Humberto Blanco, University of Nebraska–Lincoln professor of agronomy and horticulture, has been selected as a Soil Science Society of America Fellow. The SSSA recognized Blanco’s contributions and achievements during the society’s virtual annual meeting Nov. 11 and included him in the 2020 Awards Hall of Fame.
The fellow designation is the highest recognition bestowed by the SSSA. Members nominate worthy colleagues based on their professional achievement and meritorious service, and annually, only a select few are bestowed with the fellow designation.
Blanco received a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering from the Technical University of Oruro, Bolivia, in 1990, and a Master of Science and doctorate in soil science from the University of Missouri, respectively, in 1995 and 2003. He began his career at Nebraska in 2012 in applied soil physics and soil management. Prior to joining the university, he was an assistant and associate professor at Kansas State University.
Blanco’s research is on field applications of soil physical processes and properties that influence water, carbon, and nutrient cycling under different management scenarios including cover crops, biochar, crop residue removal, conservation tillage, diversified cropping systems, dedicated bioenergy crops and others. Recently, he has been assessing the potential of cover crops to deliver multiple ecosystem services including livestock and biofuel production and assessing the implications of biochar use for managing low organic matter or degraded soils.
His research is linked with undergraduate and graduate instruction. Blanco teaches classes in soil management, applied soil physics and soil-water-nutrient relationships and uses the field as his laboratory for these courses.
Blanco is internationally recognized and has been invited to speak around the world about conservation tillage, cover crops, energy crops and other practices in relation to soil ecosystem services.
He has published more than 140 manuscripts and a 617-page textbook “Principles of Soil Management and Conservation” with Springer for undergraduate and graduate students. Among Blanco’s numerous awards was the SSSA Soil and Water Management and Conservation Division Best Paper Award in 2012 and 2016, and Young Scholar Award in 2008. He was chair of the SSSA Soil and Water Management and Conservation Division. He also served as associate editor for the SSSA Journal, Agronomy Journal and Bioenergy Research.