PhD at University of Kentucky
Kelly Mercier grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, worked on a ranch in South Dakota, was a forestry major for some time and has a B.S. in Soil Science. The combination of these experiences led her to work with silvopastures. She is currently pursuing a PhD with Dr. Chris Teutsch and Dr. John Fike in the Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences Department at Virginia Tech. One study she is working on monitors how the ecosystem changes when a forest is converted into a working silvopasture. A companion study measures which types of forage mixtures will grow best under shade in a silvopasture setting. A third study will evaluate the effects of different fertilizer treatments (traditional NPK, biosolids, and broiler litter) on forages, soil fertility, and microbial activity and diversity in newly established silvopastures.