Nebraska Farmer Logo

Agronomist co-developing global ag platform

Nebraska Notebook: Corn Growers Association names new director of grower services.

October 25, 2021

2 Min Read
Irrigation equipment in field.
FOOD BOOSTER: Nebraska agronomist Patricio Grassini is working with an international team to develop a global agriculture platform aimed at estimating water productivity, crop nutrients and yield gaps for major crops in 70 countries.Curt Arens

How do you feed a growing population while protecting the environment? Using global data, Nebraska agronomist Patricio Grassini is helping agricultural stakeholders find common ground.

The data is known as the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas, an online platform that estimates water productivity, crop nutrient requirements and yield gaps — the difference between current and potential yields — for major crops in 70 countries.

Developed in collaboration with Wageningen University in the Netherlands, the international team aims to help stakeholders increase production on existing cropland.

“Currently, we are expanding cropland areas at a rate of 13 million hectares every year and destroying fragile ecosystems,” Grassini says. “We need to understand how much more food we can produce on existing cropland — and where. The places with the biggest yield gaps have the biggest opportunities.”

NUtech’s Jeewan Jyot has worked with the team to develop a licensing strategy for the platform’s data, which has been downloaded by more than 40,000 people worldwide. Companies pay to use the data for commercial purposes, but government users and nonprofits can access it for free.

Jyot and the team have also developed a corporate sponsorship model for the platform. Participating companies select a level of financial commitment, which enables them to access the platform and offer feedback on new features and future directions. The sponsorship program was implemented in February and is already helping the project become financially self-sustaining.

“Our goal was to reach a sponsorship level that allows us to update and expand the platform — and in the first year, we’ve already exceeded that goal,” Grassini says. “With this support, our team can think big and continue addressing important demands in agriculture.”

NeCGA names director of grower services

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association has hired a new director of grower services. Katherine Byrne brings talent and experience from her time as public relations director at Ag Valley Co-op and internships with the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and Nebraska Agribusiness Association. Byrne also sits on the board of the Nebraska FFA Foundation as its secretary.

“We are excited to have Katherine on our staff,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of NeCGA. “As a strong advocate for the agriculture industry, she will serve our producers well and will work to boost our membership.”

Byrne received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and environmental sciences communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2018. Her education included event planning, digital marketing and crisis communication.

As the director of grower services, Byrne will work closely with local associations to increase membership, coordinate programs and NeCGA communication, and develop relationships with allied industry partners.

Byrne can be reached by calling the association office at 402-438-6459. 

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like