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Brent Robertson, who farms near Elsie, was recently appointed by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to serve on USDA's Plant Variety Protection Board Tyler Harris
NEW APPOINTMENT: Brent Robertson, who farms near Elsie, Neb., recently was appointed to serve on USDA's Plant Variety Protection Board.

Brent Robertson appointed to Plant Variety Protection Board

Nebraska Digest: NWB names program participants; NCB elects leadership; Diego Jarquin receives award.

Brent Robertson, a wheat grower from Elsie, Neb., recently was appointed by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to serve on USDA's Plant Variety Protection Board. Robertson's term began immediately after his appointment and expires in September 2022.

The PVP Board was created by the Plant Variety Protection Act as a way for stakeholders to provide feedback and advice to the PVP office. The board advises the secretary concerning the adoption of rules and regulations to facilitate the proper administration of the PVP Act, and makes advisory decisions for the secretary on appeals concerning decisions on applications by the PVP office and on requests for emergency public interest compulsory licenses.

Robertson served as the District 7 representative for the Nebraska Wheat Board from 2007 to 2020. He served as chairman of the board from 2016 to 2019. He also served as a board member on the Wheat Foods Council and held the chairman position from 2011 to 2013.

NWB announces Ambassador Program participants

The Nebraska Wheat Board recently announced the selection of two students for the 2020-21 Wheat Ambassador Program.

Emma Goosic of Franklin is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is studying agribusiness with a management option. She is a member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau and serves on "The Crew," is a William H. Thompson scholar, and has judged district FFA leadership development events.

Jennifer Howsden of Alma is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is studying animal science. She is an active member of the Sigma Alpha – Alpha Delta Sorority, a member of the Master of Beef Advocacy Program, and has taught elementary students about agriculture through Farm Bureau's Ag in the Classroom program.

The NWB Ambassador Program runs in accordance with the school year, beginning in September and ending in May. Through the program, ambassadors are immersed in the wheat industry and are awarded a $1,000 scholarship at the end of the program for the upcoming school year.

Nebraska Corn Board elects leadership

The Nebraska Corn Board elected four farmers to serve in leadership roles at its August board meeting. The leadership roles are effective immediately and are yearlong, with the possibility of being reelected.

David Bruntz, District 1 director, was reelected as chairman of the board. Bruntz farms near Friend, where he grows corn and soybeans and also feeds cattle.

Brandon Hunnicutt, District 3 director, was reelected as vice chair of NCB. Hunnicutt farms near Giltner with his father and brother, where they raise corn, popcorn, seed corn and soybeans.

Jay Reiners, at-large director, was reelected as secretary-treasurer of the board. Reiners farms near Juniata, where he grows field corn, seed corn and soybeans.

Dave Merrell, District 7 director, will continue his role as past chairman of the board. His family farm near St. Edward produces corn and soybeans.

Jarquin receives Early Career Scientist Award

Diego Jarquin, research assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has earned the 2020 National Association of Plant Breeders Early Career Scientist Award.

The award recognizes a scientist in the early stages of their plant-breeding career who exhibits the ability to establish strong research foundations, interact with multidisciplinary teams and participate in relevant professional societies.

Jarquin received a doctoral degree in statistics from the University of Postgraduate Education in Mexico in 2012. He received postdoctoral training at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In his program, Jarquin merges statistical methodology, quantitative genetics, computer algorithm development, data science and collaborative work with plant sciences.

He seeks to advance prediction models for forecasting plant performance, while accounting for several sources of information and by taking genotype-by-environment interaction into consideration.

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