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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


Remembering Dr. Mark Sulc.

Dr. Mark Sulc

Dr. Mark Sulc, a long-time member and contributor to the Agronomic Crops Network, passed away on September 16, 2023, following a two-year battle with glioblastoma. Dr. Sulc retired from the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science last autumn, marking over thirty years as the Ohio State Forage Extension Specialist. His outreach activities expanded and disseminated knowledge on forage production and management systems for Ohio. Mark developed quality, in-depth training opportunities for Extension agents, industry professionals, and producers. Mark maintained an active research program throughout his career with a focus on forage crop management, especially in relation to disease and insect pests. He was an excellent collaborator and typically worked in multi-disciplinary groups involving partners at OSU and other universities, including collaborators in Brazil.

Mark remained active and productive throughout his career. It is noteworthy that he published seven refereed journal articles in his final three years of service. In addition, he was a significant contributor (co-PI) on a successfully funded USDA-AFRI project on, “Fall Armyworm Outreach and Research for Alfalfa Growers and Educators”, which has multiple years of funding remaining.

Dr. Mark Sulc (right) pictured with Dr. Mark Loux at the “Mark & Mark Retirement Party” (November 18, 2022).

Dr. Sulc’s Contributions to the Agronomic Crops Team (by Lindsey)

Dr. Sulc was an active member of OSU Extension’s Agronomic Crops Team. He participated in weekly conference calls, providing forage updates and recommendations. Over his 30-year career, Mark authored 443 Extension newsletter articles, bulletins, and Fact Sheets. He gave 312 in-state presentations and 46 out-of-state presentations. Mark valued Extension outreach and worked purposely and meticulously to provide farmers and other stakeholders with quality information. Prior to his retirement in October 2022, Mark worked diligently to complete projects, including updates to the forage chapter of the Ohio Agronomy Guide. Mark was recognized nationally and internationally for his research on topics related to alfalfa quality, integrated crop-livestock systems, field evaluation of potato-leaf hopper resistance in alfalfa, and field evaluations of low-lignin varieties of alfalfa. His program will have a lasting impact on farmers not only in Ohio but across the globe through his international efforts.

Mark prioritized service to people above all else, which is reflected in his Extension program and mentorship. All of us on the AgCrops Team are extremely grateful to have known Mark as a colleague, mentor, and friend.

Dr. Sulc’s Mentorship (by Verhoff)

Dr. Sulc was incredibly active as a mentor and advisor to the graduate students he took on throughout his career. From the initial interaction, he treated his students as equals and partners in developing a research project that interested and excited everyone involved and had the greatest potential impact on the agricultural community. He was generous with his scholarship and his professional network, always discussing an interesting paper and introducing his students to his colleagues from across the country and internationally. Dr. Sulc led by example - in forage, and especially grazing research, there are a lot of repetitive measurements throughout the growing season and Dr. Sulc was in the truck and walking the pasture right alongside his students taking as precise measurements as possible. That precision transferred into the academic writing of his students as well. From a student’s perspective, there were always edits and suggestions on anything that was sent to Dr. Sulc, and the time and care he put into reviewing the slightest detail of the research project, helped build the professional skillset of every student he mentored.

Dr. Sulc’s commitment to his students and research was relentless. Even as his mobility became a growing obstacle, he still made it a priority to visit research plots and contribute to his student’s work in whatever capacity he was able. When he retired to spend more time with his family, he would still call and talk for an hour or two about the research, data analysis, and writing process of the current and concluding projects. At this point, it would be remiss to not thank his wife Sally for her help and support through Dr. Sulc’s retirement and all that came with it. Dr. Sulc’s commitment to his students epitomized what it means to be a mentor and his impact on the academic and agricultural communities will continue to grow. I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done, he is greatly missed.

Mark was born in Hagerstown, Maryland but grew up in Brazil where his parents were missionaries. Mark continued to minister to international students throughout his career. He earned his BS and MS degrees at Iowa State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. During his tenure at Ohio State, Dr. Sulc served as Interim Chair of the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science from 2011 to 2012. Mark is survived by his wife of 41 years, Sally, and four children (Jenna, Kelsey, Nathan, and Peter) and their actively growing families. Mark’s obituary may be found at:

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.