2015 Omtvedt Innovation Awards Announced

Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska vice president, IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor and interim senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at UNL presented four Omtvedt Innovation Awards on Sept. 10 at the IANR All Hands Meeting. The awards recognize exceptional service for innovative research and teaching.

Omtvedt Innovation Award Winners listed by category are:

Teaching; John Rupnow: John Rupnow, professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology is the recipient of the Omtvedt Innovation Teaching Award. Rupnow has been a leader in attracting new and talented prospective students into the food science program. Nominators say Rupnow is a fundamental component of the recruitment initiative with the IANR and University of Nebraska Chancellor’s recruitment challenge.

Research; Janos Zempleni: Professor of Molecular Nutrition and Director of the Nebraska Center for the Prevention of Obesity Diseases, Janos Zempleni is the recipient of the Omtvedt Innovation Research Award. Zempleni is recognized worldwide as the leading authority on the nutritional aspects of biotin, other vitamins and bioactive food compounds. He has raised nearly $30 million in external funding at UNL and has produced more than 100 original research articles highlighting innovative approaches that have led to novel discoveries. In addition, Zempleni has mentored roughly 100 postdoctoral fellows, visiting scientists, graduate students, undergraduate students, high school students and technical staff.

Extension; Farm Bill Education Team: The Nebraska Extension Farm Bill Education Team is the recipient of the Omtvedt Innovation Extension Award. The enactment of the new Farm Bill contained in the Agricultural Act of 2014 required agricultural producers to incorporate new commodity-based income support payments and risk management practices into their operations and land investment decisions. The Farm Bill Education Team utilized a multi-platform approach to deliver research-based educational materials and decision aid tools to their audience. Members of the team are Jessica Groskopf, Jim Jansen, Tim Lemmons, Brad Lubben, Robert Tigner, Monte Vandeveer and Allan Vyhnalek.

Team; Precision Ag Data Management Team: The Precision Ag Data Management Team is the recipient of the Omtvedt Innovation Team Award. The team has developed and presented precision ag data management workshops in Nebraska and several other states. In these workshops participants learn how to use yield, soil and input data to make informed decisions. The program has grown from 50 attendees in 2013 to 159 so far in 2015. Members of the team are Joe Luck, Nathan Mueller and Laura Thompson.

The Omtvedt Innovation Awards are made possible through the generosity of Leone Harlan and her late husband, Neal, in honor of Dr. Irv Omtvedt and his distinguished career at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.