Cardinal Farrington received 2019 Esprit de Corps Award

      Cardinal Farrington, facilities manager at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, has received the Panhandle District Esprit de Corps Award. Farrington was recognized for his willing attitude to serve others and provide for the needs of the Center. In particular he was commended for the effort to remove snow in March 2019, following one of the worst blizzards in recent history. He and his facilities crew also have done a remarkable job of freshening up the grounds at the Center, including the arboretum area.

The Esprit de Corps Award is given periodically by Panhandle Research and Extension District to a person who exemplifies the definition of Esprit de Corp which is, “…a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by the members of a particular group.”

Panhandle staff recognized by UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Two Extension employees from the Panhandle were recognized for their accomplishments during the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ annual awards luncheon.

Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, Community Vitality Specialist based in Scottsbluff, was presented with an Omtvedt Innovation Award. She is a specialist and professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Her focus has been to support rural communities as they obtain the future they desire through data-driven strategies linked to research and Extension engagement. Her work has targeted workforce development, organizational and business planning, tourism development and rural new resident recruitment and retention. In addition, she is currently sharing her community insights as an instructor for a graduate course in community engagement as part of the online Great Plains Interactive Education alliance.

She and colleagues developed the community-driven Red Carpet Service program, which has been delivered with team members in communities in Nebraska and South Dakota. It also has evolved to include an on-line program, a mini two-hour version, and two program spin-offs.           She helped develop the research-based, multi-state Marketing Hometown America (MHA) program, which has been recognized through a Community Development Society Innovation Award and National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Teamwork award. The National Association of Development Organizations recognized MHA as one of five innovative programs. Minnesota and Iowa are implementing this program.

Rex Nielsen, research technologist for the soil and nutrient management program at the Panhandle Center, received an exemplary service award. Nielsen has worked at the Panhandle Center for more than 40 years, mostly in soil and fertility research. He has worked on a number of projects that have had positive effects on agriculture in western Nebraska.

Nielsen has planned, coordinated and implemented the research program and protocols for numerous soils scientists, and in the interim periods between scientists with limited supervision. Two of those projects are maintenance of the Knorr-Holden long-term rotation study and the NE Soil Fertility Project. In the course of his duties, he performs several jobs beyond the normal field scope of plot work, and was recognized for a great understanding of plot work requirements for equipment, protocols and timing and working with others to get the job done.

Nebraska Extension recognizes Panhandle staff

Excellence in Extension Awards were presented to five Nebraska Extension staff from the Panhandle during the Nebraska Extension Fall Conference in Kearney in November.

Cropping Systems Educator John Thomas, based in Alliance, was recognized for his impactful efforts to demonstrate and encourage dry bean growers to adopt direct (one-pass) harvest of dry beans. Thomas has been active, along with farmers, equipment dealers, and UNL colleagues, in developing a direct-harvest system for western Nebraska.

Traditionally, Nebraska bean growers have harvested dry beans using a method with two or more steps, including windrowing swaths of beans and making a second pass with a combine. Direct harvest eliminates swathing and windrowing. With proper techniques and equipment, direct harvest can reduce field loss, increase harvested yield, reduce soil disturbance and leave more bean residue in the field. Working with now-retired researchers John Smith and Robert Wilson from the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Thomas developed an Extension Circular “Direct Harvest of Dry Edible Beans.” The percent of Nebraska dry bean acreage that is direct harvested has increased, from less than 5 percent in 2012 to about 40 percent in 2015.

Ag Economist Jessica Groskopf, Extension educators Gary Stone and John Thomas, and communications associate Dave Ostdiek were recognized for their engagement efforts in assisting with the recovery from the tunnel collapse and canal breach on the Goshen-Gering Fort Laramie irrigation canal. Also recognized as part of the team effort was Lisa Jasa, who is based in Lincoln and is editor of Nebraska Extension’s CropWatch website.

      The July 17 tunnel collapse near Fort Laramie, Wyo., caused a major breach of the canal bank and curtailed water deliveries for 43 days to over 107,000 acres in Nebraska and Wyoming. Nebraska and Wyoming Extension personnel estimated the direct economic impact to the area would be $89 million. In cooperation with Extension colleagues in Wyoming, the Nebraska team helped host public stakeholder meetings in the affected areas, providing several hundred stakeholders with the most current information and planning. The Panhandle Center hosted a web page at, dedicated to providing information and resources related to the irrigation crisis. In addition, CropWatch posted content provided by the Nebraska Extension team on the canal situation.

Groskopf and Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist Cody Creech also were members of the Soybean Management Field Days team, which was recognized for partnering with the Nebraska Soybean Board for the past 22 years to provide a turnkey research and extension educational experience. Each year, four farm operators, representing different soybean growing regions in Nebraska, are selected to host a Soybean Management Field Day site.

Faculty are engaged in the development and implementation of field research at these four sites. Following harvest of the replicated plots, each faculty member has the results analyzed and a written summary is published in a booklet entitled “Soybean Management Field Days – Research Update.”

Grad student Isabella Possignolo recognized

Isabella Possignolo, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate student advised by Xin Qiao, irrigation and water management specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, has been invited to attend the Irrigation Association’s annual show and education conference, the industry’s largest show.

Possignolo, who is working toward a master’s degree in mechanized systems management, will travel to Las Vegas in December to attend educational courses, and network with other students and irrigation industry people. The cost of her trip paid by the Irrigation Association, whose Irrigation E3 program supports students and teachers involved in irrigation through exposure, experience and education. A selection committee chooses eight or more students to receive an education and travel scholarship to attend the Irrigation Show and Education Week, where they participate in education classes, industry sessions and networking events.

Extension Educator Jack Arterburn recognized by Society for Range Management

Jack Arterburn, a beef systems educator with Nebraska Extension based in Sheridan County, was recently awarded the Outstanding Young Range Professional Award by the Nebraska Section of the Society for Range Management. This award recognizes superior performance and leadership potential as a range management professional.

Since 2016 Arterburn has worked with Nebraska Extension to provide research-based educational programs and resources to meet the goals of beef producers in Nebraska. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln focusing on rangeland ecology and management.

Arterburn is an advisor to the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, a Nebraska Section of the Society for Range Management council member, and a member of the Nebraska Grazing Conference Advisory Committee. In 2018 he was named one of the Cattle Business Weekly Top 10 Industry Leaders Under 40.

In the past several years he has been coauthor on a number of publications in professional journals on rangeland ecology and management, and has given a number of presentations. In addition to the Society for Range Management, he is a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen, Northern Panhandle Affiliate (Advisor); Chadron Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee; Chadron Volunteer Fire Department; and Grazing Livestock Systems Stakeholder Faculty Advisor, UNL.

Extension Educator Jamie Goffena recognized b y NEAFCS

Jamie Goffena, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educator in the North Panhandle, has been named the 2019 recipient of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Distinguished Service Award.

Jamie was recognized for the honor at the national meeting held the week of September 30 – October 3, 2019 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This award was given to Jamie in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the past 24 years. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest award presented by the NEAFCS.  The award recognizes members for leadership, educational program efforts and professional development, said Andrea Nisley, member of the NEAFCS Awards Committee. Jamie teaches and motivates rural Nebraska youth and adults to live healthier with improved nutrition and innovative fitness activities.

Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist Cody Creech honored by Crop Science Society of America

Cody CreechThe Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) has announced that it will award its 2019 Early Career Award to Dr. Cody F. Creech, dryland cropping systems specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The CSSA announced the award in a news release. It will be formally presented at the CSSA Awards Ceremony on Nov.13 during the scientific society’s annual conference at San Antonio, Texas.

The annual awards are presented for outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service, and research. Creech, an Assistant Professor in the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utah State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska.

His research and extension efforts focus on enhancing agronomic practices to increase profitability, optimizing soil water conservation, and delivering weed management solutions. His research has refined the seeding recommendations for winter wheat and evaluated the role wheat residue has in facilitating soil water conservation. He is an active member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and national and regional Weed Science societies. Cody serves as the faculty supervisor for the High Plains Ag Lab and as an associate editor for the Agronomy Journal. He is also a Robert B. Daugherty Institute Global Water for Food Faculty Fellow.

According to a news release from CSSA, the Early Career Award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in crop science within seven years of completing their final degree. The award consists of a certificate, a complimentary ticket to the award ceremony, and $2,000. Award nominees are evaluated on evidence of quality teaching at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels; effectiveness in extension and outreach activities; significance and originality of basic and/or applied research; achievements in private sector application of agronomy, crop and/or soil science; or contributions to the public or professional organizations and institutions.

Extension Educator Jack Arterburn on Cattle Business Weekly list of Top 10 Industry Leaders under 40

Jack ArterburnJack Arterburn, Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Educator in the northern Panhandle, has been selected one of the Top 10 Industry Leaders under the age of 40 by The Cattle Business Weekly, a leading agricultural publication based in Philip, S.D.

Every fall CBW selects ten individuals who are making significant contributions to the industry to be featured in its annual herd reference guide, which was just released. Arterburn, who grew up in Sidney, has been an Extension Educator since 2016. He is responsible for Extension beef systems programming primarily in the northern Panhandle counties of Sioux, Dawes, Box Butte, and Sheridan, but also statewide Extension education programs in beef systems.

In addition to Arterburn, this year’s CBW Top 10 class consists of cattle producers, auctioneers, tech gurus, media experts, feedlot operators, beef educators and veterinarians. In addition to Arterburn, others named to the class are: Eric Knock, Tulare, S.D.; Monte Bloms, Carpio, N.D.; Kyle Shobe, Lewistown, Mont.; Steven and Amy Muller, Agar, S.D.; Brooke German, State Center, Iowa; Joshua Mohnen, White Lake, S.D.; Lacey Maier, New Salem, N.D.; Jordan and Drew Feller, Wisner, Neb. and Ellen Schlechter, Orient, S.D.

A selection committee designated by CBW selects the individuals every year from a pool of candidates. Selection criteria is based on the individual’s involvement/accomplishments in the ag industry, what role they are playing in bettering agriculture for the future and what impact they have on their local communities.

“We always appreciate the different individuals that make up the Top 10. It’s a great reminder of what it takes to make American agriculture what it is. This class of leaders is a great example of what the next generation of farmers and ranchers is doing today,” said CBW editor Codi Vallery-Mills in a news release. Profiles of these individuals can be viewed in the recently published Cattle Business, Herd Reference Guide or online at

Groskopf recognized for grain marketing plan smartphone app

Jessica GroskopfJessica Groskopf, a Nebraska Extension Ag Economics Educator based at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center, was part of a team that received national recognition for their efforts to introduce farmers to the Grain Marketing Plan smartphone application, a decision-making tool developed by Nebraska Extension.

The National Association of County Agricultural Agents recognized Professional Excellence in Applied Research Posters at the Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference recently in Chattanooga, Tenn. Third place went to the poster by Groskopf, along with co-authors Robert Tigner, Extension Educator at North Platte; and Cory Walters, Extension Specialist based in Lincoln.

The poster discussed adoption of the Grain Marketing Plan app by farmers who attended “Developing a Grain Marketing Plan” workshops, and the impact of the app on their decision making.

The smartphone app is a customizable electronic grain marketing plan with a built-in reminder system. Once a farmer has developed a marketing plan, they can input their decision statements into their smartphone. When a price or date target is hit, the farmer will receive a notice encouraging them to take action. The application features a pre-harvest and post-harvest marketing plans and is available for corn, soybeans, and winter wheat.

Groskopf, who has been an extension educator at the Panhandle Center since 2012, and her colleagues conducted a series of workshops to help producers in developing and implementing grain-marketing plans using the Grain Marketing Plan app.

Panday wins Maize-Asia Youth Innovator Award

Dinesh Panday, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln agronomy graduate student working and studying at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, is one of the winners of the 2018 Maize-Asia Youth Innovators Awards. He was presented with the award at the 13th Asian Maize Conference Oct. 8-10 in Ludhiana, India, and was invited to present his work in maize research for development at the closing plenary session.

Panday is a doctorate graduate research assistant in soil fertility and nutrient management and has been conducting research in the Scottsbluff area, while based at the Panhandle Center. His advisors are Bijesh Maharjan, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture and Soils and Nutrient Management Specialist at the Center, and Richard Ferguson, professor and interim head of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. Panday’s research aims to determine the effectiveness of high-carbon char in reducing environmental nitrogen loss and improving nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency in fertilized soils in semi-arid regions. The project uses sensors to detect maize nitrogen stress, predict grain yield and determine in-season and additional side-dress applications of nitrogen fertilizer, to reduce environmental impacts.

The 2018 Maize-Asia Youth Innovators Awards recognize the contributions of innovative young women and men who can inspire fellow young people to get involved with maize-based research, change agency and farming. The awards aim to celebrate youth participation in maize-based agri-food systems and are sponsored by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Program on Maize (CGIAR MAIZE) in collaboration with Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD). “It was my honor to represent the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as well as my home country, Nepal, in such a glorious event,” Panday said. “I feel privileged to receive this award and it has encouraged me to work more on maize-based agri-food system. I am very thankful to my advisor, Dr. Maharjan, for providing me continuous support and encouragement to grow professionally.”

Dinesh Panday Maize award
Dinesh Panday (second from right) is presented the 2018 Maize-Asia Youth Innovator Award by (from left) Dr. B.M. Prasanna, Director of the Consultative Group on International Research Program on Maize (CGIAR MAIZE); Dr. Martin Kropff (right), Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center; and Dr. Mike Robinson, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Switzerland and MAIZE Independent Steering Committee. (Photo: Manjit Singh)

Society for Range Management honors Stephenson

From the Society for Range Management

Dr. Mitchell Stephenson of Scottsbluff, Neb., received an Outstanding Young Range Professional Award at the Society for Range Management’s (SRM) 71st Annual Meeting, Technical Training, and Trade Show in Sparks, Nev., which concluded earlier this month.

Dr. Mitchell Stephenson Society for Range Management award
Photo: 2018 SRM Outstanding Young Range Professional Award recipient Dr. Mitchell Stephenson with SRM President (2017) Dr. Larry Howery

The Outstanding Young Range Professional Award recognizes SRM members who exhibit superior performance and leadership potential in any range-related area. Dr. Mitchell Stephenson has been with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) as an assistant professor in rangeland ecology and management at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center since 2015.

Dr. Stephenson’s research has focused on areas with potential impact on managing grazinglands throughout central and western North America. His research in grazing livestock distribution, targeted grazing, social association dynamics within cattle herds, and rangeland resilience on private ranches is cutting-edge and has placed him in a leadership position in foraging ecology.

He is developing an excellent record in scientific journal publications and leading workshops at professional meetings. As an extension specialist, Dr. Stephenson is developing a highly visible extension program which already has a major impact on beef cattle production in Nebraska. He contributes to the UNL Range Short Course, the Nebraska Range Youth Camp, the High School Range Judging Competitions, the Gudmundsen Sandhills Open House, the Field Day at the Barta Brothers Ranch, and workshops and fields days at numerous other locations. He has co-authored 5 extension publications, numerous webinars, popular press and newsletter articles, and website publications.

With these communications, he has been very effective in distributing research results to the ranch level and to conservation agencies/organizations. Dr. Stephenson’s contributions to the Society for Range Management are significant at both the section and international levels. He is a member of the Nebraska Section SRM, and is in line to be the Section President in 2018. Mitch is a member of several SRM committees and is on track to become a leader in SRM.

For his many accomplishments and contributions, Dr. Mitchell Stephenson is most deserving of this 2018 Society for Range Management Outstanding Young Range Professional Award.

Jack Whittier award

Whittier recognized by Animal Science Society

Dr. Jack C. Whittier, director of the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, has been named the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science (WSASAS) during its annual meeting recently in Fargo, N.D.

Dr. Whittier was raised on a diversified livestock and crop farm in northeastern Utah, and received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science from Utah State University in 1979 and 1981, respectively. Dr. Whittier completed a Ph.D. degree in ruminant nutrition in 1985 from the University of Nebraska.

Since 2014, Dr. Whittier has been Director of the University of Nebraska Panhandle District Panhandle Research and Extension Center and Professor of Animal Science.

He has fulfilled significant leadership roles in WSASAS. Most recently, Dr. Whittier served on the ASAS Board of Directors as Western Section Director for two 3-year terms (2010 to 2016). His applied research has focused on range beef cow nutrition and reproduction management. He has helped generate over $2.2 million in extramural funds as PI or Co-I, participated in training 37 graduate students, and authored or co-authored 49 refereed publications and numerous non-refereed and Extension papers. Currently, Dr. Whittier supervises 12 Ph.D. Research and Extension Specialists and 22 Extension Educators.

Dr. Whittier has contributed as an active leader with Boy Scouts of America, in numerous leadership roles with his church, and with the Scottsbluff/Gering Rotary Club. Dr. Whittier and his wife, Robynn, have two grown sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. They also own a small-scale Simmental-Angus seedstock beef herd.

The Distinguished Service Award is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health and the Western Section of ASAS.