Backyard Farmer receives Omtvedt Innovation Award for Team

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture

Backyard Farmer team awarded Omtvedt Innovation Award for Team
The Backyard Farmer Team receives the Omtvedt Innovation Award for Team. Pictured are IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm (left), Jody Green, Kim Todd, Jonathan Larson, Terri James, Loren Giesler and Brad Mills. Photo by Craig Chandler / University Communications

The Backyard Farmer team received the Omtvedt Innovation Award for Team at an Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources awards luncheon on Nov. 30 at the Nebraska East Union. IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm presented the award.

Going into its 67th season, the Backyard Farmer show is a cooperative production between Nebraska Extension and NET and is considered to be the longest running educational program in broadcast television history.

Kim Todd, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Agronomy and Horticulture associate professor and Extension horticulture specialist, is host of the show. For each show, Todd selects panel participants, develops the script, selects viewer’s questions to be answered and stars in topic relevant informational video segments.

“Every hour of work preparing for the show is worth it,” Todd said.

BYF’s success is a team effort. The panel of Extension specialists, educators and faculty provide unbiased, research-based information to the gardeners of Nebraska, surrounding states and the country through online access.

“The most wonderful aspect of Backyard Farmer is the engagement we have with our audience. Those interactions, and of course our growing television, email, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter connections are exciting and energizing,” Todd said.

The panelists answer viewer’s questions on horticultural topics related to entomology, turf and weed control, plant pathology, urban wildlife control, fruits and vegetables and general horticulture topics.

IANR Media and NET also produce several remote programs in communities across the state as well as a yearly show at the state fair. Faculty panelists also participate in live panel discussions at special Extension events.

“But it’s the close encounters of the face-to-face kind – in the grocery store, at the gas station, at tailgates at our BYF LIVE! events and remotes – that are the most rewarding. People will say ‘Aren’t you the Backyard Farmer host?’ followed by ‘I recognized your voice first,’ and then proceed to rave about the show as a prelude to asking a question,” Todd said.

Nebraska Team members include:

  • Kim Todd, host
  • Fred Baxendale, Department of Entomology emeritus professor
  • Kyle Broderick, Department of Plant Pathology, Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic coordinator
  • Sarah Browning, Nebraska Extension educator
  • Jeff Culbertson, Nebraska Landscape Operations assistant director
  • Kelly Feehan, Extension educator
  • Dennis Ferraro, School of Natural Resources professor of practice
  • Loren Giesler, Department of Plant Pathology department head and professor
  • Jody Green, Assistant Extension educator
  • Terri James, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture assistant Extension educator and social media/Master Gardener volunteer phone coordinator
  • James Kalisch, retired Department of Entomology Extension associate
  • Elizabeth Killinger, associate Extension educator
  • Bill Kreuser, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture assistant professor and Nebraska Extension turfgrass specialist
  • Jonathan Larson, Assistant Extension educator
  • Wayne Ohnesorg, Associate Extension educator
  • John Porter, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture assistant professor
  • Matt Sousek, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture plant science research manager
  • Amy Timmerman, Associate Extension educator
  • Tom Weissling, Department of Entomology associate professor
  • Brock Lohr, University Television producer
  • Brad Mills, IANR media producer
  • Joe Turco, University Television content production manager

The Omtvedt Innovation Award recognizes innovative faculty members, or a team led by faculty, who have demonstrated exceptional abilities and innovation in the areas of teaching, research or extension education.

The Omtvedt Innovation Award is made possible by Leone and the late Neal Harlan, great friends of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in honor of Dr. Irv Omtvedt and his distinguished career at the University of Nebraska. The Harlans had the vision and foresight to realize the importance of recognizing and supporting outstanding and innovative work in the Institute. These awards recognize areas of strength and promise within the Institute, as well as innovation and excellence in teaching, research, extension, and teamwork.

See other award winners at

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