Dr. Lisa Baxter has served as the University of Georgia State Forage Extension Specialist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Crop and Sciences at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus since 2019. As a forage systems agronomist, Baxter addresses questions on all aspects of forage production including planting, fertilizing, controlling weeds, troubleshooting, and grazing or harvesting. Nearly 4 million acres of forages are grown in Georgia each year, covering approximately 45% of the agricultural land area in the state.
Baxter grew up raising livestock in North Carolina before attending Berea College in Kentucky and graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Agriculture and Natural Resources. She received her Master’s in 2014 from the University of Georgia where she focused on the bermudagrass stem maggot, a novel pest that was rapidly damaging bermudagrass hayfields and pastures throughout the Southeastern US. Finally, Baxter earned her PhD from Texas Tech University in 2017 where she investigated the cattle-gain water-use nexus by employing regionally novel forage combinations and grazing techniques to optimize the allocation of groundwater, the region’s most limiting resource, to crop and livestock production. She worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus from 2017 until she joined the faculty in 2019.
The overall goal of her Extension research program is to address contemporary issues in forage management and hay production by integrating novel pest management strategies and relevant precision ag techniques with foundational agronomic practices. Baxter is recognized as the leading expert for the bermudagrass stem maggot and continues to collaborate with Extension personnel around the region to educate growers on integrated pest management. She is responsible for maintaining the Bermudagrass Variety Garden at the Darrell Williams Research Farm at the Sunbelt Ag Expo and has worked with the farm crew to double production in their own hayfields in just three years. Finally, she collaborates with multiple ag industries to provide un-biased testing of herbicides and hay equipment.
Baxter’s work was most recently recognized by the American Forage and Grassland Council when she was awarded the Early Career Award earlier in 2021.
In addition to her research efforts, she spends most of her time serving as the State Forage Specialist for Georgia where she answers producer questions, conducts in-service agent trainings, and creates digital and written content to meet producer demands. Her most recognizable effort is her hallmark character, Lego Forage Specialist, a Lego mini-figure that shares forage updates and management recommendations on social media.