Suat Irmak earns Young Ag Extension Worker award


The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has named Suat Irmak, associate professor in the biological systems engineering department and UNL Extension water resources engineer, winner of the 2010 Young Extension Worker Award.

The award, presented June 23 at the 2010 ASABE Annual International Meeting in Pittsburgh, Penn., honors an individual under the age of 40 who has demonstrated outstanding success in motivating others to acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding to improve agricultural operations.

Irmak was selected for the award in recognition of his exemplary leadership in soil and water resource engineering through research, extension education and outreach programs. Irmak is a highly respected national leader on water management and irrigation technology.

In addition to this award, Irmak also received the ASABE Young Researcher Award in 2008, the only person to ever receive both awards.

Since 1997, Irmak has established high-quality research field projects that address water resources and crop production issues. His programs have enhanced the economic well-being of growers through increased efficiency of water use and crop production. He established state-of-the-art research and demonstration projects with the installation of two subsurface drip irrigation systems and a center pivot system at the UNL South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center, to research hydraulics and dynamics of irrigation and fertigation, and best management practices for water and nutrients for production of row crops.

One of Irmak's biggest successes has been the introduction and promotion of newer tools and technologies to conserve water and reduce energy consumption. He led a team effort in the establishment of the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Demonstration Network, designed to create an environment for communication and information exchange between growers, academics, USDA-NRCS, extension educators and specialists, irrigation districts and natural resources districts. The network currently has 320 grower-collaborators and plays a crucial role in bringing together a variety of institutions to address water resources issues.

He took a leadership role in evapotranspiration measurement networks through the establishment of the Nebraska Water and Energy Flux Measurement, Modeling and Research Network, a project that is providing extensive supportive data on plant physiology, soil characteristics, soil water content and surface characteristics in the broad spectrum of agro-ecosystems.

Irmak has authored or coauthored more than 115 refereed-journal articles, conference proceedings, peer reviewed extension publications and popular magazine articles, as well as a book. He has also made 200 presentations.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems.

- Sandi Karstens, IANR News

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