Cafaro La Menza continues in department, now as assistant professor

Friday, March 17, 2023

by Fran tenBensel Benne | Agronomy and Horticulture

Nicolas Cafaro La Menza began May 1, 2022, as an assistant professor and cropping systems specialist in agronomy and horticulture at the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center in North Platte. Cafaro La Menza has a 50% research and a 50% extension appointment.

Cafaro La Menza studies crop nutrient dynamics and resource use efficiency of sunlight, water and nitrogen to integrate into cropping systems. His long-term research goal is to develop agronomic tools and strategies to improve agroecosystems management productively and sustainably.

“It is my goal to help growers improve their crop management practices and profitability while maintaining an environmentally sound farm operation,” Cafaro La Menza said.

Born and raised in Argentina, Cafaro La Menza grew up on a family farm where he planted and tended an annual garden with his grandparents and where his interest in agriculture began. He also attended Escuela Agropecuaria de Tres Arroyos, the agricultural high school in his hometown. Still, he attributes much of his interest in plants and science to several undergraduate and graduate school mentors.

Cafaro La Menza earned a Bachelor of Science in engineering from the University of Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires province, Argentina, in 2014. In 2015, he came to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as a research scholar. He continued at Nebraska as a doctoral student earning a Ph.D. in agronomy, specializing in crop physiology and production in 2019.

He worked closely with his entire committee from the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at Nebraska, including Jim Specht, professor emeritus; John Lindquist, professor; George Graef, professor; Tim Arkebauer, professor emeritus; and Juan Pablo Monzon, affiliate. He also worked with Jean Knops, professor emeritus of biological sciences. His adviser was Patricio Grassini, associate professor in agronomy and horticulture, who Cafaro La Menza worked with as a postdoc in the department until moving to North Platte.

As a cropping systems specialist at the WCREEC, Cafaro La Menza provides research-based information to growers to help them make their daily agronomic decisions.

“The west-central region in Nebraska demands research-based information on legume crops such as soybean and field peas, the use of cover crops and nutrient management.”

Outside work, Cafaro La Menza organizes road trips with his family and friends. A self-described outdoors person, he enjoys camping and hiking and plays soccer, bikes and runs.

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Nicolas Cafaro La Menza
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