Jerry Radke was raised on a dairy farm near Ripon, Wisconsin and attended local schools. He received his B.S. degree in Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and served as an officer in the US Army Signal Corps. He received his M.S. degree in Soil Physics with Dr. Don Kirkham at Iowa State University and his Ph.D. degree in Soil Physics with Dr. Champ Tanner at the University of Wisconsin.
Jerry started his scientific career in 1965 with the USDA Agricultural Research Service at the North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory in Morris, Minnesota where he initiated projects in micrometeorology and soil physics. His early work concentrated on protecting crops from winds and growing crops in areas with low spring-time soil temperatures and short growing seasons. He spent a year-long sabbatical in South Australia working on soil structure in 1981-1982. In 1984, the USDA put him on special assignment to the Rodale Research Center near Kutztown, PA where he worked with low-input cropping practices and sustainable agricultural systems.
Since 1990, Jerry has been working with the USDA, ARS, National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, IA where his program includes the evaluation of soil physical properties under various cropping practices and the development of sustainable agricultural systems. A major portion of his program concerns the effects of soil freezing and thawing on the movement of heat, water, and solutes in the soil profile and on the soil physical property changes affecting soil structure. He co-organized (along with Brenton Sharratt) a national Frozen Soils Workshop held at Morris, MN in March of 1994. He is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America, and the American Geophysical Union. His 50+ publications cover a wide range of research topics including crops, soils, climate, and computer modeling.