SDSU announces new Plant Science Department head

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS – David Wright is the new Plant Science Department Head at South Dakota State University, pending approval of the Board of Regents.

“David Wright brings with him extensive industry experience as well as a renewed commitment to relevance and high levels of productivity within the department,” said Barry Dunn, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of SDSU Extension. “He will do a great job working with the faculty and staff of the Plant Science Department to provide outstanding education for students and serve stakeholders and producers.”

The Plant Science Department is part of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at SDSU. It is a large, diverse department including faculty with expertise in soil science, plant breeding and genetics, genomics, horticulture, landscape architecture, entomology, plant pathology and weed science. Currently, 387 students are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees within the Plant Science Department.

As department head, Wright will lead the faculty in fulfilling the department’s mission to serve local, regional and national needs through integrated teaching, research, extension and technical service programs that promote excellence, adjust to changing needs and develop solutions.

Along with this, Wright will also lead the Plant Science Department to develop and maintain strong, relevant research, teaching, and extension programs; foster strong working relationships between the department and its alumni, university stakeholders; including commodity groups and other such constituencies, employers and news media; develop and manage budgets; represent the department in communications with the college and the university; have a strong commitment towards faculty development and help promote the department’s growth and success.

“I look forward to working with the faculty, students and SDSU Extension specialists and many stakeholders who are a part of the Plant Science Department at SDSU,” Wright said.

David Wright

Wright received his Ph.D. in Agronomy from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas and his master’s and bachelor’s of Science in Agronomy from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Throughout his career, Wright has been focused on solving production problems for the nation’s grain farmers and has extensive experience in building stakeholder and farmer partnerships as well as, forming and leading multi-disciplinary research teams.

Prior to joining SDSU, Wright was a visiting professor at Iowa State University in the Department of Agronomy. He was responsible for fostering strategic public/private research partnerships and multi-disciplinary research teams for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Before this, Wright worked for 11 years as the Director of Contract Research and Strategic Initiatives at the Iowa Soybean Association. There, he managed a competitive grants program investing $8.3 million annually to support problem-solving research at Land Grant Universities around the United States and the USDA. He also provided national leadership to the soybean research and Extension community and several state, regional and national checkoff boards.