March 10, 2015 | By: Carol Lea Spence

Rick Bennett has been named the new director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and associate dean for research at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Bennett will assume his new duties on June 1.

Bennett comes to UK from the University of Arkansas College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, where he is a professor and head of the Department of Plant Pathology. In that position, he directed national and state research and extension programs, as well as built partnerships with state and federal agencies. Prior to that, he spent 17 years in various roles with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, including serving as national program leader for plant health. As such, he managed a large national research program with an annual budget of more than $68 million.

“We are pleased that Dr. Bennett is going to join our administrative team,” Dean Nancy Cox said. “Dr. Bennett brings extensive experience based on his leading programs at the USDA Agricultural Research Service and at the University of Arkansas.”

As experiment station director, his primary task will be to promote success of the research enterprise in the college. He will also supervise several support programs critical to Kentucky’s economy, including Division of Regulatory Services, UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center, the Research and Education Center in Princeton and the Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand.

“The University of Kentucky is regarded as a top tier university in agricultural research. I’m passionate about research, and I am very excited to have this opportunity to join the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. I’m looking forward to working in a great team environment with Dean Cox, the associate deans, as well as the department chairs and unit leaders. Together they represent the great diversity of research in Kentucky,” Bennett said. “I’m most excited to learn more about the research-related activities and opportunities for the college’s academic departments and all of the off-campus units and centers.”

Bennett praised the broad stakeholder support for the experiment station and promised to build on those relationships to ensure sustained growth.

“Dr. Bennett has a reputation for helping others succeed,” Cox said. “We are very happy to have him join our college.”


Nancy Cox, 859-257-4772; Rick Bennett, 479-575-2445

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