McCurdy of MSU honored for early-career achievements

McCurdy of MSU honored for early-career achievements

A turfgrass specialist at Mississippi State University is receiving a major national accolade. (Photo By: David Ammon)

By: Vanessa Beeson

Jay McCurdy is the latest young professional recognized by the Crop Science Society of America for making significant contributions to the field within seven years of completing a final academic degree. He will accept the CSSA 2017 Early Career Award and accompanying $2,000 stipend late next month at the organization's annual meeting in Tampa, Florida.

A Tennessee native reared on a sod farm in the Gibson County city of Dyer, McCurdy came to MSU two years ago after completing an Auburn University doctorate in agronomy and soils. He earned earlier degrees at University of Tennessee campuses in Martin and Knoxville.

Founded in 1955 and based in Madison, Wisconsin, CSSA works to advance the discipline of crop science by acquiring and disseminating information about seed genetics and plant breeding, crop physiology and production, and environmental quality, among other disciplines.

An assistant professor of plant and soil sciences with the MSU Extension Service, McCurdy also conducts research with the campus-based Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Additionally, he teaches in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' nationally recognized golf and sports turf management academic program within the plant and soil sciences department.

Beyond this, McCurdy currently edits Mississippi Turfgrass magazine and is associate editor of the International Turfgrass Society proceedings in the Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science. He also has authored nearly 20 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

"I am humbled to receive this award and grateful to have been nominated," he said. "The previous recipients of this award are giants in the field, so I have big shoes to fill."

In expressing appreciation at being selected for the prestigious honor, McCurdy cited his ongoing collaborations with colleagues at Mississippi State and throughout the state's turf industry. "Since I began here in 2014, I have been welcomed and supported in all aspects of my career," he said.

He also called the award "a testament to my wife Vicky and the rest of my family who have been extremely supportive and patient with the travel and long days and nights away from home."

College Dean George Hopper said McCurdy "has been a wonderful asset to our golf and sports turf management program."

"He's a first class researcher who has his finger on the pulse of the industry," Hopper said. "His expertise not only educates our students as future leaders in weed science and turf management, but further solidifies MSU's longstanding position as an academic leader in this area."

For more about MSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and its Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, visit, respectively, and Details about the golf and sports turf management program are found at

The MSU Extension Service's website is; MAFES,

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