Hi, I am Nathan Mueller the new Cropping Systems Educator with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension for Gage, Jefferson, and Saline counties. In my first column, I want to introduce myself and explain my position with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension. If you know Paul Hay or Randy Pryor, retired extension educators, my current position is similar, but not the same.
A little bit about myself first. I grew up on the family dairy farm in Washington County and attended Logan View High School in Dodge County near Hooper. I graduated with an agronomy major from UNL back in 2005. My wife, Ashley (Hejny) Mueller, and I met at college through the UNL Greek System (sorority/fraternity). Ashley grew up in Geneva and has family ties in local communities including Pleasant Dale, Milford and Wilber. Ashley and I took turns working and pursuing advanced degrees. After completing my Master’s degree in Agronomy at UNL, we moved to Lafayette, Indiana, where Ashley completed her Master’s degree in Ag Education. Ashley serves as the Nebraska Extension Disaster Education Coordinator located on UNL’s East Campus, and she is currently working on her Ph.D. While in Indiana, I worked for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Division as a Resource Specialist Team Leader. In that position, I served 11 counties in northwest Indiana working with producers on designing soil conservation practices in cooperation with USDA-NRCS.
We moved to Manhattan, Kansas, in 2009 where I worked on my Ph.D. in soil fertility at Kansas State University. Some of my research spanned along the Nebraska-Kansas state line from Scandia over to Marysville. While in Kansas, we had two sons, Garrison and Kase, who are now 9 and 11 years old. After graduating from Kansas State University, I took a faculty position with South Dakota State University in Brookings as an assistant professor. While there, I learned that my favorite aspect of Land Grant tri-part mission of teaching, research, and extension was extension. The past five years I worked for Nebraska Extension as a cropping systems extension educator located in Fremont. My main office location is in Wilber, but I have access to space at the Extension offices in Beatrice and Fairbury too.
What is a Nebraska Extension Cropping Systems Educator? UNL has three key mission as a land-grant institution including teaching, research, and extension. Nebraska Extension is charged with extending or sharing fact-based research results with Nebraskans. It is my responsibility to develop and deliver local crops and water educational programs and resources in Saline, Jefferson, and Gage counties for farmers. The outcomes of this focused extension program for cropping systems includes: Improved profitability and sustainability, reducing environmental risk and encouraging resource stewardship, enhanced resiliency of cropping systems from climate variability, and expanded consumer and youth awareness of cropping systems. My position is one of 24 cropping systems extension educator positions across the state of Nebraska. Nebraska Extension delivers educational programs across the state including Beef Systems, The Learning Child, Community Environment, Community Vitality, 4-H Youth Development, and Food, Nutrition & Health. I encourage you to learn more about Nebraska Extension and what we offer at extension.unl.edu. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line.
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