Growing Our Future 2015

The Department of Agronomy and Horticulture hosted the Growing Our Future 2015 conference on Nov. 6, 2015 at the Cornhusker Marriott in Lincoln, Neb. The event was arranged to provide stakeholders a glimpse of the amazing breadth and impact of the department. The following recorded videos from the day's speakers provide a glimpse of the many activities of faculty, staff and students within the department.

University and IANR Update

Ronnie Green, Harlan Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the UNL and vice president of agriculture and natural resources for the Nebraska system, provided opening remarks.

Agronomy & Horticulture Department Update

Roch Gaussoin, Agronomy and Horticulture department head, gave opening remarks with highlights of departmental accomplishments and activities.

Microbiome Research

Daniel Schachtman, professor and Director of the Center for Biotechnology, shared his exciting research looking at microbes in soil that may help plants grow in Nebraska and in the Sandhills.

Plant Molecular Physiology

Harkamal Walia, associate professor and plant molecular physiologist, discussed his research on phenotyping to capture the dynamic nature of salt stress tolerance in rice and wheat.

Distance Education

Leah Sandall, assistant professor of practice, highlighted the thriving distance education program and provided a virtual tour of the remodeled Goodding Learning Center.

Popcorn and ConAgra

Oscar Rodriguez, research professor, discussed the joint research agreement for popcorn breeding between ConAgra Foods and the University of Nebraska which has the objective of improving the agronomics and production characteristics of commercial popcorn hybrids of ConAgra Foods.

Student Recruitment

Anne Streich, associate professor of practice, announced a 73% increase in Agronomy and Horticulture department undergraduate student enrollment between 2008 and 2015.

Cover Crop Projects

Roger Elmore, professor and Heuermann Chair & Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute Fellow, stated "scientists are can we be good stewards?,” and discussed his research on implementation of cover crops in Nebraska corn and soybean cropping systems.

Project SENSE

Brian Krienke, Nebraska Extension assistant educator and Laura Thompson, Extension assistant educator, work with Project SENSE, a team-based, on-farm research project to improve nitrogen use efficiency and reduce nitrogen loss to ground water.


Keenan Amundsen, assistant professor, discussed his research on developing genetic markers in buffalograss to increase the breeding program and to develop improved native buffalograss cultivars to withstand leaf spot disease and chinch bugs.

UAV Demo/ Presentation

Bill Kreuser, assistant professor and Extension turfgrass specialist, demonstrated the use of a ‪‎UAV Phantom 3 drone used in turfgrass research.


Charles Shapiro, professor, stated that although Nebraska has great soils, research in foliar analysis in nutrient management for high crop yields helps keep it that way.


Dirac Twidwell, assistant professor, talked about using fire to stop the invasion of juniper woodland taking over grasslands and to restore grasslands back to their natural habitat.


Stacy Adams, associate professor of practice, shared new research developments of growing hops in different soils of Nebraska.

Range Nutrient Cycling

Walt Schacht, professor, discussed research where range nutrient cycling with higher grazing distribution and efficiency increases carrying capacity for cattle grazing.

Student Clubs Presentations

  • Range Management Club – Amanda Hefner, member, and Applied Ecology, Natural Resource Sciences graduate student
  • Turf Club – Jeff Lenihan, vice president and Turfgrass and Landscape Management major
  • Agronomy and Horticulture Graduate Student Association – Leah Ruff, president, and Plant Breeding & Genetics graduate student
  • Agronomy Club – Amanda Vodvarka, president and Agronomy major, and Brad Meusch, Treasurer and Agronomy major
  • Pi Alpha Xi -Alpha-Gamma Chapter, National Honor Society for Horticulture – Emily Stine, president  and Turfgrass and Landscape Management  major
  • Horticulture Club - Kara Sousek, president and Horticulture major