Leanne Dillard

Associate Professor & Extension Specialist (Forage Agronomics)

Animal Sciences / Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences / Forages

(334) 844-7514 



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303B Upchurch Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • Ph.D.in Animal Sciences – Ruminant Nutrition/Nutrient Management, Auburn University (2013)
  • M.S. in Animal Sciences, Auburn University (2009)
  • B.S. in Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham (2007)


Dr. Leanne Dillard is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Department of Cop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences.

Dr. Dillard’s research interests include the use of biostimulants, such as plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), in forage systems to reduce reliance on synthetic N sources. She also focuses on integrated crop-livestock systems and the effects of grazing cattle with cover crops on animal and crop performance. Her Extension program provides programs, workshops, and online resources for Alabama producers to promote economically and environmentally sustainable hay and pasture production. She has authored or co-authored 27 peer-reviewed journal articles and 3 Extension handbooks. She is also the coach of the Auburn University Forage Bowl Team.

Dr. Dillard is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Grass and Forage Science and the national American Society of Animal Science Pasture and Forage Committee. She is an active member of the American Forage and Grassland Council, the Southern Section American Society of Animal Science, and the Crop Science Society of America.


  • Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Auburn University, Auburn, AL (2023)
  • Forage Extension Specialist & Assistant Professor, Auburn University, Auburn, AL (2017-2023)
  • Research Animal Scientist, USDA-ARA, State College, Pennsylvania (2015-2023)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Georgia, Athens, GA (2014-2015)
  • Adjunct Faculty, Columbia State Community College, Columbia, TN (2013)
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Auburn University, Auburn, AL (2007-2013)
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL (2003-2007)


  • American Society of Animal Science
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • Crop Science Society of America
  • American Forage and Grassland Council


  • Southern Section Animal Science Early Career Education Award (2023)
  • National Association of County Agents Communication Award- Regional Finalist (2022)
  • Auburn Author Award (2022)
  • American Forage and Grassland Council Merit Award (2022)
  • Alabama Achievement Award – National Association of County Agricultural Agents (2020)
  • Auburn University, College of Agriculture Project Team Award – Beef-Forage Interface Team (2019)


Introduction of annual forages into perennial systems to extend the grazing systems and increase forage quality. Integrated crop-livestock systems and their effects on the agro-ecosystem. The use of biostimulants, such as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, to increase forage yield and nutritive value, while reducing reliance on synthetic N sources.


As a commodity, forages are second only to the forestry industry in covering the most acreage, representing over 4 million acres of pasture and hay production in Alabama. Forages support livestock production including beef cattle, the second largest livestock industry in Alabama, with an estimated 1.3 million head of beef cows and calves with an annual value of over $1.2 billion. Over 95% of beef cattle operations in Alabama are pasture-based and all beef cattle operations must feed forages as pasture, hay, or silage at least 60% of the diet. The Alabama Forage Extension program puts together a science-based team for ensuring that Alabama forage producers reach their full potential while enhancing the local ecosystems as well. This multi-disciplinary team is called the “Alabama Forage Focus Extension Program”.

The primary goals of the Alabama Forage Focus Extension Program are:

  1. To provide foundational systems for effective forage management to improve local and regional soil, water, plant, and animal systems;
  2. To reduce the need for stored forage and feed inputs and reduce waste by developing year-round forage grazing systems increasing economic and environmental sustainability of forage and livestock production in Alabama.