Professor of Soil and Water Science
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Making agriculture both sustainable and environmentally sound is the often knotty problem that drives the research agenda of Donald Graetz.
Graetz is an international expert in both water quality especially in the area of animal waste and in land uses of non-hazardous wastes, such as animal manures, sewage effluent and solid municipal waste. “[Graetz] is widely respected for the depth and breadth of his knowledge, and for his ability to bring his talent as a scientist and a cooperator to bear on complex, real-world, timely problems,” says K. Ramesh Reddy, graduate research professor and chair of the Department of Soil and Water Science. “He routinely is called upon to collaborate in research projects addressing pressing scientific and, ultimately, public policy issues.”
For one ongoing project, Graetz and his colleagues are investigating rising nitrate levels in the Middle Suwannee River Basin and are developing strategies for monitoring and managing animal waste, fertilizer and human waste in the area.
“The agricultural community, which is key to the area’s economy and green space, is just as concerned about protecting water quality as anyone else,” Graetz says.
Graetz serves on a national committee looking at phosphorus behavior in the environment and works on the Florida Phosphorus Index Committee, an interagency group working on science-based guidelines for the land application of agricultural wastes in Florida.
“He continues to be a leader in the field of animal waste management as related to sustainable agriculture and sound water quality, and influences agency guidelines and policy in developing strategies for nutrient management,” Reddy says.
Graetz is involved with more than a million dollars worth of grants and contracts from agencies like the Environmenal Protections Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for projects that meld agriculture and the environment. He is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and of the Soil Science Society of America.