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Jeff Miller

Miller Research LLC: President and Study Director

BS Botany—Biotechnology: BYU

MS & Ph.D. Plant Pathology: Washington State University

Where do you work? How long have you worked there? What do you do?

I am the president and study director at Miller Research LLC. Each year I contract with private companies to perform research related to agricultural crop production. The bulk of the research relates to pest management. I design research trials, oversee experimental pesticide applications, evaluate plants for disease and insect damage, and evaluate research plots for yield and quality of the finished plant product.

How is your profession related to Environmental Science?

Many of the research trials I conduct involve the use of pesticides. Some trials focus on the effectiveness of a specific product. Others generate data that are used by the Environmental Protection Agency in determining the maximum allowable pesticide residue that can be applied to crops. The data generated from both the efficacy and residue trials is used to generate and refine pesticide labels, thus improving the stewardship and proper use of pesticides in the environments. I also conduct research designed at developing non-pesticide methods for pest control.

What are the most rewarding aspects of managing your career?

The most rewarding part of my job is working with crop producers. I also enjoy being involved in field-oriented crop production research.

How has your BYU education benefited your career and would you recommend any specific course background for your field?

My BYU education has been extremely helpful to me in my career. I graduated with a B.S. in Botany—Biotechnology. Almost all the courses in the biological sciences were helpful as I entered graduate school. Genetics, Evolutionary Biology, Plant Systematics, and Plant Morphology helped me most be ready for graduate school. Intensive Writing was also a great help and I recommend it for everyone.

What changes do you see or expect in your profession in the near future?

Consumers are demanding more organic food. As a result, more non-chemical alternatives for pest control are needed. I believe the pesticides will continue to play a significant role in crop production, and that new technologies will make pesticide use safer.

There is a common misconception of lumping environmental science with environmental activism. How can our department best address this perception problem with our students and employers?

Great question – and I’m not sure I have a good answer. I believe that environmental activism can be good, but the extreme elements in the environmental activist movement have done much more harm that good. For me personally, I don’t automatically equate “Environmental Science” with activism.

How can students best network within your profession in order to gain employment or internships? Does your company have internships that may be of interest to our students?

I think the best way is to seek out businesses or individuals who are working in a field of interest and then contact that person directly. I am always impressed by students who call or email directly to ask questions or simply to introduce themselves to express interest in employment. Another good way to network is to attend professional meetings.

Does your company have internships that may be of interest to our students? Who should they contact?

Yes, full time employment opportunities? Yes If so, who should students contact? Contact me at either 208-531-5124 or jeff@millerresearch.com. I am always interested in hiring interns for the summer (June-August). Full time employment opportunities are only available from time to time. I would be more than happy to visit with any interested students.

Do you have any general advice for our students or our faculty with regard to your profession?

As I prepared to go to graduate school, I was told that anybody can do applied research, and that if I wanted to go after the prestigious training, I would need to focus on basic research. I feel that this was not good advice. Applied research is very rewarding and just as rigorous as basic research. All areas of research are critical to improving crop production and gaining knowledge that enables our society to be better stewards of the planet we inhabit.

Would you share a favorite memory of your BYU professors?

I have many great memories! One of the best was listening to Dr. Paul in the chemistry department read from The Bishop’s Horse Race while teaching us the chemistry of making soap. I really enjoyed the trips with Dr. Kimball Harper to various far-flung places to learn the taxonomy of Utah flora. These trips provided a lot more education than simply being able to key out flowers from a book.

Environmental Science & Sustainability in the News
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Air pollution costs Utahns billions annually and shortens life expectancy by two years

November 18, 2020 09:13 AM
New study led by ESS undergraduate Isabella Errigo reveals the cost of air pollution for Utahns’ health and pocketbooks
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BYU researchers help test wastewater for COVID-19 infection rates in Utah

May 18, 2020 09:58 PM
ESS professor Zach Aanderud and his team of students use cutting-edge molecular methods to track COVID-19 in municipal wastewater.
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How You Can Have a Positive Impact on the Climate Change Emergency

November 23, 2020 07:20 AM
COVID-19 isn’t the only worldwide emergency affecting billions of people—climate change continues to threaten us with devastating implications. Here are some ways to help.
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Studying climate change at opposite ends of the Earth

ESS undergraduate Natasha Griffin has presented at conferences in Europe, ridden in a helicopter and visited both the North and South Poles to figure out how humans are affecting the Earth.
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The price of air pollution

We all know intuitively that polluted air isn't good for our bodies or communities, but just how much is air pollution costing us? ESS undergraduates and faculty led a statewide study to answer just that.
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Influencing Environmental Change from Iran to Utah

April 08, 2020 10:36 AM
ESS PhD student Sara Sayedi wanted to use science to improve policy in her home country of Iran, but politics limited her work in the public arena. Now at BYU, she is influencing policy at a global scale.
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After a mega fire: how waterways are impacted by wildfires

BYU team investigates ecosystem resilience to wildfire, linking plants, streams, climate, and society
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Tree Heart Attacks: Aspen Clones Dying

Professor Sam St. Clair from the Environmental Science & Sustainability program takes the vitals of one of North America's keystone tree species.
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How environmental justice affects all of us

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Environmental degradation harms every individual by causing pervasive decline of life on Earth, but it doesn’t impact everyone to the same degree. ESS professor Ben Abbott shares three ways to improve your understanding on how environmental justice affects you and your community.
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Saving the world's water (and humans) one little stream at a time

January 16, 2018 10:00 PM
ESS professor Ben Abbott presents a new tool to fight nutrient pollution. Streams can be “sensors” of ecosystem health, allowing both improved water quality and food production.

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Fighting bad air quality with ... dance?

September 11, 2018 10:00 PM
Dance professor Keely Song and ESS professor Ben Abbott teamed up to promote BYU's free UTA passes to students, employees, and their families.
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Dr. Gary Booth: A Lifelong Legacy

July 03, 2020 03:29 PM
While at BYU, Dr. Gary Booth taught a wide range of subjects. Students and faculty alike appreciated Booth and his impact on the college.
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BYU analysis of 115+ studies: Masks powerful & cost-effective in combating COVID-19

July 23, 2020 09:56 AM
After reading 115 studies on COVID-19, ESS faculty and students published non-technical report on the effectiveness of masks at slowing the spread.
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Why are aspen dying?

June 27, 2013 10:00 PM
If Utah’s quaking aspen appear to be quaking more than usual this summer, the trees have reason to tremble, says a Brigham Young University biologist. In dappled forests across the West, aspen trees are battling deadly killers from heat stroke to bud-nipping predators to tree “heart attacks.”
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Permafrost Collapse and the Global Ecosystem

March 17, 2020 11:10 AM
ESS professor Ben Abbott co-authored a study in Nature on the permafrost climate feedback. Working with an international team, he found that abrupt permafrost collapse could double carbon release.
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Water cycle diagrams are giving us a false sense of water security

June 10, 2019 10:00 PM
A new study in Nature Geoscience led by ESS professor and students found that the global water cycle is incorrect even in modern papers and textbooks. 85% of diagrams show no people, despite human domination of water at a global scale.
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Plant & Wildlife Sciences Across the Map

June 29, 2020 02:18 PM
Professors and students from Environmental Science & Sustainability lead research projects from Antarctica to Alaska.
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Study finds bedrock is teeming with microorganisms protecting water quality

February 03, 2019 10:00 PM
The solution to nutrient pollution could be right below out feet. Literally. New study reveals the active and dynamic world of groundwater microbes.
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Interdependence and Stewardship: Piecing Together Humanity’s Relationship with the Earth

By Carlee Reber
June 05, 2019 01:06 PM
Will we show up in the geologic record in millions of years? The Anthropocene suggests the answer is yes: collective human impact on the environment will leave a definitive mark in future bedrock.
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