An internationally recognized cotton breeder has been selected as the next head of the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences in the Auburn University College of Agriculture.
Steven Hague, most recently a professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University, will join the department effective July 17.
“We are pleased to have Dr. Hague joining our faculty as head of the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences,” said Paul Patterson, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. “His research, teaching and outreach experience show his dedication to the land-grant mission, and I am confident he will direct the department well in all three areas.”
Hague’s research has covered a wide variety of cotton breeding topics, including enhancement of germplasm diversity, drought tolerance, Fusarium resistance, remote sensing with UAVs, yield components, fiber quality and insect resistance. He has published 58 peer-reviewed journal articles.
His research program has been supported through active grantsmanship, including securing $7.5 million in funding as primary investigator or co-primary investigator. The impact of his work can be seen in his development of better resistance to an emerging race of Fusarium — a large genus of fungi — that is more aggressive than historically established races.
In addition to his strong research record, Hague has extensive experience as a teacher and has been recognized with teaching awards from Texas A&M and professional societies. He served on his department’s curriculum committee and has been serving as the associate director for the university’s undergraduate research program. He has been an active mentor to graduate students, having completed 19 doctoral students and 58 master’s degree students as chair or committee member.
Hague is recognized as a respected scientist by the agribusiness sector, and he has engaged in considerable outreach, including international service, during his tenure at Texas A&M. His outstanding scholarly record and professional service have resulted in him being named a fellow in the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.
Hague said he is excited to be part of the Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department at Auburn University at what he considers a critical time.
“We want a department that serves the needs of Alabama,” he said. “We are at an inflection point, I think, in our world history. Agriculture has an extraordinary responsibility to feed and clothe more than 8 billion people while protecting our scarce and fragile land and water resources. Our department is at the nexus of that challenge. And by fulfilling the land-grant mission — which means a balance of teaching, research and extension — we will discover and help implement sustainable solutions.”
Hague earned his Bachelor of Science in agricultural sciences from Texas A&M University at Commerce, Master of Science in agronomy from Texas Tech University and doctorate in plant breeding from Texas A&M University. He said he is eager to join the faculty at Auburn.
“I am looking forward to working with the people at Auburn University,” he said. “Everyone I have met there has been fantastic. Auburn alumni are strong supporters of their university, and that says so much about the place.”
Since August 2022, Kira Bowen has served as interim department head for Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences.
“I would like to thank Dr. Bowen for her excellent service as interim department head,” Patterson said. “She has helped lead this department through a valuable strategic planning process, setting the stage for the next department head.”