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Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors

The Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (SAAESD) is one of five regional associations responsible for facilitating the cooperation of regional and national research. The research is supported in part by the Multistate Research Fund (MRF), which is a federal appropriation authorized by the Hatch Act. Additional support comes from other federal programs as well as state and private sources. The research program focuses on regional priorities that are identified and developed jointly by State Agricultural Experiment Station (SAES) Directors, Departmental Chairs, and participating scientists.

The SAAESD is a formal coalition of directors of fifteen state agricultural experiment stations (SAES) in the southern US.  The southern SAES are located on the campuses of the region’s 15 Land-grant Universities including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  All of these stations contribute to a nationwide research system dedicated to meeting the global challenges associated with agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and human nutrition by offering the best available science.


The SAAESD is an autonomous organization that conducts regional activities in alignment with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Board on Agricultural Assembly (BAA) through the Experiment Station Section (ESS) and the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP). The SAAESD serves as a liaison between the Southern AES Directors and the USDA regarding initiatives and programs that are funded through the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

map of southeastern US
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Gary Thompson, Executive Director
Cindy Morley, Program Coordinator

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Discover the Impact of Southern Innovation



Four Overarching Goals

Increase scope, diversity and relevance of our collective research portfolios

Strengthen our current relationship with USDA-NIFA by continuing to address high priority research aligned with their goals, and forge new relationships with other funding agencies. This requires a commitment to collaboration, identifying high-priority research areas where, as a region, we can build on specialized strengths of individual SAES to make an impact.

Strengthen collaborative research that has regional relevance

Broaden the scope of activities we support to elevate and extend beyond Multistate Research projects, promoting science-based decision support to address the complex, multifaceted challenges facing agriculture and life sciences. Building on areas of synergy among SAESs and incentivizing collaborations will make us more competitive for research funding and stimulate the formation of regional centers of excellence. Likewise, strategic investments in Multistate Research projects can provide incentives to engage in competitive grant programs.


Support and develop excellent human capital 

Create opportunities to enhance the recognition and visibility of our faculty at the regional and national levels. Encourage a diverse and inclusive workforce and support regional initiatives for professional development and regional leadership training of directors and faculty at all career stages. Engage graduate students and postdoctoral researchers by providing regional opportunities to broaden their professional experiences.

Showcase member successes, both internally and externally 

Increase the clarity, consistency, and scale of messaging coming from our research programs by speaking with a coordinated voice on regional issues that complements, reinforces and elevates messages from our respective universities. The scope of our individual communications can be broadened by engaging communicators from our member institutions to effectively network and provide substantive and regular information to generate impactful products.

SAAESD Member Websites

Alabama/Auburn University

AES:  Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station

College of Agriculture:

Arkansas/University of Arkansas

AES:  Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station

Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences:

Florida/University of Florida


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences:

Georgia/University of Georgia

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences:

Kentucky/University of Kentucky


College of Agriculture, Food and Environment:

Louisiana/University of Louisiana


LSU College of Agriculture:

Mississippi/Mississippi State University


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:

North Carolina/North Carolina State University


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:

Oklahoma/Oklahoma State University


Ferguson College of Agriculture:

Puerto Rico/University of Puerto Rico-Mayaquez


College of Agricultural Sciences:

South Carolina/Clemson


College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences:

Tennessee/University of Tennessee


Herbert College of Agriculture:

Texas/Texas A&M University


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:

Virginia/Virginia Tech


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:

Virgin Islands/University of the Virgin Islands


School of Agriculture:

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