved ways to grow and use soybeans.

At the present time, the Iowa State University alumnus is a graduate student at the University of Minnesota in the department of agronomy and plant genetics. He initiated his Ph.D. research last summer and is studying soybean genetics, breeding, and physiology. Special concentration is being devoted to the improvement of soybean quality components.

Ries was awarded his Bachelor of Science degree in 2007 from ISU. In May 2009, he received his M.S. degree in crop physiology from the University Arkansas. The primary focus of his research was centered on the development of drought tolerance traits for soybeans.

During his undergraduate years at ISU, he was active in the Agronomy Department’s undergraduate Agronomy Club, the Beginning Farmers Network, Agricultural Student Council, Agriculture Ambassadors, and the Crop and Weed Science Teams (2006 NACTA Crops Contest 1st place individual). Ries presented his M.S. research in graduate student contests at regional and national meetings (2008 CSSA Div. C4 1st place graduate student) while a student at the University of Arkansas. He was a member of the 2007 and 2008 U of A weed science teams that earned first place honors at the Southern Weed Science Society graduate student contest (Ries was 4th place individual overall in 2007 and 1st place individual in 2008). He was active in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences graduate student organization, and was awarded the 2009 Outstanding M.S. Student Award from the U of A Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science.

He and his wife Tara reside in Roseville, Minn. When time allows, Ries works with his father on their corn and soybean farm in rural Ringsted and Armstrong.