The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Northeast Rice Research & Extension Center director was recently recognized by Clemson University for his achievements and contributions to agriculture.
Tim Burcham, a 1989 graduate of Clemson with a doctorate in agricultural engineering, was presented with the 2021 Professional Achievement Award by Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences on Nov. 12.
Jean-François Meullenet, senior associate vice president for agriculture-research and director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, said Burcham has made great contributions to agriculture during his career.
“We feel fortunate to have him as the inaugural director of the Northeast Rice Research & Extension Center,” Meullenet said. “Tim has a clear vision for the center and the tenacity to make things happen. Congratulations to him for this award from Clemson University.”
Chuck Culver, interim vice president of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, echoed those sentiments.
“Tim is a leader who is not afraid of hands-on work,” Culver said. “He is also a person of vision who has the rare ability to rally others in support of his vision. We are grateful that Clemson University has recognized what we know well.”
As a registered professional engineer, Burcham has been involved in consulting activities associated with livestock waste management, onsite wastewater remediation, water quality, biofuels and computer software design. He also earned two patents in wastewater remediation before serving as dean of the College of Agriculture and Technology at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro from 2013-2019.
Burcham served as president for the Tennessee Onsite Wastewater Association in 2013 and has co-authored numerous research articles in professional journals and extension publications. He has also been the principal investigator for several research grants.
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Burcham earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering from Mississippi State University before moving to Pendleton, South Carolina, with his wife, Joan, to pursue a doctorate. He went on to hold teaching, research or extension positions with the University of Tennessee-Martin, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Mississippi State University.
At UT-Martin, he was named the Graduate Online Teacher of the Year in 2011. In 2020 he was selected as Engineer of the Year for the Arkansas Section of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
“I’ve lived by two mottos, which go back to my upbringing with my father and grandfather who were loggers, and my mother’s side who were sharecroppers: ‘Work hard and treat others with respect,’” Burcham said.
Burcham has led the Northeast Rice Research & Extension Center since 2019. Still under construction in Greenfield, about 14 miles south of Jonesboro, the Center is the Division of Agriculture’s newest research and extension center. The center will conduct research and extension activities through the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the research and extension arms of the Division of Agriculture.
“Throughout his stellar career, Tim has been a champion for agriculture while working in teaching, research and extension. There is no doubt that he constantly demonstrates the qualities that are expected from recipients of this prestigious award,” said John Hayes, Clemson University professor emeritus.
Burcham said Hayes was a mentor to him when they were studying at Mississippi State University. Burcham was nominated for the 2021 CAFLS Professional Achievement Award by K. Flint Holbrook, the 2020 award honoree. Both Burcham and Holbrook received their awards at the Nov. 12 event because the 2020 event was held virtually as part of COVID-19 precautions.
“We are fortunate in CAFLS to have numerous outstanding alumni and it is always a great day when we can recognize them for their professional achievements,” CAFLS Director of Alumni Relations Paula Beecher said. “We have not been able to celebrate our award winners in person the last couple of years, so this event was a great opportunity to welcome them back to campus. The achievements of these winners are impressive, and we are honored to have them as representatives of Clemson and the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.”