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Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE)

Cropping Systems Researchers

Ignacio Ciampitti 

Dr. Ignacio Ciampitti is an associate professor of crop production and cropping systems in the Department of Agronomy. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dr. Ciampitti’s research focus is on crop production for corn, soybean, sorghum, canola and cover crops. He leads projects examining nitrogen use efficiency in corn and nitrogen management approaches for maximizing yield. Dr. Ciampitti’s other areas of interest include sustainable crop production, minimizing crop yield gaps, and soybean nitrogen fixation. He also is the leader of the KSUCROPS Production Lab, which focuses on dissecting complex interactions among genotype, environment, and management practices.

Dr. Ciampitti received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and his master’s degree in soil fertility and plant nutrition from the University of Buenos Ares in Argentina. He moved to the United States for his doctoral degree, where he studied crop physiology and plant nutrition at Purdue University. He received his Ph.D. in 2012.

Read more about Dr. Ciampitti.

John Holman

Dr. John Holman is the Cropping Systems Agronomist at K-State’s Southwest Research Extension Center in Garden City and an associate professor in the Department of Agronomy. His expertise is in integrated cropping systems with emphasis in water use, crop/livestock integration, weed science, and forages. With this in mind, Dr. Holman’s focuses his research on improving the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture production systems, with an emphasis on utilizing cultural and technological tools to address underlying concerns for cropping systems. Dr. Holman’s KCARE-affiliated investigations include crop rotations suitable for limited irrigation and the development of advanced dryland production systems. These systems include tillage, livestock integration, crop rotations, and cover crops.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy and a master’s degree in weed science from Montana State University. He received his doctoral degree in plant science from the University of Idaho. Dr. Holman joined Kansas State University in 2006.

Learn more about Dr. Holman and his current research.

Nathan Nelson

Dr. Nathan Nelson is an associate professor in K-State’s Department of Agronomy, specializing in soil fertility and nutrient management. His research projects primarily explore nutrient management, cycling, and distribution within soil profiles and across landscapes. Part of this research is investigating ways to increase the efficiency of phosphorus applications in agriculture, with a main goal of increasing food production while reducing phosphorus runoff into surface waters. Dr. Nelson’s work with KCARE resulted in the development of the Kansas Agricultural Watershed Field Laboratory, a large in-field water quality laboratory at the Ashland Experiment Farm near Manhattan. This facility is used to investigate effects of agricultural systems on surface water quality and develop and verify best management practices to reduce non-point source pollution from agricultural lands.

A native of Manhattan, Dr. Nelson graduated from K-State with a B.S. in agronomy before moving to North Carolina State University where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. in soil science. He has been with the K-State faculty since 2005.

Learn more about Dr. Nelson.

DeAnn Presley

Dr. DeAnn Presley is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Soil Science and Management at K-State. She has been with the department since 2007, where she works on a range of projects that extend to both agricultural and suburban environments. Specifically, her research focuses on cover crops and how they affect soil health and crop production.

Dr. Presley’s unique understanding of cover crops and her passion for soil science are a great asset to KCARE’s Great Plains Grazing research on how climate change, land use, and markets affect cattle production in the southern Great Plains. Her work on this project includes evaluating multi-species cover crops for forage production as well as soil health evaluation in no-till, cover crop, and pumpkin production systems in the Southern Great Plains.

Dr. Presley received her bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Iowa State University, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in agronomy from Kansas State University.

Get more information about Dr. Presley and her work.

Gretchen Sassenrath

Dr. Gretchen Sassenrath is an associate professor of agronomy at K-State’s Southeast Research and Extension Center in Parsons, Kansas. Her research focuses on the improvement of long-term sustainability of farming for both farmers and consumers. Dr. Sassenrath has created a program concentrating on integrated crop and animal production systems that improve agronomic productivity, enhance soil and water resources, and increase economic return for producers.

A member of the Department of Agronomy since 2013, Dr. Sassenrath previously worked as a lead scientist and research plant physiologist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service where she led research examining the status of farming systems in the U.S. and the future of agriculture. Dr. Sassenrath holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Oberlin College. She attended the University of Illinois for her graduate work, where she received her master’s degree in biophysics and her doctoral degree in plan physiology and biology.

Learn more about Dr. Sassenrath’s research interests.

Alan Schlegel 

Dr. Alan Schlegel is Agronomist-in-Charge at K-State’s Southwest Research Extension Center in Tribune, Kansas. He specializes in soil management, including work on nitrogen and phosphorus fertility and management of limited irrigation. Dr. Schlegel works on the development of advanced dryland production systems for wheat, grain sorghum, and corn evaluating more intensive rotations and tillage management. 

Learn more about Dr. Schlegel and his research.

Daniel Sweeney

Dr. Daniel Sweeney is a professor of soil and water management at the Southeast Agricultural Research Center in Parsons. Dr. Sweeney has focused his research on fertilizer application, tillage, and irrigation to improve row and forage crop production on claypan soils — the types of soil prevalent in southeast Kansas. He also has studied environmental issues such as land application of municipal solid waste compost and animal manures for row crop production, plant-based remediation of contaminated soil, and nutrient losses in surface runoff after turkey litter applications.

Dr. Sweeney is a fellow of three professional societies: the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, and the Crop Science Society of America.

Dr. Sweeney earned a Master of Science degree in agronomy from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in soil science from the University of Florida.

Contact Dr. Sweeney.