Texas Soil Profiles


Vol. 19 No. 1

March 2001

Published by the Professional Soil Scientists Association of Texas


In this Issue...


President's Message ... Dennis Brezina

Death of Hank Mills

Minutes of the 2001 PSSAT Annual Meeting

PSSAT Officer Biographies

PSSAT 2001 Committee Assignments


President's Message ... Dennis Brezina

I send greetings to all members of the Professional Soil Scientists Association of Texas. I feel very humbled to serve as your President this year. I have always felt privileged to be able to work as a cooperator wit h my professors. Hopefully I will help carry on what the Association has built in the past 18 years.

I have listened to members saying what they like and dislike about the organization over the years. Many have felt we don't do anything, but I feel that the organization fulfills a purpose even if we only continue to provide a yearly scholarship. (You do what you can, as they say).

This is not to say that we do not need to improve in many areas. I would like to see us improve the advertisement of the scholarship. I feel that less than three applicants for this scholarship are unacceptable. I don't believe that the problem is that we have not been offering a large enough scholarship, and this past year's number of applicants should prove that. I feel that increasing the dues to $15 this coming year will help support the scholarship fund to the $1000 level that we presently have.

I also want to thank all of you who contribute even more money to the scholarship fund each year.

As we near our 20th Anniversary, I would like each of us to think about where we have been as an organization, where we are now and where we would like the Association to go. If you have any thoughts or ideas along these lines, please let us know, or bring it up at the next a nnual meeting.

I would like us to think about giving more money to the State 4-H Soils Judging Contest, FFA Land Judging Contest and Regional Soils Judging Contests. These young men and women are the future of our organization. If we do not support them now, there may be no one to support them in the future.

My plan for this year is to employ some of the more recent graduates of each University into the Scholarship Committee. These young men and women know more about what today's students are going through, and what they want and need. Many of these young men and women also have ideas that could improve the way we offer our scholarship. We owe it to ourselves to at least listen to them.

Several members came up with the idea of us offering a second scholarship to High School Seniors or incoming College Freshmen. This scholarship would be about $250-$500, and would serve to make High School students aware of our profession. I think this is an idea that we should consider. We may have to drop the Collegiate Scholarship back down to $750 or so to do this.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you who came to this year's annual meeting. I think it went well, and I think the facilities were excellent. Please give us feedback on where you would like next year's meeting to be. I have heard many say that they'd like to continue to have the meeting at the Holiday Inn, and I think that it has worked well there the past two years, but if you have any other thoughts, please let us know. I would like to thank Dan Kowalski for providing us the leadership this past year, and also for handling all of the meeting's arrangements.

Finally, I would like to thank Nellie Frisbee for being our Treasurer the past two years, and also thank Eddie Bearden for taking on that responsibility. It and Jamey's job of Editor are the two toughest and thankless jobs in the organization. I have also included a list of the Committees and Chairpersons of those committees. If someone listed does not want to serve, or if someone else in the Association would like to serve on a committee, please let me know.


Death of Hank Mills

We received news this morning of the death of Mr. Hank Mills, long-time professor and advisor to undergraduate students in our department. Following is the e-mail I received from Dr. Murray Milford.


Mr. Mills (Professor Emeritus for Soil and Crop Sciences) died about 9:30 PM on Thursday evening, March 7th. Plans will be made Friday. Marilyn indicated that Memorial Funeral Home in College Station would probably handle the arrangements. He had been in ICU continuously since his surgery on Feb. 25 and really off the ventilator only for shorts periods. His quality of life was such that death was probably welcome.

Murray Milford



Holiday Inn of College Station, TX

February 7, 2001

Members Present:

Dr. B.L. Allen, Eddie Bearden, Joel Bolin, Jon Brandt, Dennis Brezina, Samuel E. Brown, Jr., Susan Casby-Horton, Glen Chervenka, Joe Cordoza, Willie Crenwelge, Tom Cyprian, Jamey Douglass, Dr. Richard Drees, Shanna Dunn, Nellie Frisbee, Tom Feuerbacher, Michael Golden, James Gordon, Lynn Gray, James Greenwade, Ed Griffin, Dr. Richard Griffin, Ricky Lambert, Jerry Rives, Nathan Haile, Lindsay Lang, Don Sabo, Dr. Tom Hallmark, Dr. Lynn Loomis, Alan Stahnke, Dr. Jan Horbaczewski, Ryan Mersmann, Dr. Clyde Stahnke, Ed Janak, Wes Miller, Levi Steptoe, Jr., Maurice Jurena, Ramiro Molina, Alan Terrell, Laurie Kiniry, Conrad Neitsch, Charlie Thompson, Dan Kowalski, Sidney Paulson, Jon Wiedenfeld, Dr. Larry Wilding.


Russ Pringle, Doug Slabaugh, Mrs. Glen Chervenka, Dr. Wayne Hudnall, Derek Milner (Sul Ross State Univ), Laura Hastedt, and two friends.

President Dan Kowalski called the meeting to order. Dan asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes from the previous meeting, as printed in the March edition of Texas Soil Profiles. Being none, he moved the minutes be accepted as presented, Maurice Jurena seconded, and the motion passed.

Next Dan called on Laurie Kiniry, Scholarship Committee Chair to make her report. Laurie announced that this year's winner of the PSSAT Scholarship is Laura Hastedt. Laura is a Junior at Texas A&M University. She plans to complete her undergraduate work and move onto a M.S. in Environmental Soil Science. Laura visited Viet Nam and had a chance to study the soils there. Laura volunteered her time to work at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. At this time, Laurie presented Laura with a plaque and a check for $1000.00 .

Nellie Frisbee, Treasurer, presented the Financial Report. Nellie said the checkbook balance did match the statement. There is about $4,799 in the checking account, $4277 in the savings account. These amounts did not take in the disbursements or deposits from tonight's meeting. She had copies of the statement available. Dan commented that we are solvent.

At this point, Nellie had a motion to make, she moved that Dr. James DeMent, be designated an Honorary Member. She said Dr. DeMent was an expert in Surface Mining and Reclamation. Dan so moved that Dr. DeMent become an Honorary Member in PSSAT, it was seconded and passed. The only negative vote came from Charlie Thompson, who opposed the motion!

Next, Dan had some discussion for the membership. He said dues were at the level of $10 per year for the last eight to nine years. Of this amount, $6 is used for the general operating fund, and the remaining $4 goes to the Scholarship Fund. Dan said he would like to see the dues be raised to $15 per year. Of this, $6 would continue to the general fund and the remaining $9 would go into the Scholarship Fund. Dennis Brezina had a question about our total funds exceeding a limit of $10,000, would we be subject to taxes. Dennis commented that with 100 members, it would be a good idea to raise the dues to continue to fund the scholarship. Dan entertained a motion, Dennis Brezina so moved, Dr. Richard Griffin seconded, and the motion passed.

Laurie Kiniry offered some comments on the Scholarship Award. This year there was only one applicant. She said the committee sent letters to ten colleges in the state. Do we, the Scholarship Committee need to expand the requirements to include folks outside of soil science. It is apparent that fewer students are getting degrees in soil science. There was much discussion on this subject. Dan entertained a motion, to direct the Scholarship Committee to expand the criteria and eligibility for the PSSAT Scholarship. Laurie asked interested folks to contact the committee with their comments. Dr. Richard Griffin suggested we look into students in geology, geography, geomorphology and environmental science.

Dr. B.L. Allen suggested sending the letters to other Professors in the Department, rather than the Dean of the College. After more discussion, the motion died a terrible death!

Dan called on Dennis Brezina, President-Elect and Membership Committee Chair, to give his report. Dennis was happy to report that PSSAT gained six new members this past year. At this time Joe Cordoza and Ryan Mersmann were recognized.

Dan asked Jon Brandt, Webmasterto make his report. Jon reported that with the move of the webpage to www.io.com/PSSAT, there had be about 1,300 hits to the website. Jon announced he would be doing a new homepage requiring less time to load up. He mentioned there had been several requests for soils information and soils maps. Also, the PSSAT webpage was listed on six search engines. This means that if someone were to type in the keyword, "soils," our webpage would be in the results. We are slowly becoming more recognized by the public. Jon added he would add "scholarship" as a keyword. At this point, Dan read an email from a school teacher. She sent a question to him about a "dendrologist."

Dan called on Jon Wiedenfeld, Past President and Nomination Committee Chair to begin the election process. Jon asked that all the candidates to stand up and be recognized. At this point, a chad-free non-butterfly ballot was passed out to all in attendance.

Dan asked Michael Golden, MO9 Leader, USDA-NRCS, to make his presentations. Mike mentioned it was good to see all the soil scientists come together from government, academia and private industry. This was a good time to recognize soil scientists amongst their peers. At this time, Mike asked Ricky Lambert and Sidney Paulson to come forth to receive their 10 year service certificates and lapel pins. Mike said each year awards are presented to soil scientists within the NRCS in Texas for work done the past year. He announced the winner of the Outstanding Resource Soil Scientist had been active on the Karnes County Soil Survey, and past NRI activities. This year's winner was Ramiro Molina. Ramiro was presented an engraved knife in a pretty cool wooden box. Mike announced the winner for MLRA Update had done a lot of work on the Coast Prairie of Texas. Jon Wiedenfeld was presented a similar boxed knife. This year the winner of the MO Staff, had setup in Texas, and took the lead in getting a Temperature Study off the ground. Conrad Neitsch was presented a boxed knife too.

Dan called on Susan Casby-Horton, Public Relations and Education Chair, to give her report on the Soils of Texas Slide set. Susan said she mailed out a list of slides needed for each MLRA. She thanked those persons who responded to her request. She is still working, more help is still needed.

At this point, we all took a well deserved break.

The winners of the Officer Elections were announced. The new PSSAT Officers are: President-Elect = Jon Brandt, Vice President = Maurice Jurena, Treasurer = Eddie Bearden, Editor = Was there any doubt, Jamey has the position for life!

Dan called on Jan to give his presentation. Dr. Jan Horbaczewski gave a program on the activities at the TMPA mine located east of College Station. It was a great program. Some facts, the mine began in 1982 and closed mining operations in 1986. The grade of lignite at the mine, was the worst in the United States. About 29,000 acres were permitted, but only 7, 500 acres were actually mined. Jan said reclamation efforts have been going since 1983, and perhaps would be concluded in twenty years. He offered free tours of the mine, all one needed to do is to contact him.

Dan called on Dennis Brezina to come forth. Dan even had the gavel to pass on to the new President.

Dennis thanked each of the outgoing Officers for their fine efforts this past year. The outgoing Vice President Shanna Dunn and Treasurer Nellie Frisbee were given applause. Dennis also presented a plaque to Dan for his work last year.

Dennis reminded all in attendance, that there were cigars available for all, in celebration of the birth of his third child. He instructed everyone to take one, and if any were left, they were available at the Soi l Survey and Land Resource Workshop. His wife instructed him to not bring any cigars home!

Dennis told the group he had membership applications with him. Dennis then surveyed the audience as to when the organization was chartered. Some thought in 1981, others agreed it was in 1983. So we're two years away from our 20th Anniversary.

Dennis announced the 2001 PSSAT Chairs for the standing committees. Finance Committee - Glen Chervenka, Constitution and Bylaws - Jamey Douglass, Ethics - Ted Zobeck, Membership - Jon Brandt, Nominations - Dan Kowalski, Public Relations and Education - Susan Casby-Horton, and Scholarship Committee - Charlie Thompson and James Greenwade.

At this time Dennis entertained a motion to adjourn. They did!


PSSAT Officer Biographies

President, Dennis Brezina

I was born in Waco, Texas. I grew up and graduated High School in Axtell (pronounced Axe-tl, not Axe-tell). Texas A&M class of 1988. Worked as a student intern for Servi-Tech, a crop consulting company, in southwest Kansas. Started my career with SCS in January 1989 at Limestone County. From there I moved to Robertson, (4 month detail to Burleson), Lee, and presently Kenedy & Kleberg Counties. I think everyone has had the misfortune of meeting all of my family except for Ethan. Wife Laura, Blaine (6) and Megan (2). My hobby used to be golf, now I guess it's yardwork, though you'd never guess it by the looks of our yard.

President-Elect, Jon Brandt

I was born in Denver, Colorado. Lived in California, Guatemala, and Canada before moving to Texas to go to college. Received a B.S. in Agronomy and a M.S. in Soil Science from Texas A&M University in 1982 and 1986, respectively. I worked for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service from 1985 to 1989, helping manage a multi-agency demonstration project that focused on soil conservation measures to reduce wind erosion damage. In 1989, I moved to Austin to work for the Railroad Commission of Texas, in the Surface Mine Reclamation Division. The majority of time has been spent in the Abandoned Mine Land section, where I am responsible for mine site characterization and remediation (soil and minespoil sampling and analysis, GIS, and delineation/treatment of radioactive and acid spoil materials). I married Cheryl Burrier in 1989. She is the insurance practice coordinator at a law firm in Austin. Two sons, Stefan and Ryan, live in California. Stefan is in the Coast Guard and Ryan will be starting college this year. Involuntary hobby: renovating a house built in 1939.

Vice President, Maurice Jurena

I grew up on a farm in Hallettsville, Texas. I graduated from TAMU in 1974. I started my career with the SCS in Jan, 1975. I am married and have 3 daughters. My main hobby is playing the steel guitar in a C&W band which I have been doing for about seven years.

Treasurer, Eddie Bearden

I was born in Pampa, Texas. I graduated with a B.S. in Agronomy from TAMU in 1974, and a M.S. in Soil Science from TAMU in 1984. I worked 10 years for SCS at San Marcos, state staff in Temple, Gatesville, TAMU (Master's) and Caldwell. My wife, Denise, is Controller & Systems Manager for a law firm in Dallas. Son, Toby, is a Network Administrator for Soma Networks. Son, Nathan, is a student at Blinn College in Bryan. My main hobby is reading.

Editor, Jamey Douglass

I was born in Modesto, California and lived in the state for about 8 years. My dad was transferred to Des Moines, Iowa. I lived there for four years, and was able to experience all four seasons of the year. The last 30 years of my life have been spent in Texas. I graduated Texas A&M University in 1980 with a B.S. in Agronomy. I worked for a geotechnical engineering firm for about eight months after graduation. In 1981, I went to work for the Soil Conservation Service in Mt. Pleasant as a soil scientist. I worked on the four-county survey (Camp, Franklin, Morris and Titus), Fayette County, Mason County, and the Colorado County survey. My last move was to Victoria, and I am on the MLRA 150 Update survey. I have worked soil survey details in the Tongass National Forest (southeast Alaska) and Big Stone County (MN), as well as the Hockley, Terry, Lynn, Carson, Duval, Kenedy, Jasper and Newton counties.

I am single again and live with three cats. My hobbies include singing, photography, and volunteering.

Each year, I ask PSSAT members who attended the Soil Survey and Land Resource Workshop to share their comments.

This year, Charles Pehl, CPSS, had these observations:

"It was good to visit with you again at the Soil Survey and Land Resource Workshop in College Station. Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Larry Wilding, Richard Drees, Sam Feagley and the others, once again conducted a smoothly run workshop. The presentations on both carbon sequestration and nutrient management were topical and informative. The presentation by our Russian colleagues added an international dimension to the meeting. For me the workshop is more than two days of lectures, it is an opportunity to exchange ideas with other professional soil scientists, make important new contacts and broaden perspectives through inputs from other fields. As a soil scientist working in industry, I often feel cut of from the profession. The workshop which gives me the opportunity to associate with others of like mind and professional interests, helps me return to work charged up about our profession, ready for another year. I am looking forward to the 2002 Workshop in College Station and encourage all other soil scientists to attend and participate."


PSSAT 2001 Committee Assignments

Finance Committee:
Chairman-Glen Chervenka
Lynn Gray
Paul Holland
Ed Janak

Constitution and Bylaws Committee:
Chairman-Jamey Douglass
Kelly Attebury
Ryan Mersmann
Don Sabo

Ethics Committee:
Chairman-Ted Zobeck
Joel Bolin
Sam Brown
John Jacob

Membership Committee:
Chairman-President-Elect, Jon Brandt
Dan Blackstock
Tom Feuerbacher
Dr. Richard Griffin
Sidney Paulson

Nominations Committee:
Chairman-Immediate Past President-Dan Kowalski
Dr. Tom Hallmark
Ed Griffin
Harold Hyde
Wes Miller

Public Relations and Education Committee:
Chairperson-Susan Casby-Horton
Glen Chervenka
Willie Crenwelge
Wayne Gabriel
James Greenwade
Gaylon Lane
Lynn Loomis
Ramiro Molina
Allen Neuman
Phillip Owens
Jerry Rives
Alan Stahnke
Rick Zartman

Scholarship Committee:
Chairman-Charles Thompson
Dr. Dee Carson
Danny Chavez
Shanna Dunn
James Gordon
James Greenwade
Dr. Richard Griffin
Nathan Haile
Lindsey Lang
Dr. Lee Nordt


Want to see back issues of Texas Soil Profiles?

Click on the Hyperlinks below to view back issues that have been posted on the website.

Volume 17 No. 2 - August 1999
Volume 17 No. 3 - January 2000
Volume 18 No. 1 - March 2000
Volume 18 No. 2 - December 2000
Volume 18 No. 3 - January 2001

  Texas Soil Profiles is Edited By: Jamey Douglass

Texas Soil Profiles on the web - designed by: Ricky Lambert

Questions and comments on Texas Soil Profiles newsletter: Jamey Douglass or PSSAT<webmaster@pssat.org>