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Dr. Scott R. Yates is the recipient of the 2014 Award for Innovation in Chemistry of Agriculture. Since 2004, Dr. Yates has been Research Leader with USDA-Agricultural
Research Service (ARS), US Salinity Laboratory located in Riverside, California. He has also held courtesy appointments with University of California–Riverside, where he was promoted to Professor of Soil Physics (Adjunct) in 1997. He obtained his BS in Geology from University of Wisconsin, his MS in Hydrology from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and a PhD in Soil Physics from the University of Arizona. Since joining ARS, he has led an interdisciplinary team of researchers in the development of methods for evaluating, predicting and reducing agricultural pollution of soil, water, and
Dr. Yates is receiving this recognition for his extensive and creative research into measuring and predicting the fate and transport of pesticides in soil, and for developing methods to control atmospheric emissions. His initial research on methyl bromide showed that soil fumigation was a major agricultural source of methyl bromide to the atmosphere. Subsequent research focused on innovative approaches to reduce atmospheric emissions of methyl bromide and other soil fumigants while maintaining pest control efficacy. This research forms the basis of our current understanding of the behavior of fumigants in soils. An extension of this research has been the development of improved methods to predict the fate and transport of pesticides in the environment. Using field and laboratory measurements, Dr. Yates has determined deficiencies in current predictive models and developed more accurate alternatives. This research has also led to the development of an ASTM standard method for measuring the permeability of agricultural films to fumigant chemicals as a means for mitigating emissions and in support of fumigant regulations.
Dr. Yates has published over 300 publications, which include a patent, 61 publications in the ACS journals, and 40 abstracts at ACS meetings. Dr. Yates is a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, Soil Science Society of America, and American Society of Agronomy, and has received several research awards, including the Soil Science Applied Research Award, Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Outstanding Partnership Award, and a USDA-ARS Early Career Research Scientist Award. He has been member of several editorial boards, including Soil Science Society of America Journal, Journal Environmental Quality (JEQ) and has also served in a number of leadership capacities, including 3-years of service on AGRO’s Executive Committee, 6-years of service as Technical Editor of JEQ, and 3-years of service as incoming chair, chair, and past-chair of the SSSA Soil Physics Division, among others. He has been active in AGRO since 1993, has coorganized numerous symposia, presented his research findings at many ACS meetings, has contributed chapters to four ACS Symposium Series books and has also served as co-editor. Dr. Yates continues to devote considerable effort to mentoring students and post-graduate research scientists, many whom have participated in the AGRO Young Scientist Research Award and Symposium, including one first-place, one runner-up, and several travel-award winners.