John M. Laflen has been an Agricultural Engineer for the greater part of his life. Between 1960-1967, Laflen was working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a GS9 Agricultural Engineer researching surface drainage of graded lands of low slopes along the Mississippi River. From 1967-1987, he worked in Ames, Iowa as a GS9-GS14 Agricultural Engineer researching soil erosion and issues with water quality. From 1987-1996, Laflen developed replacement erosion models for use in federal agency programs and erosion control technologies for use on the nation’s lands as a GS14-GS15 Agricultural Engineer in Lafayette, Indiana. The remainder of the 1990’s, Laflen returned to Iowa to transfer the technology of developed soil erosion models to federal agencies. He also trained BLM and FS technicians at yearly workshops in Arizona and worked at Purdue University. After retiring, Laflen was a private consultant as a registered professional engineer in Iowa and Louisiana.

Mr. Laflen has received many professional awards including American Society of Agriculture Engineers (ASAE) Outstanding and Honorable Mention Paper Awards, Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) Honorable Mention Paper Award, USDA Unit Distinguished Service Award (EPIC), USDA Unit Superior Service Award (WEPP), ASAE Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award Fellow, and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) John Deere Gold Metal Award. He has many major accomplishments in his field including writing, alone or in collaboration, over 200 papers on soil and water conservation including a discussion of “Erosion” published in the World Book Encylopedia in the 1980’s, serving as an editor for ASAE and the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, serving as an editor of the International Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (published in Beijing, China). Laflen has also had the opportunity to make presentations and share his expertise in many foreign countries. He was a Major Professor at Purdue for one PhD and one MS student and at Iowa State Univeristy for five PhD and three MS students. Laflen was the External PhD thesis examiner for three students in the Asian Institute of Technology.

Mr. Laflen obtained his associate of arts from Fort Scott Community College in 1956. After graduating from FSCC, Laflen attended the Univeristy of Missouri for his bachelor’s and later master of science in agricultural engineering. In 1972, he completed his PhD in agricultural engineering from Iowa State University.