Agronomy and Horticulture is Growing the Future of Ag

Martha Mamo
Martha Mamo, chair and John E. Weaver Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture. (Photo by Craig Chandler, University Communication)

Agronomy and Horticulture is Growing the Future of Ag

Agriculture is the heart and soul of Nebraska.

The state’s leading industry, its impact goes far beyond the plate — providing Nebraskans with jobs, contributing to the state’s economy, and touching the lives of its citizens every day.

Production agriculture contributes more than $25 billion to Nebraska’s economy each year, thanks to the hard work of Nebraska farmers and ranchers working on 48,000 farms and ranches spread across nearly 45 million acres. In fact, farms and ranches use 92% of Nebraska’s total land area.

“Few other states have an economy with this degree of agricultural prominence,” said Mike Boehm, vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “Even as our cities grow and our economy diversifies, agriculture remains critically important to the economic prosperity of Nebraska — and it will long into the future.”

When it comes to research that supports both large-scale and small-scale crops, the state looks to the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at Nebraska.

Agronomy views agriculture from an integrated, holistic perspective. Agronomists are experts in crop production and soil management, as well as ecology. Horticulture is the branch of agriculture that deals with the art, science, technology and business of plant cultivation — generally specialty crops.

Together, the department’s work helps feed Nebraska — and that of a growing global population.

Real Impact on Nebraska’s Producers

When it comes to work that directly benefits Nebraska, the agronomy and horticulture department conducts research ranging from plant breeding and genetics to rangeland and crop management.

The outcomes of that research make a difference to the bottom lines of farmers and ranchers across the state. As an example, UNL soybean lines — which pack increased yield, seed protein and oil, and other novel quality and defensive traits — provide an estimated $100 million per year directly to the farmers who grow them.

From a crop management perspective, research-based yield forecasting, such as the risk of early-killing frost, provides in-season, real-time information for decision making and planning. Recommendations on planting dates and crop inputs like seed and fertilizer have led to consistent increases in profit for corn and soybean farmers across the state.

To read more about the UNL Department of Agronomy and Horticulture’s impact on Nebraska ag, visit Nebraska Today.

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