UNL-TAPS Program Honors 2020 Competition Winners

Mark McConnell at awards ceremony
Paxton, Nebraska resident Mark McConnell received the Greatest Yield and Most Profitable awards in the TAPS sprinkler corn division.

UNL-TAPS Program Honors 2020 Competition Winners

The Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) awards ceremony was held virtually on Jan. 16, due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions. The TAPS program was created by University of Nebraska educators and specialists four years ago, as an innovative way of connecting producers to industry professionals and offering a way of testing out new advancing technologies through farm management competitions facilitated in North Platte at the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center. The 2020 participants were honored Saturday evening with a number of awards. 

Sprinkler Irrigated Sorghum

The sprinkler irrigated sorghum contest, in its third year, had 12 teams. The award winners were:

  • Marc Rasmussen of Cambridge, Nebraska won Greatest Yield. 
  • Scott Jewett of Holdrege, Nebraska won Highest Input Use Efficiency.  
  • Paul Hoyt of Culbertson, Nebraska took home the highest recognition of Most Profitable. 
Paul Hoyt with award
Culbertson, Nebraska resident Paul Hoyt received the Most Profitable award in the TAPS sprinkler irrigated sorghum division.
Subsurface Drip Irrigation Corn

In the second year of the subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) corn competition, 16 teams competed. The award winners in the SDI competition included:  

  • Lorn Dizmang of Dizmang Ag of Moorefield, Nebraska received the Greatest Yield award.  
  • The Tri-Basin Water Watchers team of Holdrege, Nebraska won the Highest Input Use Efficiency accolade. The Tri-Basin Water Watchers team included Pat Nott, Chris Ecklun, Reed Philips, Rick Reinsch and Curtis Scheele. 
  • The Rattlesnake Boys from Wood River, Nebraska won the top award for Most Profitable. The Rattlesnake Boys team consisted of Kevin and Amy Harsch, Jay Johnson and Jeremy Gewecke. 
Sprinkler Corn

The fourth year of the sprinkler corn competition had 27 teams participate. Award winners were: 

  • Mark McConnell of Paxton, Nebraska was presented with the Greatest Yield award.  
  • The M&M’s team of York, Nebraska, which included Ron Makovicka, Jenny Rees, Jerry Stahr, and Stuart Spader, earned the Highest Input Use Efficiency award.  
  • Mark McConnell won the top award for Most Profitable. 
Rattlesnake Boys at award ceremony
The Rattlesnake Boys - Kevin and Amy Harsch, Jay Johnson and Jeremy Gewecke - won the TAPS subsurface drip irrigation corn category's top award for Most Profitable.
Outstanding TAPS Advocate

The last award presented was for the Outstanding TAPS Advocate, which was started last year to honor an organization, person or business that went above and beyond in supporting the UNL-TAPS program. This year, the award recipient was Tyler Harris with the Nebraska Farmer. 

The full recording of the awards ceremony, and/or a presentation of the data, can both be found at UNL’s Mediahub

The TAPS program representatives would like to thank all the sponsors, supporters and competitors for being a part of and making the program a continued success. The plans are already in process for the 2021 TAPS competitions. 

Anyone interested in participating in the 2021 TAPS competitions can email Krystle Rhoades, TAPS program manager. 

Founded in 2017, the Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program is an innovative program developed by University of Nebraska research and extension specialists and educators. Rather than the typical teacher and student paradigm, the program facilitates a number of interactive real-life farm management competitions. For more information, visit the TAPS website.