SROP: Undergraduate Research and Extension Experiential Learning Fellowship in Integrated Agronomic Systems

For information contact

Dr. John Guretzky
Project Director 

Becca Clay, an undergraduate from Iowa State University, presents her research poster on how grazing cover crops impact soil properties at the Goodding Learning Center, Plant Sciences Hall, UNL East Campus.
Becca Clay, an undergraduate from Iowa State University, presents her research poster on how grazing cover crops impact soil properties at the Goodding Learning Center, Plant Sciences Hall, UNL East Campus.

Application Dates

Nov 15 2017 App opens
February 1 Priority deadline
March 1 App closes
April 1 Decisions complete

Program Dates

June 3 2018 Arrival day
June 4 Program begins
August 7 Program ends
August 8 Departure day

Who should apply

Related fields

  • Crop Sciences
  • Soil Sciences
  • Plant Sciences
  • Plant Biology


Participation in the Nebraska Summer Research Program is limited to students who meet the following criteria:
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Current undergraduate with at least one semester of coursework remaining before obtaining a bachelor's degree

See Eligibility for more information.

How to apply

Follow the application steps to submit the following materials.

About the Program

Interest is growing in the use of cover crops and annual forages in integrated agronomic systems to increase forage for grazing livestock and improve other ecosystem services.  Yet, much remains unknown about management of such systems and their impacts on corn/soybean yields, forage production, and soil and environmental quality. Thus, developing student skills in conducting research, communicating findings, and educating crop and livestock producers in this emerging area of agriculture is a priority.  This fellowship will provide a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to work directly with faculty mentors knowledgeable on corn/soybean cropping systems, cover crop/crop residue management, pasture ecology, and soil management. 

* The department will support travel, hotel, registration, and meal expenses for a professional meeting to present research, interact with leading university, government, and industry scientists, form networks, and pursue graduate school opportunities.  Total value of support for each fellow is estimated at $8,015.

2017 Integrated Agronomic System students.
2017 Integrated Agronomic System students.

Student-focused learning outcomes:

  1. Improve understanding of integrated agronomic systems.
  2. Learn how agronomic experiments are designed.
  3. Measure and analyze fundamental crop and soil variables.
  4. Develop an extension case study to address a producer concern.
  5. Effectively communicate extension and research outcomes.
  6. Develop networks with other students, government scientists, industry leaders, faculty, and extension personnel in the field of integrated agronomic systems.
  7. Acquire specific skills necessary to apply to graduate school.


  • Competitive stipend: $5,000*
  • Suite-style room and meal plan
  • Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
  • Campus parking and/or bus pass
  • Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
  • Wireless internet access

Learn more about academic and financial benefits.


  • Department seminars and presentations
  • Professional development workshops (e.g., applying to graduate school, taking the GRE)
  • Welcome picnic
  • Day trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Canoe and camping trip
  • Research symposium

Mentors and Projects

Dr. Humberto Blanco Agronomy and Horticulture

Soil Management and Applied Soil Physics

Dr. Blanco’s research is on field applications of soil physical processes that influence water, carbon, and nutrient cycling under different management scenarios including cover crops, crop residue removal, conservation tillage, diversified cropping systems, dedicated bioenergy crops, and others. He teaches classes in soil management, applied soil physics, and soil-water-nutrient relationships.

Dr. Roger Elmore Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

Cropping Systems Agronomy

Dr. Elmore's vision for his applied crop production research and extension work at UNL is to maintain or increase crop production profitability and water use efficiency by seeking and demonstrating environmentally sound production practices. His mission is to research, develop, teach and extend timely and pertinent crop management information for farmers, agribusiness, Extension personnel and graduate and undergraduate students. To that end, his research program focuses on production practices that increase profit through optimizing or maximizing yield and water use. Earlier research projects include: effects of previous hybrid in corn following corn systems; dry matter and nutrient accumulation of modern and historical corn hybrids, effects of corn planting dates, row spacing, plant population responses, as well as the impact of plant to plant variability. A major accomplishment while serving at Iowa State Univ. was the publication of Abendroth et al. 2011, Corn Growth and Development, Iowa State Univ. Extension PMR 1009. At UNL, he co-leads with Humberto Blanco and several other colleagues a new cover crop research project supported by the Nebraska Soybean Board and the Nebraska Corn Board. 

Dr. John Guretzky Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

Grassland Systems Ecology

Dr. Guretzky’s research focuses on nitrogen cycling and use efficiency in range, pasture, and forage systems; impacts of fire, grazing, and seeding on range and pastureland plant communities; and integration of forages in crop-livestock systems.  He teaches courses in Forage Crop and Pasture Management and Forage Evaluation.  His goal is to improve student understanding about the role of forages and grasslands in sustainable agriculture.

Dr. Daren Redfearn Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

Integrated Forage, Crop, and Beef Systems

Dr. Redfearn’s research interests: develop management, production, and utilization strategies for annual forages used as cover crops; evaluate the influence of crop residue management systems on cover crop establishment; and create unique crop residue management systems that facilitate use of cover crops.  Extension interests: enhance the use of crop residues and cover crops into existing beef production systems; and implement economical crop residue harvest and grazing methods.