Melissa Bartels

Hello everyone! My name is Melissa Bartels and I joined Nebraska Extension as a cropping and water systems educator for Butler and Polk counties late last fall.

My office is in the Butler County Courthouse in David City, I can be reached at 402-367-7410 or by emailing melissa.bartels@unl.edu. Growing up, I was heavily involved in horse 4-H in Lancaster County and continued to volunteer as a 4-H leader and as a judge at area fairs upon graduating from 4-H.

My career path began as an undergraduate with the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s sorghum plant pathology laboratory looking at hybrids with increased resistance to Fusarium that produced mycotoxins. It was fascinating to study the whole system of plants and pathogens. Sometimes they coexist and sometimes the pathogen takes over the plant. It was at this point I realized I wanted to go into plant science.

After graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan with a bachelor's degree in biology. I continued my studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, receiving M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology. My graduate research focused on the evolutionary rate of Wheat streak mosaic virus and Triticum mosaic virus in wheat and closely related hosts. While pursuing my graduate degrees, I worked in the USDA ARS wheat virology lab.

I have worked in the agricultural industry for over 10 years, in Wheat Virology research, Corn Seed production, Vegetable Seed Health testing, and wheat breeding. I am excited to be working with growers in this area and look forward to helping them find research-based answers to their crop production and water management questions.

We have some valuable workshops coming up for producers in the area. Do you rent or lease farmland or pastures? There will be a free Landlord Ternate Workshop held from 9:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25, at the Butler County Events Center at David City Fairgrounds (attendees will be dismissed for lunch on their own). Registration for the meeting is free by calling the Butler County Extension office at 402-367-7410 by Feb. 21. At this workshop, you can learn more about equitable rental rates, lease communications, stocking rates for pastures, proper lease terms, pasture lease provisions and current land values.

Are you getting the most profit from your crops? Another exciting opportunity for the area is a Grain Marking Workshop to help producers build their own marketing plan for next year’s crops. The workshop is being held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5 at the Hruska Memorial Public Library in David City, Nebraska. No registration fee, but preregistration is required by Feb. 22 for meal count by calling the Butler County Extension Office at 402-367-7410 (Workshop limited to 20 participants).

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