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Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE)

Meet new members of our team

A young woman with dark hair, and wearing a jacket and a bright red scarf, smiles into the camera in front of the setting sun

The Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE) has welcomed a new post-doctoral researcher to the team.

Maria De Bernardi arrived in Manhattan this summer from her home in Argentina. Within the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at K-State, she will focus on research that tests winter grazing methods and their impact on soil regeneration. Specifically, Maria said that she’ll be investigating production agricultural strategies to pinpoint specifics about nitrogen gases in grazing systems management. The results of this project could help scientists and other livestock managers understand the tools needed to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

“This topic really caught my attention,” she said. “It’s important on a local and a global scale.”

At a young age, Maria developed an interest in the environment which led her to purse a PhD in applied science, specializing in Environment and Health. After graduation, she continued postdoctoral studies in Argentina on greenhouse gas mitigation and land use change.

Maria was able join KCARE thanks to a partnership between the university and the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub. This collaboration works to develop science-based tools to enable climate-informed decisions that help mitigate the adverse impacts of weather extremes on natural resources in the region.

The K-State/USDA Climate Hub collaboration is an effort to develop and deliver science-based, region-specific information and technologies to agricultural and natural resource managers that enable climate-informed decision-making.

"I want my position studying greenhouse gas emissions in grazing grasslands to lead to the understanding of which agricultural productive strategies are better to adopt climatic management," Maria said.

KCARE's Mission

Agriculture is interwoven through nearly every aspect of life in the state of Kansas. Drive down any highway, and you’ll see farms or ranchland: after all, nearly 90 percent of all the land in the state is agricultural. Most of this acreage is family farms and ranches, with traditions stretching back through the generations. But the future of farming is changing, whether it’s tilling techniques, water management, or the weather. With this in mind, the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE) has a mission to develop and deliver knowledge that helps Kansans balance the utilization of our state’s natural resources with the protection of those resources.

Kansas State University established KCARE to coordinate and enhance research, extension, and teaching activities pertaining to environmental issues related to agriculture. Our projects examine water management issues, water quality, prairie ecosystem maintenance, fertilizer research, and the effects of climate change on beef cattle production in the Southern Great Plains.

KCARE forges partnerships between K-State scientists and other research institutions to create quality solutions for the environmental issues our state faces now and into the future. Our projects examine current issues and create new innovations to offset the changing landscape; together, we can help Kansas agriculture remain successful and sustainable.

“Water is very dynamic and continues to amaze and surprise me and changes daily as we’ve seen with all the storms this spring/summer in the watersheds. It is something we’ve all taken for granted at one time or another, but it is truly a natural resource  we should appreciate and be thankful for daily. My hope is that as a Watershed Specialist, I am able to provide a mechanism to encourage change in the landscape with the installation of more best management practices, daily habit change and just a greater education and awareness of water quality and how everyone can do their part to protect it.”

– Stacie Minson, Watershed Specialist