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Derek Heeren’s research helps farmers and other stakeholders grow more food with less water using variable rate irrigation (VRI) management. His activities include analyzing the benefits and economics of VRI, managing for topography with VRI, and using remote sensing and cosmic-ray probes for VRI management. His teaching interests include irrigation systems management, field irrigation methods, vadose zone hydrology modeling, soil conservation and watershed management. His coursework supports the Advanced Water Management for Food Production double-degree master’s program administered jointly by UNL and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands.
Heeren holds a doctorate in biosystems engineering from Oklahoma State University. He earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees in agricultural engineering from South Dakota State University. He also spent two years working at a geotechnical engineering firm in the St. Louis, Mo. area prior to graduate school.
He was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s STAR Graduate Fellowship and recognized as a New Face of Engineering by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.