Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship - Evaluating the efficiency of grazing
strategies on Nebraska Sandhills rangelands
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, is seeking applications for graduate research assistantship at the Ph.D level. The successful candidate will work on a project evaluating the efficient utilization of perennial grasslands in the Sandhills region of central Nebraska. Funding for this project is part of the UNL Beef Systems Initiative that was developed to evaluate beef production systems that optimize feed resource use, natural resource conservation, and producer success through improved management on perennial grassland and integrated crop/livestock systems. The project will take an on-ranch, case-study approach to evaluate how grazing management strategies that have been in place on working ranches influence harvest efficiency, production per unit area, and rangeland health. The project will have 3 main components, 1) estimate rangeland health, grazing pressure, and aboveground plant and livestock production by collecting plant and animal data on a targeted subset of ranches with a variety of grazing management intensities and strategies, 2) conduct face-to-face interviews with ranchers to determine what influences them in selecting and modifying their grazing management strategies and how that affects their ecological and financial sustainability, and 3) conduct a quantitative survey of ranchers in the Sandhills to document current management practices of ranchers and better understand the variables affecting management decisions made by ranchers. The student will have excellent opportunities to work with other students and research scientists in the areas of grassland ecology, revegetation, animal nutrition, and wildlife management and ecology. Opportunities will be provided to gain teaching experience in rangeland ecology and management, participate in professional scientific societies, and travel to professional meetings. Applicants should have a strong background in grassland ecology, grazing management, and field research and must meet the admission requirements of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.
Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship Stipend:
- $25,980 per year
- A tuition waiver of up to 12 credit hours per semester is provided
- Reduced rate health insurance
Start Date: Jan 1, 2018
Application: Interested applicants should contact Dr. Mitch Stephenson (email@example.com) or Dr. Walt Schacht (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
- M.S. Degree in Range Science, Animal Science, Natural Resources, or a closely related field
- Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Experience collecting rangeland monitoring data and/or rancher interview and survey data
- Excellent written and oral communication skills