Ray Smith

Ray Smith

Ray Smith

Extension Professor

N122E Ag Science North 1100 Nicholasville Road Lexington, KY 40546-0091

Last Revised: Mar 19th, 2024

Professional Biography

Extension Professor, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky. May 2010 – Present

Associate Professor, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky. December 2004 – May 2010

Associate Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech. April 2001 – December 2004

Associate Professor, Plant Science Department, University of Manitoba, Canada. April 1996 – April 2001

Assistant Professor, Plant Science Department, University of Manitoba, Canada. January 1991 – April 1996

Graduate Research Assistant, Agronomy Department, University of Georgia; Alfalfa and forage breeding, pasture management. August 1985 – December 1990

High School biology teacher. Peach County Board of Education, Fort Valley, Georgia. August 1983 – May 1985


Extension activities include working closely with county agents and producers; conducting applied forage research for Kentucky and the transition zone; helping organize multi-county, state, regional, national, and international forage conferences; and writing and updating forage extension publications.

Research focus is the establishment and maintenance of legumes in pastures, hay production, developing computer teaching models, grazing trials, and forage variety testing.


Honors and Awards

  • 2021 High Impact Research/Extension Award, UK College of Agric. Food and Environment
  • Chair, International Grassland Congress Organizing Committee USA, 2018-2023
  • Chair, International Grassland Congress Continuing Committee, 2015-2021
  • Secretary, Forage Foundation, 2015-present
  • President of the American Forage and Grassland Council, 2014
  • Medallion Award, American Forage and Grassland Council’s Highest Award, 2013
  • Garry Lacefield Public Sector Award, KY Alfalfa Conference. 2009
  • KFGC Public Award State. Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council. 2008
  • UK Outstanding Project Award, UK Horse Pasture Evaluation Program. 2008
  • American Forage and Grassland Association Merit Award, 2005
  • Virginia Forage and Grassland Association Merit Award, 2005
  • Life membership in the Manitoba Forage Seed Association, 2001
  • University of Manitoba Outreach Award, 1999
  • Resolution of Commendation by the Manitoba Forage Seed Association for Outstanding Contribution to the Seed Industry, 1998
  • Teacher of the Year Award, Agriculture Diploma Program, 1997
  • E. Broadus Browne Award for Outstanding Graduate Research, College of Agriculture, University of Georgia, 1988




  • Books, Manuals or Chapters – 6
  • Refereed Journal Articles – 64
  • Refereed Conference Proceedings - 26
  • Research Reports – 39
  • Computer Programs Developed – 4
  • Presentations to Professional Audiences with Proceedings – 247


New Varieties

  • Alfagraze alfalfa (91) and Cut’n’graze alfalfa (92)
  • 18th Green bentgrass (92), 86-02 bentgrass (01), and 86-01 bentgrass (02)
  • Taylor little bluestem ecovar TM (01)
  • UM-EcoBG blue grama ecovar TM (02)
  • UM-EcoJG prairie junegrass ecovar TM (02)



Courses taught prior at the University of Manitoba: Crop Production, Grassland Agriculture, Advanced Plant Breeding, Introduction to Soils and Crops, Forage Crops

Courses taught at Virginia Tech: PLMS Decision Support Software (special topic graduate course), Guest lectures in Dairy Production, Beef Production, and Forage Crop Ecology

Courses taught at University of Kentucky: Guest lectures in Turf Management, Capstone Course, Forage Management

Additional Undergraduate Guest Lectures at Asbury University: Plant Taxonomy, Equine Management, Plant Physiology, Senior Research, Agricultural Missions



Master’s Candidates
Major advisor – 18
Service on committees – 37

Doctoral Candidates
Major advisor – 4
Service on committees – 10

Post-doctoral – 5

Undergraduate Senior Research Projects Advisor – 26

Internships – 8


Ph.D., Agronomy, University of Georgia, 1991
M.S., Agronomy, University of Georgia, 1987
B.S., Biology, Asbury College, 1983

Contact Information

Rebecca McCulley, Ph.D.
Department Chair

105 Plant Sciences Building Lexington, KY 40546-0312

(859) 257-5020