University of Nevada-Reno, Hires New Ag School Chief

Payne an international dryland ag researcher.

Published on: Feb 19, 2014

A nationwide search for a new University of Nevada-Reno ag dean has ended with selection of William Payne, known as an international expert in dryland ag and food productivity.

He will head up the university's College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources.

Payne hails from the University of Texas A&M University, where he was a professor of crop physiology and director of the multi-international, $150 million research endeavor aimed at improving food security and livelihoods in the dry areas of the world.

Payne will also head up UNR's Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station system, which conducts basic and applied research, programs and collaborators to enhance the state's farming industry. The system operates eight stations throughout Nevada.

University of Nevada-Reno, Hires New Ag School Chief
University of Nevada-Reno, Hires New Ag School Chief

"I'm excited about this position for several reasons," says Payne. "I am impressed by the very high standards exemplified by faculty and staff, and the college's interdisciplinary composition. I believe these are qualities that provide comparative advantages in addressing the real world problems in Nevada and around the world, for solutions to such problems are almost always interdisciplinary."

As director of A&M's dryland systems research program, Payne conducted through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, he led an innovative and integrated agro-ecosystem approach involving multiple stakeholders to improve ag productivity and alleviate poverty and hunger in dry areas of the world, particularly in Ethiopia.

"As someone who has seen the benefits of the land-grant system, I remain a firm believer in its power to transform and improve lives," he says. "The University of Nevada, Reno, and its sister land-grant universities will continue to tackle new challenges and opportunities, and their mission in education, research and extension remains as vital and vibrant as ever."

Payne has co-authored more than 120 journal articles and book chapters, and edited three books. He has been named a fellow of five international scientific societies and has held many leadership roles at the state, national and international level.