Oct. 21, 2020
State agricultural and biological engineers society honors Burcham
By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- Burcham honored as Engineer of the Year
- Burcham serves as director of NE Rice Research and Extension Center
UNDATED – The new Engineer of the Year for the Arkansas Section of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers says he’d glad to have traded his suits and dress shoes for muddy boots and dungarees.
Tim Burcham, director of the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center, or NERREC, for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture was honored in an online ceremony on Oct. 9.
“We’re very proud to see Tim recognized by his peers in engineering,” Mark Cochran, vice president-agriculture and head of the Division of Agriculture, said. “When he was named to head up our efforts at the new rice station, he immediately put his engineering expertise to work to progress the vision of the new Rice Research and Extension Center into the reality that we are all truly excited about.”
“Tim has worked tirelessly on the development of the research infrastructure at our newest research and extension center and it is great to see him being recognized by his peers in Arkansas,” said Jean-Francois Meullenet, director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station for the Division of Agriculture. “I know Dr. Burcham is just getting started and I think we will all be very proud of what will be accomplished at NERREC once the vision for the new center is fully implemented.”
Before his appointment in 2019 as NRREC director, Burcham served as dean of the College of Agriculture at Arkansas State University. The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the Division of Agriculture, operates the station.
Since his appointment to the rice station, Burcham has:
- Led the design of a new irrigation system that will provide surface and groundwater to all production fields on the farm
- Provided oversight during land leveling operations on 450 acres
- Designed and implemented a drainage network for the farm
- Developed a geo-referenced database for the farm and
- Aided in the design and siting for the NERREC farm shop
His plans for the 2021 planting season include applied irrigation research, Arkansas variety trials, evaluation of soil health on “cut” soils with cover crops and evaluating the impact of land-leveling on crop productivity.
“I traded my tailored suits and shiny dress shoes for dungarees and muddy boots when I became director of the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center,” Burcham said. “Looking back over this past year, I wouldn’t change a thing!
“I awaken every day with a new challenge that summons every ounce of my engineering education and real-world engineering experience,” he said. “I am so humbled and thankful to be recognized by the Arkansas Section of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers for this prestigious award.”
Burcham earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from Mississippi State University and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Clemson University. Prior to his 2013 appointment as dean at Arkansas State University, he held teaching, research, or extension positions at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Mississippi State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Burcham is a registered professional engineer in Arkansas and Mississippi and has been involved in consulting activities associated with irrigation design, livestock waste management, onsite wastewater remediation, water quality, biofuels and computer software design. He is active in the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and has held numerous leadership positions including serving on the Board of Agricultural Assembly’s Policy Board of Directors.
Follow progress at the new station on Twitter at @NEArkrice.
To learn about extension and research programs in Arkansas, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk, @uaex_edu or @ArkAgResearch.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Chief Communications Officer
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture