Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Society award two from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

by Chabella Guzman | PREEC communications

Commendation Awardees
Soil and Water Conservation Society members Dr. Bijesh Maharjan, left, and Extension Educator Gary Stone with their Commendation Awards. Photo by Chabella Guzman
July 3, 2024

Lincoln, Neb. —

Two with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research Extension and Education Center were among those awarded at the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Society (NSWCS) awards night on Wednesday, June 12, in Scottsbluff.  

Dr. Bijesh Maharjan and Extension Educator Gary Stone received the Commendation Award which recognizes SWCS members for service to their chapter or council of chapters. 

“I am honored to receive this Commendation Award from the SWCS Nebraska Chapter,” said Maharjan, Nebraska Extension soil and nutrient management specialist at the Panhandle Research Extension and Education Center (PREEC) in Scottsbluff. “I work closely with local and regional stakeholders to improve soil health and enhance productivity in diverse cropping systems in dry and irrigated land.” He added that challenging soil conditions, changing climate, unpredictable and severe weather events, and the dwindling quality and water supply require all of us to intensify our efforts to conserve finite natural resources such as soil and water. “My research, extension, and education program has always focused on natural resource conservation.” 

Stone is a Nebraska Extension water and integrated cropping systems educator at PREEC. He promotes and educates producers about the importance of irrigation water management utilizing Evapotranspiration Gages (ET) to determine crop water use. “I was honored to receive the award. My work with water management is important to be because clean water is a finite resource, and we must manage it with the utmost diligence. Water is life, life is water.” 

Also receiving the Commendation Award were Brian Dierberger and Galen Wittrock. 

The full list of awardees is as follows:

Soil and Water Conservation Society Honors Award Winners 

International Awards

Society Service Award: In recognition of SWCS members for service to their chapter and/or to the Society

Corey Brubaker

Darwin Hinrichs

Outstanding Chapter Award: recognizes chapters for their success in carrying out their overall program during the past year.

Nebraska Chapter

 WiN (Women in NRCS) Conservationist of the Year Award

In recognition of an outstanding woman farmer/producer/conservationist who demonstrates a vital role in supporting women in agriculture and conservation 

Nancy Fisher, Nebraska

Nebraska Chapter Awards

Honor Award: recognizes non-members for outstanding accomplishments reflecting the society’s objectives. 

Dallas Johannsen

Mark Watson 

Merit Award: in recognition of an outstanding effort or activity by a group, business firm, corporation, or organization that promotes wise land use. There are two recipients this year.

The Business Farmer

North Platte NRD 

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) is the premier international organization for professionals who practice and advance the science and art of natural resource conservation.

To learn more about the society visit


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