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V. Philip Rasmussen has been named head of the agricultural systems technology and education (ASTE) department at Utah State University, pending approval by the university's board of trustees.

Rasmussen is a professor and Extension Service soil conservation specialist in the plants, soils and biometeorology department at USU. He joined the department in 1981.The ASTE department stresses an interdisciplinary approach to agriculture and combines agricultural mechanics and education with new technologies, including computers, remote sensing and telecommunications. The department is located in a new building on the north side the of USU campus.

Rasmussen's work with soil conservation systems in Utah earned him the nickname No-Till Phil for his "Johnny Appleseed" approach to reduced-tillage research, which involved the use of research plots across the state. He is also widely known for developing a sophisticated soil moisture sensor and for finding innovative uses for microcomputers on farms.

"Agriculture must assume a more environmentally benign image, one consistent with the reality that farmers and ranchers are our original environmentalists who would never knowingly harm the environment," Rasmussen says.

Rasmussen earned BS and MS degrees from USU and a Ph.D.

from Kansas State University. He received USU's E.G. Peterson Extension Award in 1990.