Meet the trainer: Dr. Robert E. Wolf

May 20, 2016

Dr. Robert Wolf

Dr. Robert E. Wolf remembers the day he filled the room at a Weed Science Society meeting with people eager to hear the results of pioneering research. Wolf presented field trial data from one of the first studies on precision nozzles for pesticide spraying. Fellow researchers, growers and others in the industry wanted to know the capabilities of the new spray technology.

The interest Wolf witnessed that day 25 years ago inspired him to continue researching ways to improve pesticide application practices and share those advances with others.

Much of that work was done while Wolf was a university professor. Today, Wolf couples his passion for research and education in a professional program he helped create. Since 2012, Wolf and his colleagues at the On Target Application Academy (OTAA) have taught more than 13,000 growers, retailers and applicators the most effective and sustainable techniques for fighting pests in the field.

Wolf’s own roots in agriculture run deep. He grew up on a livestock and grain farm in west-central Illinois. He studied to become a vocational agriculture instructor at the University of Illinois. He spent more than a decade teaching all aspects of agriculture and horticulture before returning to the university to pursue his doctorate.  After receiving his Ph.D., he branched off into extension education and trained people in pesticide technologies and safety so they could become licensed by the state.

Wolf joined the faculty at Kansas State University after 10 years at Illinois. There, he focused on how to maximize pest control while mitigating spray drift with advanced nozzle technology. His research and dedication earned him the title of professor emeritus after he left Kansas State in 2011.

Earlier, Wolf had connected with BASF to form a partnership to start OTAA. After consulting with other industry experts and acquiring more partners, BASF launched the program with Wolf in 2012.

Wolf is still inspired by the enthusiasm others show for his work.  

“A grower recently approached me to share his belief in the importance of spray application education,” Wolf said. “These interactions remind me about the impact of our training sessions. I’m pleased to lead a program that promotes sustainable pesticide practices.”

Wolf also founded his own application consulting firm, Wolf Consulting & Research. When he’s not working, he keeps busy with agricultural projects on his five-acre property in Illinois. One example: He has established milkweed to help support the local monarch butterfly population. He also maintains an orchard, and enjoys landscaping and gardening. When he’s not working on the land, you can find him on the golf course, or spending time with his four grandchildren.

To read more about Dr. Wolf and the On Target Application Academy, visit


©2018 BASF Corporation