Faculty Spotlight: Nicolas Cafaro La Menza

Nicolas Cafaro La Menza

About Nicolas

I am originally from Argentina, where I grew up on a family farm. We grew wheat, barley, sunflower, and oats and also had some pastures for the beef cattle. I am passionate about agriculture and its food production. I went to an agricultural school, did a BSc in Agronomy in Argentina, and got my Ph.D. in Crop Physiology and Production at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My curiosity and eagerness to learn how to keep producing food in a world with a steadily growing population led me in my professional life to research.

What is your position at the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center?

My position at the WCREEC is Cropping Systems Specialist. It is under the rank of Assistant Professor with 50% research and 50% extension appointment.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

The On-Farm research because I work together with the grower on a current or emerging issue by learning together. Being able to capture growers' thoughts and concerns about agricultural problems, translate these thoughts and concerns into scientific hypotheses, design an experiment using scientific methods to answer these hypotheses, generate new information that will help us address current and emerging issues in agriculture, and seeing growers utilizing that information to aid their daily decision-making process is very rewarding.

Who or what influences you the most? 

In my career? My family first. Then several teachers, senior professors, advisors I have throughout my career, and farmers I interacted with. What? The curiosity to understand how things work and my vocation for service.

What is your life like outside of work?

Busier than work... A lot of friends. Barbeques and cooking new food. Adventure. Travel. I like to play soccer and volleyball. I also do biking and a bit of running. Organize road trips with my family and friends. I like to go camping and hiking. Having a garden and harvesting my own food.