A Tribute to Lisa Jasa, CropWatch Editor Since the Beginning
“IANR Media, Lisa speaking.” Anyone who has called Lisa Jasa’s office would recognize those familiar words spoken with her kind voice.
Lisa became a communications specialist in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Communications in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1985, where she edited Extension publications and worked on other writing projects.
The pest newsletter named CropWatch was first published in 1992 as a six-page print subscription newsletter on integrated pest management. It was a little tedious, but that year Lisa started editing and laying it out on a computer. CropWatch grew out of a desire to directly and quickly extend University research findings and Extension recommendations to Nebraska farmers. It moved to online and print publication in 1996 with it being housed at cropwatch.unl.edu. The newsletter and website evolved a lot over the last 30 years as farming and new technologies evolved.
Lisa shared, “This (CropWatch) was really an outgrowth of department newsletters that originated just after WWII when growers wanted the latest information on ag advances. At some point in the 1980’s, the individual department newsletters were combined as the Disease, Weed, and Insect (DWI) Newsletter. Eventually it changed to IPM or something else. Initially, these were related to pest management and agronomy stories were infrequent.”
Over time, the topics and contributors increased to encompass all aspects of crop production, pest and farm management. In 2009, the CropWatch newsletter became the home page of a one-stop shop website for all Nebraska Extension crop-related information. Lisa co-coordinated the development of this with Extension Educators Gary Zoubek and Jenny Rees and programmers within IANR media. It was a large undertaking as around 25 individual websites were rolled into CropWatch. Around the same time, a CropWatch Twitter account (@UNL_CropWatch) and YouTube account were developed to extend information to clientele. Around 2017, Lisa worked to redesign the weekly CropWatch email and move it to a modern email distribution system. CropWatch yearly receives nearly 2 million page-views from over 300 countries. Each year, survey respondents report changing a practice and gaining economic benefit from information first learned in CropWatch.
For more than 30 years, Lisa enjoyed working with communicators and agricultural specialists and educators from across the state in addition to those representing Commodity Boards and Ag Industry. She sought timely topics and often worked late hours on Fridays or on weekends to ensure the most timely information was available to clientele. In March of 2019, Lisa accepted the Nebraska Corn Board’s Media Appreciation award for CropWatch. This award recognizes an outstanding individual or organization that helps to tell the story of Nebraska corn and Nebraska’s agriculture.
A short bout with pancreatic cancer resulted in Lisa being unable to work with CropWatch in 2020, but she continued to follow the information being shared. We lost her this past Monday, September 28th. She will be greatly missed.
She leaves behind a legacy with CropWatch, not only through the timely stories released nearly every week for almost 30 years, but in the kindness shown to everyone with whom she interacted and the relationships she built along the way. Thank you Lisa!
Lisa’s obituary can be found at: https://roperandsons.com/lisa-brown-jasa/
6101 South 30th
Lincoln, NE 68516
From Those Who Worked With Lisa
Lisa was a humble person who was dedicated to getting scientifically sound information to our clients. She had a gentle way of getting me to write stories for Crop Watch even when I had many other obligations.
Working with Lisa with Cropwatch was something I always will remember in a positive way and she improved my writing skills. I had a colleague say Lisa was always collaborative, productive and enjoyable. I agree with that 100%.
Lisa was amazingly knowledgeable about Nebraska agriculture and IANR programs and worked to communicate that knowledge to the public. Her edits always improved my writing.
Lisa could sell ice to Eskimos… When she asked for an article, I just couldn’t say no! She was dedicated to her job and always gave 110% which encouraged everyone she worked with to do the same. She was a true professional… and one of the nicest people I think I’ve ever known.
Lisa assisted me on many educational efforts while working on irrigation management. In 2011, while monitoring crop water use with ETgages and Watermark sensors in two fields, with much encouragement and assistance from Lisa, we produced weekly podcasts during the season and shared irrigation management decisions. Lisa posted the podcasts along with images and transcripts of each on CropWatch. Lisa was the key driver to the success of this effort.
Lisa developed CropWatch into the Bible on Crops in Nebraska. I have mentioned many, many, many times at meetings, workshops, telephone calls, office visits etc., for information on crops and crop production in Nebraska type CropWatch in your computer, smart phone, iPad, etc.
By all definitions Lisa was a professional. When you needed advice and direction to solve a problem associated with marketing a program or event, the first person I would turn to in IANR Communications was Lisa. Her talents were a gift she shared with all of us.
If you wait until the insect, disease, opportunity, or needed response is clear and defined, the information is far too late. Lisa developed CropWatch into a forward-looking newsletter and developed the connections with Educators and Specialists to make that happen.
Lisa had a special talent on how to communicate with general public. Lisa knew how to work with specialists and translate scientific language into practical information that the general public can relate to it. The CropWatch Newsletter was a success because of Lisa. It was great to work with Lisa and she will be greatly missed. My deepest condolences to Paul and the family.