Precision crop researcher hired by UA System Division of Agriculture

by George Jared ([email protected]) 186 views 

Aurelie Poncet has joined the department of crop, soil and environmental sciences for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

Poncet’s primary research emphasis in the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the Division of Agriculture’s research arm, will be precision agriculture and remote sensing applications.

“I want to help farmers understand how precision agriculture technology works, how it affects decisions, division of labor and how to use it to maximize their profits,” Poncet said. “I want to promote adoption of these systems by being able to demonstrate their advantages.”

Poncet also has appointments for outreach in the division’s Cooperative Extension Service and teaching in the Bumpers College.

“We’re excited to have Dr. Poncet join us in the Division of Agriculture,” said Robert Bacon, head of the department of crop, soil and environmental sciences. “She brings research and teaching programs and a skillset in precision agriculture and big data management that will greatly help us meet the needs of Arkansas agriculture.

“Her skills and research interests also open exciting possibilities for collaboration with our researchers and extension specialists working on all of Arkansas’ commodities,” Bacon said.

Poncet said she has two research goals.

First, she wants to develop a better understanding of ecological viability in soil, climate, watershed and other environmental dynamics that affect plant and animal agriculture.

She will be investigating ways in which precision agriculture technologies can protect and sustain the environment while also improving farm profitability.

Poncet plans to work with farmers, extension agents, and other agricultural professionals to convert her research results into decision tools that help farmers integrate new technology into their management practices.

“Precision agriculture technology changes how decisions are made on the farm,” Poncet said.

Poncet is developing an undergraduate course in precision agriculture for the Bumpers College. Later, she wants to create a graduate-level course that “dives into the data” to teach how to address the research needs for advancing precision agriculture to help support sustainable food systems.

Poncet’s post-doctoral experience gives her the research background to tackle these issues and concepts in Arkansas.

Before coming to Arkansas, Poncet was a post-doctoral researcher in the department of crop and soil science at North Carolina State University, where she investigated the short-term effects of cover crops on soil water infiltration and uptake. Her research examined these cover crops across a variety of soils, climates and management practices.

Before that, Poncet was a post-doc in the department of crop, soil and environmental sciences at Auburn University, researching precision agriculture and remote sensing.

Poncet earned her master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Montpellier SupAgro, France. She earned her doctoral degree in biosystems engineering from Auburn University.

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