Massey University has appointed Professor Tony Parsons as Chair in Grassland Science at the Institute of Natural Resources.
Professor Parsons joins the University from AgResearch, where his work focused on carbon cycling and sequestration in pastoral ecosystems, the risks and opportunities of new organism and traits, and modelling the interactions between animals and plants.
Institute head Professor Peter Kemp says he is delighted that Professor Parsons is joining Massey. “He is a world-renowned scientist, with an international network of collaborators on the important subject of grasses and clover in pastures, their effect on the soil, and how we manage all aspects.”
Professor Parsons is very pleased to be taking up the role. “New Zealand’s future must be based on a sound understanding of how plants, soils and animals interact with the environment,” he says. “Seeing no boundaries between science disciplines or between ‘agriculture’ and ‘environment’ is an essential part of finding ways forward, for us now, and for the next generation of scientists and policy makers.”
He joined AgResearch (Climate Land and Environment) in 1997, from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in the United Kingdom. He worked initially at the Grassland Research Institute, Hurley, as a plant physiologist on temperate grasses and then on grassland management, grazing and intensification studying animal intake and behaviour and nutrient cycling.
In 2009, a formal link with Massey was established when he was appointed part-time as professorial chair in carbon cycling in pastoral systems, a position sponsored by the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust.
The trust’s board chair Jeff Grant regards the full appointment of Professor Parsons as a mark of success. “AGMARDT established the position to enable a top class scientist in the important are of carbon cycling to have focussed time in research and education,” he says. “The trustees anticipated that students, industry personnel and farmers would benefit. The fact that Massey has now made the position full time, with AGMARDT support, is an indicator that the plan has worked.”
Professor Parsons commences work at Massey University on June 1, and will continue to work closely with overseas colleagues and those at AgResearch, Lincoln University, and DairyNZ.