Growing Nebraska

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Michael J. Boehm
Michael J. Boehm

Over the past several months I've thought a lot about grit. What is it? How do you find it? How can it affect others?

Perhaps the best way to gain an understanding of grit is to spark up a conversation with passionate Nebraskans, which I've made a habit of doing as I continue to explore this great state. Earlier this year I spent a significant amount of time listening to people in northeast Nebraska. Community members gathered in coffee shops, community centers, pole barns and at county fairs to join candid discussions about real issues such as education, workforce development, water quality, and science and agricultural literacy.

As we engaged in discussions concerning Nebraska's future, it didn't take me long to sense their determination, dedication and work ethic. Their passion for their communities and for being good stewards of our natural resources is palpable. This is a prime example of grit, in my opinion.

The good news is that those of us connected with IANR are in an ideal position to amplify the grit of Nebraskans to address these areas of need. For instance, there are countless ongoing projects within the Institute focused on pressing water topics such as nitrate contamination and irrigation technology, which you will read more about in this issue of Growing.

IANR is not only focused on combatting issues facing our state's citizens, but also seizing opportunities to propel Nebraska forward. We believe that now is Nebraska's time to be a global leader in resilient food animal production, health and well-being. Several advancements in recent months have given us considerable momentum in this endeavor. One example of this momentum is the Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education. Nebraska will help lead this new national institute addressing antimicrobial resistance, which is a tremendous threat to human, animal and environmental well-being. The need to find proactive solutions to slow down the rise of drug resistance is urgent, and the university is ready to take on this mighty task. You can read more about the Antimicrobial Resistance Research effort.

Our vision for a prosperous land will not be achieved overnight, but with the energy from the national center for antimicrobial resistance, the largest enrollment in CASNR history and our extension professionals delivering education in more ways than ever before, it is an ideal time to combine this momentum with the grit of Nebraskans and begin reaching for the glory we deserve.

I ask you to join us as IANR continues to strategize around growing Nebraska. Our upward trajectory depends on Nebraskans' continued partnership, and we need your help – whether that means sending us your ideas, sharing a story you read in this magazine with a friend or colleague, or lifting up your voice in support of an affordable and excellent University of Nebraska. I hope you'll share feedback with me directly at, or visit to learn about how and when you can get engaged as an NU Advocate.

I wish you all health and prosperity and I look forward to seeing you down the road.

Michael J. Boehm, Ph.D.
Vice President, Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Nebraska

IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor,
University of Nebraska–Lincoln