close-up of irrigator
BETTER MANAGEMENT: The role of UNL’s water and irrigation management specialist is to find new and improved methods of irrigation to conserve limited water in western Nebraska.

Extension help coming to Panhandle irrigators

Xin Qiao is UNL’s new water and irrigation management specialist.

A new face is coming to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. Jack Whittier, Research and Extension director at PREC, recently announced Xin Qiao will be joining the faculty May 1 as a water and irrigation management specialist.

Qiao will replace Amir Haghverdi, who left for a position in California in 2015.

Qiao will find new methods and improve 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 use to respond to environmental, crop and soil conditions to improve water management and meet regulatory goals. His assignment will be 50% research and 50% 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.

"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," Whittier says. "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."

"There are a lot of advanced concepts and technologies available for irrigation management," Qiao says. "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."

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 finishing a postdoctoral 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 postdoctoral training.

Source: Panhandle Research and Extension Center


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