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Extension Program

The goal of the Biological Systems Engineering Extension program is to meet the engineering needs of the Commonwealth and the nation by conducting vital, dynamic extension education, technology transfer and applied research activities to promote an environmentally sustainable and profitable agricultural production and processing system.

BSE provides outreach support through Virginia Cooperative Extension by addressing environmental concerns about water quality, waste management, energy use, and safety, as well as production agriculture. Virginians who develop and use land, water, and other resources, must make important decisions about production facility design, equipment selection, and operating parameters. The ability to make wise decisions requires technical literacy. Except for the land-grant university system, few unbiased sources exist that provide technical information.

BSE Extension Personnel & Programs

Total Daily Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) Program

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    Brian Benham , bio

    Professor and Extension Specialist: Watershed management, nonpoint source pollution assessment and control, household drinking water quality

Brian Benham's extension program strives to develop and disseminate knowledge that promotes effective water resources management to improve water quality. His team mainly focuses on developing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) through applied research and extension that includes working with students, stakeholders, state and federal agency staff, and consulting engineers. 

Land & Water Synergy Program

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    Zachary Easton , bio

    Professor and Extension Specialist: Hydrology and water quality, best management practices, modeling

Zachary Easton oversees the Land & Water Synergy Program, which focuses on the balance between soil & water resources, environmental change, sustainable land use, and policy. Current programs involve developing a pay-for-performance incentive systems to scale up legacy nutrient treatment and piloting a program using bioreactors to remove groundwater nitrogen, for which the landowner is compensated directly for the amount of nutrient removal provided.

Extension Energy Program

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    John Ignosh , bio

    Advanced Specialist, Agricultural Byproduct Utilization: Agricultural byproduct utilization, renewable energy, energy efficiency, nutrient management, Extension programming, project analysis, and international development

John Ignosh oversees the Extension Energy Program, which works to improve the financial and environmental sustainability of agricultural production systems. To achieve this goal, Ignosh and his program focus on the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and nutrient management technologies.

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    Erin Ling , bio

    Water Quality Extension Associate: Private water supply testing and outreach, community watershed management, development of water quality education and outreach materials, social marketing and behavior change, program management

Erin Ling oversees the Virginia Household Water Quality Program (VAHWQP). VAHWQP helps Virginian well and spring owners test the quality of their water and  know about maintenance of these sources to address possible problems. Other activities of Ling's extension program include community management, water quality education and outreach materials, and social marketing for community-based watershed organizations.

Integrated Management and Utilization of Bioresidues Program

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    Jactone Ogejo, P.E. , bio

    Associate Professor and Extension Specialist: Animal manure and other organic bioresidues management and utilization; characterization and mitigation of aerial pollutants from sources in animal feeding operations

Jactone Ogejo's program focuses on advancing and improving the management and use of bioresidues from the food systems supply chain. He aim to increase the knowledge of recovering value and minimizing the adverse impacts that ioresidues present to our society. Specifically, Ogejo develops and disseminates educational programs to advance and transition managing bioresidues in the food systems supply chain from the current linear model to a circular economy model. His work involves improving the handling, safety, use, and environmental stewardship of bioresidues. 

Urban Stormwater Management Program

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    David Sample, P.E. , bio

    Professor and Extension Specialist: Urban stormwater management, watershed modeling, and design of best management practices

The objectives of David Sample's extension program are: 1) to increase awareness of the impacts of urban stormwater and available stormwater control measures (SCMs), also known as best management practices (BMPs, 2) to advance the technical capabilities of professionals engaged in designing and implementing SCMs, and, 3) to facilitate the evaluation and implementation of new stormwater treatment technologies.

Climate Change Impacts and Resilience Program

Water Use and Irrigation Program

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    Julie Shortridge , bio

    Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist: Water resources engineering and management; Climate change impacts and adaptation; Risk and decision analysis in water systems

Julie Shortridge aims to translate novel approaches to managing climatic and water related insights into practical recommendations for agricultural producers, water managers, and municipal agencies. Her program on Climate Change Impacts and Resilience supports a diverse group of clientele in understanding and addressing risks from climate change and extreme weather. Her Water Use and Irrigation program develops and delivers educational resources that inform producer decision making about whether or not to introduce irrigation into their operation, and, if they do, to improve their irrigation management skills. 

Supplementary Resources

To know more about BSE faculty's published research associated with extension programs and general information about National Extension Foundation, check out the links below.