Virginia Jin
FYH 251
Lincoln NE 68583-0937



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Virginia Jin

USDA-ARS Research Soil Scientist

Area of Expertise:

B.S. Biology/English, Duke University, 1996

M.F.R. Forest Resources, University of Georgia, 2000

Ph.D. Plant Biology, University of Georgia, 2004

Area of Focus

Soil Science

Research Interests

  • Soil microbial ecology
  • Carbon and nutrient cycling in agroecosystems
  • Management impacts on soil fertility, soil carbon storage, and greenhouse gas production
  • Using agricultural management to mitigate global climate change

Major Project Activities

  • Evaluating soil and yield impacts of corn stover removal in rainfed and irrigated systems
  • Impact of tillage, N fertilizer, irrigation, and cover crop management on soil greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage in intensive continuous corn and corn-soybean systems
  • Effects of management on biomass yield, soil carbon, and microbially-mediated soil processes in annual and perennial biofuel feedstock production systems
  • Assessing impacts of plant diversity, N management, and altered precipitation regimes in monoculture and polyculture perennial biofuel feedstock production systems
  • Evaluating and modeling impacts on soil carbon, nitrogen mineralization, and emerging contaminants transport in beneficial reuse systems utilizing animal by-products and municipal biosolids
  • Effects of global change drivers (elevated atmospheric CO2, altered precipitation) on soil microbial communities and function in native and managed ecosystems

Research Objectives

  1. Identify economically- and logistically-feasible management practices that improve long-term crop yield stability and agroecosystem resiliency to a changing environment. Specific objectives include evaluating the impacts of specific management practices (i.e. tillage, fertilizers, irrigation, biomass removal) on soil physical, chemical, and biological functioning.
  2. Quantify how conventional and conservation agronomic practices affect soil carbon storage, soil greenhouse gas emissions, and agroecosystem global warming potential.
All data from these projects are contributed to the USDA-ARS’s multi-site, multi-collaborator Agricultural Collaborative Research Outcomes System (AgCROS) which provides open-source public access to federal agricultural research data (


Google Scholar publication list
  • Jin VL, Schmer MR, Stewart CE, Mitchell RB, Williams CO, et al. (2019) Management controls the net greenhouse gas outcomes of growing bioenergy feedstocks on marginally productive croplands. Science Advances, 5, eaav9318.
  • Jin VL, Schmer MR, Stewart CE, Sindelar AJ, Varvel GE, Wienhold BJ (2017) Long-term no-till and stover retention each decrease the global warming potential of irrigated continuous corn. Global Change Biology, 23, 2848-2862.
  • Lehman RM, Cambardella CA, Stott DE, Acosta-Martinez V, Manter DK, Buyer JS, Smith JL, Collins HP, Halvorson JJ, Kremer RJ, Lundgren JG, Ducey TF, Jin VL, Karlen DK (2015) Understanding and enhancing soil biological health: the solution for reversing soil degradation. Sustainability 7: 988-1027.
  • Mitchell RB, Schmer MR, Anderson WF, Jin V, Balkcom KS, Kiniry J, Coffin A, White P (2016) Dedicated energy crops and crop residues for bioenergy feedstocks in the Central and Eastern USA. Bioenergy Research 9: 384-398.