Panhandle Research and Extension Center hires new water and irrigation management specialist |

Panhandle Research and Extension Center hires new water and irrigation management specialist

Dr. Xin Qiao will join the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center on May 1 as water and irrigation management specialist.

Qiao’s appointment was announced by Dr. Jack Whittier, Research and Extension Director at the Panhandle Center. He will replace Amir Haghverdi, who left for a position in California in 2015.

Qiao will be responsible for finding new methods and improving existing methods of irrigation to help irrigators manage and conserve limited water in the unique cropping systems in western Nebraska. A key element will be to develop adaptive management practices that producers could utilize to respond to environmental, crop and soil conditions to improve water management and meet regulatory goals. His assignment will be 50 percent research and 50 percent extension.

As part of a multidisciplinary team at the Panhandle Center, Qiao will partner with other UNL faculty and various organizations, agencies and advisory groups.

Whittier said, “We are excited to have Xin join our team here at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The irrigation position has essentially been vacant for five years since the passing of Dean Yonts. Filling this position brings our faculty back to full strength. We are thrilled to have our team of specialists back together to address cropping issues in the Panhandle for the benefit of the agriculture industry, which is so important to the local economy. I believe it also demonstrates the commitment of University of Nebraska administration in Lincoln to the needs of western Nebraska.”

Qiao said, “There are a lot of advanced concepts and technologies available for irrigation management. My research goal will be exploring and developing advanced technologies such as sensor-based irrigation, modeling, and remote sensing to improve water use efficiency of current cropping systems.

“On the extension side, I am excited to learn systems that are already used in Nebraska and tailor these technologies to local needs,” he said. “I believe research and extension should support each other, while research provides scientific basis and extension activities drive the need for research. I look forward to working with local farmers, stakeholders, as well as fellow scientists to better manage water resources in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.”

Xin received his bachelor of science degree in 2009 from South China University of Technology in water and wastewater engineering. He then moved to Clemson University for his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural and environmental engineering. He completed his Ph.D. in 2015 and is currently finishing a post-doctoral program, also at Clemson.

Xin has been located at the off-campus Edisto Research and Education Center at Blackville, S.C., for his Ph.D. and post-doctoral training.

Whittier adds, “My first objective, as director, when Xin arrives will be to get him connected with growers, agricultural support industries and organizations in the Panhandle. We will also visit county extension offices where Xin can become familiar with our team of fine extension educators in the Panhandle.” F

–UNL Extension


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