UNL-TAPS Celebrates Fifth Year with 2021 Awards Banquet

UNL-TAPS Celebrates Fifth Year with 2021 Awards Banquet

The Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) awards ceremony culminated the program’s fifth year of farm management competitions on Jan. 15.

The TAPS program was created by University of Nebraska educators and specialists 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 event was a night of interaction and celebration of the 2021 competitions, which included sorghum, subsurface drip irrigated corn and sprinkler irrigated corn. The participants in each competition make their own individual input decisions for their plots on the same field as competitors. These decisions include crop insurance, hybrid and seeding rate, nitrogen timing and amount, irrigation timing and amount, and marketing of their crop.

Awards are given in each competition for greatest grain yield, highest input use efficiency and most profitable. These designations come with a cash prize, along with a plaque, oversized check and personalized TAPS apparel item.


In its fourth year, the sorghum contest included both a dryland and irrigated portion, and 16 teams. The award winners were as follows:

  • Greatest Yield — Tom Carpenter of Bartley, Nebraska
  • Highest Input Use Efficiency — Chad Dane of Clay Center, Nebraska
  • Most Profitable — Chad Dane of Clay Center, Nebraska
Chad Dane award presentation
Chad Dane, winner of the sorghum profitability award, along with Nebraska Sorghum Board Director Nate Blum.

SDI Corn

In the third year of the SDI corn competition, 16 teams competed. The award winners in the SDI competition included:

  • Greatest Yield — Lorn Dizmang of Dizmang Ag in Moorefield, Nebraska tied with Matt Furlong and Bryant Knoerzer
  • Highest Input Use Efficiency — Matt Furlong of Bertrand, Nebraska, and Bryant Knoerzer of Elwood, Nebraska
  • Most Profitable — The Rattlesnake Boys from Wood River, Nebraska. The Rattlesnake Boys team consisted of Kevin and Amy Harsch, Jay Johnson and Jeremy Gewecke.
Rattlesnake Boys award presentation
Kevin Harsch and Jay Johnson, members of the Rattlesnake Boys group who won the SDI corn profitability, along with Taylor Reynolds from Eco-Drip.

Sprinkler Corn

The fifth year of the sprinkler corn competition had 32 teams participate. Award winners included:

  • The Greatest Yield — Luke Olson of McCook, Nebraska tied with Joshua Becker and Steve Hunt from Beaver City, Nebraska.
  • Highest Input Use Efficiency — The Norton FFA team from Norton, Kansas, led by instructor Caroline Howsden.
  • Most Profitable — The “Waters R Us” team from Lincoln, Nebraska. The team was made up of Nebraska Department of Natural Resources employees Alexa Davis, Kent Zimmerman and Elizabeth Esseks.
Waters R Us award presentation
Alexa Davis and Kent Zimmerman, members of the Waters R Us group made up of Nebraska Department of Natural Resources employees, along with Chuck Burr, who presented the team with the profitability award for the sprinkler corn competition.

The last award presented was the Outstanding TAPS Advocate, which honors an organization, person or business that went above and beyond in supporting the UNL-TAPS program. This year, the award recipient was Curtis Scheele from Holdrege, Nebraska.

The full 2021 TAPS Competition Report can be found online.

The TAPS program would like to thank all the sponsors, supporters and participants for being a part of and making the program a success for the past five years.

The 2022 TAPS competitions are already in planning. Anyone interested in the program 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 taps.unl.edu.


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