West Lafayette, IN | Certificate of Distinction: 2008
Don Jones is Professor and Extension Agricultural Engineer in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University, where he has served on the faculty since 1976. He was recently appointed Assistant Extension Program Leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
With his extensive applied research, teaching and extension programs in the area of agricultural structures and environmental systems, Don Jones has made a tremendous impact on the discipline of waste management, both as it relates to livestock production and to home sewage disposal. He is recognized worldwide for his innovative development and implementation of computer-based learning tools and decision support systems for rural waste management and water resources protection. These tools have been adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are accessible by users via the Internet at no charge. With more than 90 numbered extension publications, 79 technical publications, 14 books and handbooks, and 80 copyrighted software programs to his credit, Jones has benefited agricultural, government regulators, industry consultants, equipment and service providers. He is an avid supporter of the Midwest Plan Service (MWPS), a project of the land-grant universities in the twelve North-Central states, and has contributed as reviewer and author of 11 MWPS publications. His current work with MWPS is targeting a new client base and is projected to have far-reaching impacts on rural residences. One of his unique contributions has been his leadership in innovative delivery of extension environmental programming, developing many computer programs to train stakeholders in nutrient management and related issues. As one nominator said, he “has a tendency to boil down complex issues into practical, deliverable pieces.” Another said, “I have never seen an audience he could not reach with his delivery style and humor.”
A main thrust of Jones’ program of more than 100 applied research grants totaling $9 million has been the improvement of rural life in Indiana. He has developed innovative septic systems to respond to recent state regulations restricting on-site soil treatment systems for sewage effluent. In addition to his extension publications, he has developed 28 livestock housing construction plans and many other papers to assist rural dwellers, including a series of 24 publications dealing with rural energy conservation in the 1980’s.
He has taught six university courses, including “Agricultural Computer Applications” which reached nearly 2,000 students in five years and “Farmstead Planning” (ASM 333) which he team teaches with Dr. Alan Sutton and is a popular course because it presents comprehensive scientific and applied information in an understandable format.
Jones has been active for more than 30 years in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), formerly the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), chairing both the beef and extension committees and serving as associate editor for their publication Transactions. He provided expertise to various Information and Electrical Technologies and Soil and Water division committees. He has served in officer positions in the Indiana section, including chair. At Purdue he has served on numerous department and university committees, including serving as the Extension Leader for the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. He has served on committees with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Indiana Farm Bureau. He was instrumental in developing a national curriculum on waste management with USDA-CSREES, EPA, NRCS, MWPS, LPES and numerous land-grant universities, and he was on the executive committee for the USDA-sponsored National Center for Manure and Animal Waste Management.
Despite having only a minor appointment in teaching, Jones has three times been his department’s nominee for the College of Agriculture’s Outstanding Teacher award. In addition to receiving 25 Blue Ribbon Awards from ASAE/ASABE, Jones received the Aerovent Fan & Equipment Young Extension Man of the Year from ASAE (1981), the Senior Extension Worker Recognition Award from the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service (1991), the Industry Meritorious Service Award from the Indiana Pork Producers Association (1992), and the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service Team Recognition Award (1993), the Purdue Agriculture Dean's Team Award (1996 and 2002), the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists’ Association Team Award (1998), the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to the Rural People of Indiana (2002) and the ASAE Giese Extension Award (2002). In 2007 he was named a Fellow of ASABE, an honor granted to less than two percent of the ASABE membership and bestowed only on those who demonstrate unusual professional distinction, with outstanding qualifications and experience in the field of agricultural engineering.