As I strolled through Maxwell Arboretum the other day the sun was shining brightly through the towering oak trees and the first flowers were beginning to bloom. All of the sudden it dawned on me — spring has arrived!
It may have been a long winter here in the Midwest, but it was a productive one at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Just like the beauty exposing itself in the Arboretum, I feel IANR is beginning to bloom and show its allure to the world. This can be attributed to our palpable momentum, as evidenced by the great work you can learn about in this issue of Growing. From our efforts to enhance the nutrient levels in crops to creating a space for innovation and creativity in rural communities, the breadth of IANR's work across the state is vast.
All of these incredible efforts have continued to strengthen despite ongoing and difficult discussions concerning our funding. Over the past several months, the University of Nebraska has faced an enormous challenge to close a significant budget gap. It has not been easy, and the budget measures have impacted our people and our communities.
The fiscal challenges facing our state and university are tough, but they pale in comparison to the challenges facing our world. We can't afford to let up in the face of the challenges concerning sustainable food production, environmental stewardship, human nutrition, business development and youth engagement. IANR has a vision for a prosperous land and we refuse to let the budget stand in our way.
Late last year we welcomed over 300 Nebraskans to Lincoln for a daylong "Growing Nebraska" summit. Topics discussed included creating a better quality of life, educating tomorrow's leaders, igniting a passion and feeding a growing world. Provocative speakers and leading researchers motivated participants to join together to find sustainable solutions, while thinking globally and acting locally.
Your passion for your farms and ranches, your children, communities, and economy were evident at the summit, and it's also what drives the roughly 1,900 talented men and women who work at IANR come to work each day. You inspire us to discover and create solutions to your greatest challenges, and we're doing so at unprecedented levels.
With record enrollment, an expanding global presence, increased research expenditures and our unique outreach efforts, IANR is in an ideal position to address the needs discussed at the summit. We have all experienced "The Good Life," but IANR is striving to help you live a better life. Thank you for your continued support of these efforts.
I hope you can all take time to enjoy the beauty that comes with springtime in Nebraska.
Go Big Red!
Michael J. Boehm, Ph.D.
Vice President, Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Nebraska
IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor,
University of Nebraska–Lincoln