Inspection Services Blog

New Technical Advisory Subcommittee Members Appointed

The Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) welcomes Jan Hopmans, Sebastian Saa, and Daniel Rodrigues to the Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board (FIAB) Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TASC). FREP also welcomes Jerome Pier as the reappointed TASC Chair. TASC is a group of scientific and technical experts who review and recommend funding for proposals submitted to the FREP grant program.

Shown left to right: Jerome Pier, Jan Hopmans, Daniel Rodrigues, and Sebastian Saa.


Dr. Jerome Pier

Dr. Jerome Pier has a Ph.D. in soil and water science from the University of Arizona. He is the North Valley Division Agronomist for Nutrien Ag Solutions and has worked in the fertilizer industry for over 25 years. Dr. Pier is returning as the TASC Chair and provides continuity and understanding of committee practices and decisions. As the Board President of the Western Region Certified Crop Advisers (CCA), with which FREP frequently collaborates, Dr. Pier helped develop the CCA Nitrogen Management Training Program. Dr. Pier has a long-term perspective of FREP’s role in the industry and has sought a balance between environmental awareness and pragmatism.

Dr. Jan Hopmans

Dr. Jan Hopmans has a Ph.D. in soil physics from Auburn University. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, who has dedicated over 35 years to research and education. He is a world-renowned scientist in soil hydrology, irrigation water, and soil salinity management. Dr. Hopmans is an expert in vadose zone hydrology, having conducted extensive field, laboratory, and modeling research.

Daniel Rodrigues

Daniel Rodrigues has an M.S. in crop science from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Mr. Rodrigues is the owner of Vina Quest LLC and a partner in Rodrigues Farms Inc. in Caruthers, CA. He has 22 years of experience as an agricultural consultant and crop producer and is a CCA and Pest Control Advisor. Mr. Rodrigues also serves on several agriculture industry boards, participated in the California Ag Leadership Program, and is a lecturer at Cal Poly in the Wine and Viticulture Department.

Dr. Sebastian Saa

Dr. Sebastian Saa has a Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy from the University of California, Davis. He has 15 years of experience in research, education, agriculture consulting, and crop production. Dr. Saa is the Associate Director of Agricultural Research for the Almond Board of California (ABC) and leads strategy and research in the areas of irrigation and nutrient management as well as breeding and harvesting. Dr. Saa is also a staff liaison for three ABC workgroups: The Harvest Workgroup; Orchard, Tree, and Rootstock Workgroup; and Irrigation, Nutrients & Soil Health Workgroup.


For more information about TASC and its role, check out the FREP Grant Process blog post. To view a full list of TASC’s current 11 members, please click on the “Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board and Technical Advisory Subcommittee” section of the About FREP webpage.


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