Stay connected with the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture and catch up on student news, alumni, research and faculty appointments and retirements with the annual newsletter — a recap of the previous year. Or, sign up for the department monthly e-newsletter.

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Alumni Advisory Council

The Agronomy and Horticulture Alumni Advisory Council is built on the voluntary participation of alumni with notable early and late career credentials. The mission of the AHAAC is to aid and counsel the head of the department in alumni engagement, financial stability, industry relations and student interaction with alumni. Members participate in a semiannual meeting with the department and throughout the year as needed.

Alumni Advisory Council

Jim Girardin Jr.

Alumni Spotlight 2016 ARROW SEED is firmly rooted in Girardin family

Leonard Girardin moved his family to Custer county in 1946 to manage the Broken Bow Division of a regional seed company he would rename Arrow Seed. Now, 70 years later, his son Jim Girardin Sr. has retired from the business; grandson Jim Girardin Jr. is the president of Arrow Seed; and great-grandson Logan Girardin, who joined the family business in March 2015, is a retail sales associate.

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Heather Byers

Alumni Spotlight 2015A Head for Business, A Heart for Trees – Heather Byers

Long before she could spell entrepreneur, Heather Byers (’06) wanted to be one.

“I always knew I wanted to own my own business.” Her great grandfather started a rural telephone exchange, her parents developed several businesses over the years, and numerous cousins are all in business for themselves. “Everybody started their own thing,” she said. With an entrepreneurial mindset, Byers wanted to do something with horticulture. She just had to figure out what.

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Ray Ward

Alumni Spotlight 2014 The Story of Ray Ward’s Laboratory

Just 30 percent of family businesses make it to the next generation, and only 10 percent are passed to the third generation.* Ward Laboratories, Inc., is beating the odds, and the story of its success is closely tied to University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.

Recounting History

After graduating from Fairbury Junior College, Ray Ward, president of Ward Laboratories, Inc., continued his studies at Nebraska, earning a bachelor’s in 1959 and a master’s in 1961.

According to Ward, three soil instructors—R. A. Olson, 
H. F. Rhodes and Robert L. Fox—influenced a lot of what he 
does today. “Those guys were excellent instructors, and I 
learned an awful lot.”

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Marissa Grooms

Alumni Spotlight 2013 Grooms rises to the top – Marissa Grooms

Marissa Grooms, a former University of Nebraska-Lincoln undergraduate from Valentine, Neb., won the second annual Engler Quick Pitch Competition last spring. Rising to the top in a field of nearly 80 applicants, Grooms pitched a business idea for a soil-sampling lab for area producers with a high level of customer service and won $1,000 for her efforts.

Shortly after winning, Grooms graduated with a B.S. in agronomy and started a job with agricultural giant Cargill. Cargill, one of the largest privately held corporations in the United States, provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial services, and products to 67 countries around the world.

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