Robert Nielsen just can’t get away from corn. Raised on a farm in Nebraska, he is now one of the Midwest’s foremost experts on corn and plant breeding. A professor of agronomy, Nielsen is also the Extension corn specialist for Indiana. He plays an active role in Purdue’s Crop Diagnostic Training Center, which develops and distributes crop production and diagnostics information across the state and region. He also administers two websites, Chat n’ Chew Café and Kingcorn, which offer resources and advice for regional corn growers. Nielsen’s goal as an Extension educator is to bring the most up-to-date research and resources to in-state corn cultivators.
Nielsen’s current research focuses on how to optimize nitrogen in fertilizers and site-specific crop management tools. One of these tools includes drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Nielsen, along with other Extension educators, is exploring how to utilize UAVs to monitor crop and soil conditions. UAVs have the power to revolutionize farming but without access to high-speed internet, these tools are useless. For that reason, Nielsen is also involved with efforts to bring broadband to rural Indiana, enabling farmers to take full advantage of this revolutionary technology.