- Graduate students receive ASA and CSSA awards
- Dunn receives SAC award
- Two faculty honored with Junior Faculty research awards
- Haverkamp receives IANR Outstanding Employee Award
- Dworak earns award
- UNL Parents Association honors Lee
- Lambe’s Horticulture Entrepreneurship students take top honors
- Best paper award presented to Blanco
- Gaussoin to receive Distinguished Service Award
The UNL Horticulture Club's annual poinsettia sale is 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Dec. 11-12 in both the Nebraska and East unions. The student group will sell three sizes and eight different varieties of the holiday plant. One variety will benefit breast cancer research. Horticulture Club students grow the poinsettias in East Campus greenhouses.
Graduate students Leah Ruff and Scott Dworak recently received recognition from the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Ruff received the ASA United Soybean Board Fellowship. Dworak received the CSSA Gerald O. Mott Scholarship for Meritorious Graduate Students in Crop Science. These awards recognize top-notch graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in crop science disciplines. Recipients are selected based on academic achievements, research and teaching contributions, leadership accomplishments, service activities, and personal qualifications.
Cheryl Dunn, research manager–herbarium curator for the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, received a $250 Staff Advisory Committee (SAC) award to use toward the cost of education and training for a Professional Certificate in Online Education.
Dunn was awarded $250 toward the cost of training for a Professional Certificate in Online Education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She teaches the online plant identification course, Agro 851 (part of AG*IDEAS) and North American Wildland Plants, AGRO 442/842.
SAC will award a total of $500 in Professional Development funds each calendar year. This professional development award is available to any Department of Agronomy & Horticulture permanent staff member beyond the initial probationary period of employment.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists are helping farmers in some of the poorest countries in the world target their use of precious fertilizer to get the highest profits possible.
The research and extension effort can both help raise subsistence farmers' income and help feed a growing global population, said UNL soil scientist Charles Wortmann, who is leading UNL's role in a new $5.65 million project to enable improved profitability of fertilizer use for 13 sub-Saharan countries. Continue reading.
David Holding of the Center for Plant Science Innovation and agronomy and horticulture department, and Greg Kruger of the West Central Research and Extension Center and agronomy and horticulture department and the plant pathology department, have been named as recipients of the Junior Faculty for Excellence in Research Award provided by the Branham Endowment Fund for 2013-2014.
The award is given annually by the Agricultural Research Division to up to two tenure-track assistant professors with an ARD appointment who has five or fewer years of professional service at UNL and is based upon publication record, evidence of external funding activity and peer recognition. Continue reading.
UNL plant scientists Ed Cahoon and Tom Clemente aim to super-charge plants for biofuel production. Their research is part of two multi-institutional research collaborations supported by an Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy program of the U.S. Department of Energy called Plants Engineered to Replace Oil. PETRO supports innovative research to develop cost-effective, sustainable sources of transportation fuel from non-food crops.
DOE requires ARPA-E PETRO recipients to demonstrate progress to continue receiving funding. The two UNL Center for Plant Science Innovation researchers recently cleared that hurdle. Continue reading.
Mary Jo Haverkamp, personnel associate for the HAPPI Business Center, has received the 2013 Third Quarter Outstanding Employee Award. Haverkamp, a UNL employee since 1981, currently works through new hire, payroll and time sheets, leave requests and temporary appointments. Through her consistent and impeccable work, 468 employees are paid correctly and on time; this includes processing time sheets for 237 student and hourly workers each week. Nominators wrote that since the inception of the business center in 2001, Haverkamp has met every payroll deadline without complaint, even if it means coming in during holidays. Continue reading.
Genetic modification of species has been a driving force of nature for thousands of years, and humans' ability to harness the science behind it is a critical, and safe, component of efforts to feed a growing global population, a leading plant scientist said Monday.
Sally Mackenzie, Ralph and Alice Raikes Chair for Plant Science in the Center for Plant Science Innovation at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was the first speaker in the Heuermann Lectures' 2013-14 series.
Mackenzie's lecture, titled "Beyond GMOs to a More Honest Dialogue About Our Food," put today's science into historical perspective. Continue reading.
Scott Dworak, Ph.D. graduate student advised by Dr. Roch Gaussoin, has been selected to represent our department for the 2013 Gerald O. Mott Award. The selection Scott Dworak was based on Scott’s academic achievements, research and teaching contributions, leadership accomplishments, service activities, and personal qualifications. The award is offered by the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and recipients receive a certificate and are recognized in the CSA News. The award honors the first CSSA President, Gerald O. Mott, who trained 75 graduate students during his 45 year career at Purdue University and the University of Florida. Congratulations Scott!
The UNL Teaching Council and UNL Parents Association honored faculty and staff at an annual recognition ceremony on Feb. 8. Certificates of recognition for contributions to students were given during the ceremony. The awards provide positive feedback to campus faculty and staff about the work they do with students. Agronomy & Horticulture Professor and Geneticist Don Lee was awarded a certificate for the 21st time. The Parents Association solicits nominations through a mailing, asking parents to nominate a faculty or staff employee who has made a significant difference in their student’s life. Congratulations Don!
On March 11, UNL undergraduate and graduate students competed for a $50,000 Grand Prize in the UNL Venture Competition, as part of Entrepreneuring Days@UNL.
This competition provides UNL students with the opportunity to compete in a
business planning competition to get feedback and financing for their ideas. The grand prize money must be used to start a business. The winning team is then entered into UNL Global New Venture Competition, which is open to students from around the world.
Two Agronomy & Horticulture graduate students, from Assistant Professor Dave Lambe’s HORT 288 Horticulture Entrepreneurship class, competed in the competition. Lambe helped the students develop their ideas.
Laura Stevens earned second place in the graduate student competition for her Aerial AgVantage business idea. This business offers detailed, thorough agricultural crop scouting throughout the season with an unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with cameras in the visible and near-infrared spectrums. Aerial images also can be fused with yield and soil test data to create variable rate maps for inputs such as fertilizer, herbicides and seed, allowing farmers to better manage their fields.
Alex Kohel placed third in the graduate Alex Kohel earns third place student competition with his business idea–Kamterter. This business developed a turf-grass repair kit that can quickly fix dead spots on lawns, athletic fields, and golf courses. The enhanced turf-grass seed will germinate rapidly, uniformly and under stressed conditions. Kamterter Products L.L.C. is an established seed-enhancement company. This product has been researched and statistically analyzed for the past three years at UNL. Laura Stevens is advised by Dr. Richard Ferguson and Dr. Roch Gaussoin advises Alex Kohel.
Research and the findings done at UNL’s Center for Plant Science Innovation could play a role in helping meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, said Sally Mackenzie, Department of Agronomy & Horticulture and School of Biological Sciences, plant scientist.
Scientists have focused on a gene called MSH1, short for MUTS Homolog1, which is present in every plant. They discovered that if they “silenced” that gene in some plants, their growth patterns changed dramatically—dwarfed, highly branched and behaving as if they have seen high levels of stress. Then, after they reintroduced the gene and crossbred it with a plant that wasn’t altered, the crossbred plant showed signs of enhanced growth, vigor, lodge resistance, high biomass production and higher yield. Those changes in some cases were huge: up to a 100 percent increase in above-ground biomass, up to a 70 percent increase in yield in sorghum, for example.
The process is called epigenetics. Mackenzie stresses these key points about her
- It’s not transgene-mediated modification.
- It’s worked in several crops so far— not so-called model crops, but actual agronomically useful crops, most importantly soybean, sorghum and millet, and also tobacco and tomatoes.
- These changes can occur in just two generations of plants, rather than 10 or more it can take for genetic modifications to take hold.
Besides soybean and sorghum, it seems likely there’s great potential for epigenetics to improve crops such as cotton and dry beans. “And if you could do this in rice and wheat, you could perhaps change the world,” Mackenzie said. It’s promising, but I don’t want to overhype this.” It’s important we explore this for every potential it offers for addressing some of the challenges in agriculture,” she added.
Dr. Paul Read, Professor of Agronomy & Horticulture, led a group of UNL undergraduates and graduates on an Agriculture and Natural Resources Tour to Australia, Dec. 25, 2012–Jan. 14, 2013 for AGRI 310. This two-week program introduced participants to agriculture on the island of Tasmania and explored how farming practices intersect with wildlife preservation and conservation. The group departed Omaha at noon on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2012. They spent two days in Sydney, mostly getting acclimated and visiting tourist sites including the Sydney Opera House.
They arrived in Hobart, Tasmania in time to visit the Salamanca Market and attend the “Taste of Tasmania”—a great combination of a flea market and vendors. The “Taste” provided students with an opportunity to sample local culinary delights such as wallaby burger and scallop pie. The Tasman Island Boat Cruise provided the students with an opportunity to see the characteristics of the island state, and some marine life such as porpoises, whales and seals; aqua culture and unique bird life.
The group made visits to vineyards and wineries, a cheese factory, and an incredibly modern producer of salad vegetables—the students were fascinated with their bed-making and machine harvesting methods. While visiting one of the vineyards, the group was interviewed for the local newspaper, The Mercury, and the story was also picked up and amplified by Tasmanian Country, a weekly agriculture-related newspaper.
To start the new year on Jan. 1, petrol was mistakenly pumped into the diesel vehicle’s tank which necessitated a change of itinerary. This allowed the group an opportunity to visit a farm that produces opium poppy. Although previous groups had seen this crop from a distance (it is strictly protected by law), our group was able to see the plants close-up. While traveling in the Derwent Valley, after observing hops farms and a historic fish hatchery, the group saw a raspberry harvester in operation and subsequent processing system. Numerous crops were observed, including a tour of a cherry orchard entirely covered with netting, a lavender farm, grain crops, two modern dairy farms (but different systems), wool and meat sheep production, forestry enterprises, an organic producer of flaxseed, quinoa and brussels sprout, several opportunities to observe and learn about grassland and forage management, and a research dairy at University of Tasmania/Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.
The students learned about production, harvesting, processing and packaging of vegetables; and observed production, grading and marketing of tulips, Dutch iris and lily bulbs. Natural resources in Tasmania abound. Mining, forestry, pulp production, mountains, breath-taking waterfalls and streams of rare beauty are but a few of the sights that titillated the senses.
The students learned quickly to make lavish use of sunscreen, since the ozone layer is thin over Tasmania and sunburn/ultraviolet radiation are concerns. “Students saw an incredibly diverse array of agricultural enterprises and natural resource sites,” said Read. “I learned a great deal that will help facilitate an even more valuable experience for CASNR students who want to participate in the next Education Abroad trip to Australia.”
On behalf of UNL and the Nebraska Turf Association (NTA), Department of Agronomy & Horticulture Events Coordinator Wendy Morrissey and Professor Zac Reicher would like to thank everyone who attended and/or helped with the 2013 Nebraska Turf Conference held at the LaVista Conference Center on Jan. 8–10. Highlights of the Conference included:
- Over 550 professionals registered for workshops and educational sessions covering all areas of lawn, sports, and golf turf management.
- The trade show included over 30 exhibitors and was heavily trafficked during the intentionally abbreviated hours.
- The general session was packed, as Mike Boekholder of the Philadelphia Phillies, talked about what it takes to manage turf for the Major League Baseball World Series, followed by Department of Agronomy & Horticulture Head Roch Gaussoin reflecting on the last 20+ years of his work in Nebraska.
- Gaussoin was the recipient of the NTA’s highest Award—the Distinguished Service Award.
- The Extra Mile Award was presented to Tim Corbett of TruGreen, for his unselfish work on the NTA Board of Director —helping the NTA through relatively rough periods of embezzlement by a management company, as well as improving the transparency of the finances for the NTA.
- This year's winner of the President Award was Jeff Witkowski.
The Conference was completely revamped this year, sponsored solely by the NTA, held at a new location, and focused primarily on turf. The positive responses to the changes were overwhelming, but the NTA will constantly be looking for ways to improve future conferences. This conference took a tremendous amount of work and we want to thank the Board of Directors of the NTA as well as the entire turf program staff at UNL.
A 2008 paper by Humberto Blanco-Canqui, UNL Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, and Rattan Lal, The Ohio State University School of Environment and Humberto Blanco Natural Resources, was selected as the 2012 S-06 Best Paper Award (Humberto Blanco-Canqui and Rattan. Lal. 2008. No-tillage and carbon sequestration: An on-farm assessment. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 72:693-701.) Their paper was selected from S-06 papers published in the last seven years that have had exceptional impact on the scientific community.
Dr. Roch Gaussoin was acknowledged as one of four men, in the golf course management industry, chosen to receive the 2013 Golf Course Superintendents Association of Roch Gaussion America (GCSAA) Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award. This took place at the 2013 GCSSA Education Conference and Golf Industry Show in San Diego, CA on Feb. 6. Other recipients were Ken Mangum, CGCS; Dennis Lyon, CGCS; and Frank Lamphier.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to individuals who have made an outstanding, substantive, and enduring contribution to the advancement of the golf course superintendent profession. The award was renamed in 2009 in honor of Morley, GCSAA’s founder and first president.
Known as “Doc Roc” in the turfgrass industry, Gaussoin has accelerated in the fast lane of turfgrass management, doing everything in his power to ensure superintendents go along for the ride. Gaussoin has published more than 80 scientific research articles and at least 250 pieces for trade journals, newsletters, and extension programs. “I just did what I thought superintendents needed in terms of research and education,” says Gaussoin. “I spent as much time listening as doing. I think that open ear helped the most.”
Connecting with students is also one of Gaussoin’s strong suits. He helped undergraduates at Nebraska form a student GCSAA chapter and then stayed on as their advisor for more than 10 years. Congratulations Roch!