ADAMS - Stephen Machado no longer is an assistant professor at the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center.
Receiving tenure last month from Oregon State University, Machado has changed his title to associate professor and dryland agronomist.
Steve Petrie, superintendent at CBARC, calls Machado a key member of the faculty. He said tenure reflects and recognizes Machado's potential long-term value to OSU as shown by his professional performance and growth.
"Tenure is granted for achievement, not years of employment," Petrie said. "The tenure decision is based primarily on the individual's performance and achievements in scholarship. However, it is also appropriate to consider professional integrity and other factors in the decision-making process."
Petrie said promotion from assistant professor to associate professor usually occurs when tenure is granted, but promotion does not automatically grant tenure.
Machado said it means is OSU is satisfied with his performance as a scientist and will employ him indefinitely.
Born in Zimbabwe, Machado earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Swaziland, his master's degree from the University of Reading in England, and his Ph.D. from Kansas State University.
Machado started at CBARC in June 2001 as the dryland cropping system agronomist. He has developed a wide-ranging research program, Petrie said.
"His research program encompasses many aspects of dryland cropping, including screening for potential alternative crops, determining ways to minimize or eliminate fallow, adapting precision agriculture techniques to dryland farming systems and assessing potential weed control techniques in organic farming," he said.
To accomplish these objectives, Machado has established field and greenhouse trials at the Pendleton and Sherman agricultural stations, worked on grower fields in the region, made extensive use of the long-term experiments at the Pendleton station, and established a new set of long-term trials at the Sherman station.
Machado's field work has led to publishing 12 papers in professional journals. He also has published three peer-reviewed extension publications, 11 articles in peer-reviewed experiment station special reports, nine abstracts, 17 articles in conference reports, and 11 posters at professional meetings. He also has made numerous presentations at local, regional, national, and international meetings.
"Stephen has been an especially effective grant writer with a total value of more than $620,000, a remarkable record for a new scientist conducting field and applied research," Petrie said.
Machado has contributed to the Pendleton community as a volunteer soccer and track coach. And he was the driving force behind a project that shipped computers to a school in Zimbabwe. He arranged for the purchase, using Pendleton Rotary Club funds, of 52 surplus computers from OSU, configured appropriately, loaded with appropriate software, shipped to Zimbabwe, and installed in the school. He also arranged for the dedication ceremony to be filmed to show the sponsors the appreciation of the students, faculty and townspeople. He is working on a second shipment to expand the program.
"I am delighted to have Stephen working at the research station," Petrie said. "His work is making a difference for local growers. He has developed a research program that is recognized regionally and nationally for its contributions, and he is a true gentlemen with whom it is a pleasure to work."
Two farmers Machado has helped speak highly of his research. Eric Nelson of Pendleton and Bill Jepsen of Morrow County have worked closely with him.
Nelson said he and Machado brainstormed an organic field trial for his farm a couple of years ago and they've completed two years of a six-year test plot.
"We are looking at crop rotations and cover crops," Nelson said. "Stephen ... is willing to study and pursue what is considered a non-conventional farming system. What we are studying is really nothing new, but each ecosystem has its own nuances, and that is what we are trying to figure out with these organic plots.
"I am converting the whole farm over to organic agriculture, and that was the plan before Stephen and I came up with our test plots," Nelson added. "So the test plots dovetail nicely with my whole operation."
Jepsen described a 27-acre plot on his place west of Heppner that is intended to compare various annual crop direct seed rotations to chemical fallow and conventional fallow in winter wheat.
"When the five years had ended Stephen Machado saw the value in continuing the plots," Jepsen said. "The changes that take place in the soil when tillage is eliminated take several years to occur. That gave my plots a five-year head start on seeing the changes that can happen in direct seeding."
Jepsen said Machado secured funding to continue the research plot.
"We sat down and changed some of the rotations after learning what has worked and hasn't worked," Jepsen said. "The results from these plots has been very valuable to help us understand what kind of rotations will and won't work in this 12-inch rainfall area."