The American Society of Agronomy recently announced that it has named University of Arkansas agronomist Charles P. "Chuck" West a Fellow of the society, which is one of its highest honors.
West conducts research in the University of Arkansas System's statewide Division of Agriculture. He teaches in the department of crop, soil, and environmental sciences in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences on the Fayetteville campus.
West was cited for his comprehensive research on tall fescue grass and a symbiotic fungal organism, an endophyte that improves drought tolerance of the grass. Endophyte-infected tall fescue is widely grown as a forage and hay crop for its drought tolerance, but it also causes varying levels of toxicity in livestock.
West has identified non-toxic endophyte strains that increase drought tolerance in infected fescue without causing toxicity. Two of his patented strains have been licensed for commercial production of non-toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue varieties.
West also teaches and conducts research in environmental restoration and bioenergy crops. He is documenting requirements for growing switchgrass in Arkansas as a possible bioenergy crop.
Results of West's research have been published in many refereed journal articles, he has written 15 book chapters, and he has co-edited two books. He has served as associate editor of Crop Science and the Journal of Production Agriculture, co-organized two international conferences, and served on the board of directors of the Arkansas Forage & Grassland Council.
West joined the University of Arkansas faculty in 1984. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University.