In Brief / en bref...

Wheatfield, NY defends local biosolids ordinance against NY Dept. of Markets & Agriculture (NYSDAM).... As reported last month, NYSDAM ordered the Town of Wheatfield to not enforce its ban on the use of biosolids on local farms.  In response, Wheatfield's Town Board contracted for more legal assistance and issued a letter to NYSDAM that strongly refutes NYSDAM's order and arguments. "We are going to vigorously defend our law," said Town Supervisor Robert Cliffe, as quoted in Niagara Frontier Publications.  NEBRA has responded with Op-Ed pieces in the Buffalo News and the Niagara Falls Reporter.


Dr. Rufus Chaney was celebrated by his research colleagues at a U. S. Department of Agriculture W-3170 meeting in June, 2016.  On behalf of NEBRA, the NEBRA Board of Directors thanked Dr. Chaney with a congratulatory plaque (photos).

Dr. Chaney had planned to retire from the U. S. Department of Agriculture this month, but has arranged to continue until March, 2017, to complete several projects. His stellar career was recently summarized by USDA:

Rufus Chaney earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Heidelberg College in 1964, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University in 1969. He came to Beltsville for an NAS-NRC Post-Doc which started on Sept. 9, 1969, joining the Sterling Hendricks’ Mineral Nutrition Pioneering Research Lab to work with John Brown and Lee Tiffin.

In 1972, he joined the Biological Waste Management and Soil Nitrogen lab. With continuing reorganizations, he was in the Soil Microbial Systems Lab, then the Environmental Chemistry Lab, then the Environmental Management and By-Product Utilization Lab, and recently the Crop Systems and Global Change Lab. His research has included work on mechanisms of Fe uptake by plants; on heavy metal aspects of municipal sewage sludge (now biosolids) utilization, which resulted in methods used to incorporate biosolids to reduce metal phytoavailability; on plant uptake of metals which resulted in clarification of the potential for metal phytotoxicity and food chain risks; worked with US-FDA scientists and US-EPA staff to develop regulations for safe use of biosolids on cropland; studied the contamination of urban garden soils with Pb and other metals; evaluated genetic variation in sunflower Cd accumulation, effect of soil properties on kernel Cd, and identified that certain soil series produced kernels with higher Cd than preferred in the EU; and proposed the use of rare metal hyperaccumulator plants to remove metals from soils where the contamination comprised risk to the environment (phytoextraction).

During his research, he has mentored 45 M.S. and Ph.D. students and 34 visiting scientists and postdoctoral scientists from 23 countries. Awards received during his career included being elected as Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy (1992), the Soil Science Society of America (1992), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2001), the American Society of Agronomy Environmental Quality Research Award in 2000, Beltsville Area Senior Research Scientist of the Year in 1995, the USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for Environmental Protection in 1997, the USDA Presidential Rank Meritorious Senior Professional Award in 2003, and was promoted to the Senior Scientific Research Service in 2004. With all these achievements, he was elected to the “ARS Science Hall of Fame” in 2013.


Lincoln, Ontario has rejected a biosolids storage facility and local concerned citizens are pleased.