Nitrogen Summit Event Speakers – listed in order of appearance

Speakers are Listed in Order of Appearance:

Kathryn VandenBosch

UW Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Dean and Director

Dean Kate VandenBoschKathryn VandenBosch became dean of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in March 2012. Prior to that, VandenBosch was a professor of plant biology at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. In 2001 she became head of the plant biology department there, but took a brief hiatus in 2006 to serve as interim dean of the newly formed College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. She also served as a member and former chair of the executive committees of both the Faculty Senate and the University Senate.
VandenBosch’s research focused on the genetics of plant-microbe interactions and nitrogen fixation in legumes, a family that includes several agriculturally important species. In 2009 VandenBosch was named a fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists.
Prior to her tenure at the University of Minnesota, VandenBosch was a faculty member at Texas A&M University for 12 years. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in botany from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and spent time at both UW-Madison and the John Innes Institute in Great Britain as a postdoctoral associate.

Related web links:
CALS Strategic Planning Themes:
CALS 125th Anniversary Recognition:

Gyles Randall


Gyles RandallGyles W. Randall is Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center.
A native of Wanamingo, Minnesota, Randall earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota and Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin.
His research interests lie in soil fertility, tillage, cropping systems, and environmental quality as they relate to crop production. Specific research has centered on improved nutrient efficiency and management of fertilizers and animal manures in the development of best management practices (BMPs) to limit losses of nutrients to subsurface, tile drainage water.

Panel Presentation – Nitrogen in Wisconsin’s Environment

Jim Baumann

Jim Baumann has worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on nutrient related water quality issues for more than 37 years.   He has a M.S. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering; both from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  In recent years, he has coordinated the development of phosphorus water quality standards criteria, administrative rules relating to phosphorus effluent limits for point sources and Wisconsin’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Dale Robertson


Dale RobertsonDale Robertson is a Research Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Water Science Center, in Middleton. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Oceanography and Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His current research deals with estimating loads and concentrations of nutrients and sediment in streams over large geographic areas, such as the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins, developing nutrient criteria for streams and rivers, and modeling eutrophication and mixing in lakes.
Additional Resources:

Matt Diebel

diebelMatt Diebel is an aquatic ecologist at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He received his M.S and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.  He has been working on water quality and watershed management issues in Wisconsin for 14 years. His current research is focused on understanding the effects of road crossings, flow reductions, and nitrogen on stream fish communities, and on targeting phosphorus management in agricultural watersheds.
Additional Resources :
• David L. Lorenz, Dale M. Robertson, David W. Hall, and David A. Saad. Trends in Streamflow and Nutrient and Suspended-Sediment Concentrations and Loads in the Upper Mississippi, Ohio, Red, and Great Lakes River Basins, 1975–2004.

Jill Jonas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJill Jonas directs Wisconsin’s Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater.  The bureau implements both the Public and Private Drinking Water Programs along with the Groundwater and Water Use Programs.  Jonas presently chairs on the National Drinking Water Advisory Council and serves on the Great Lakes-Upper Mississippi River Board of State and Provincial Public Health and Environmental Administrators.  She has served as president of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators and co-chaired the Conservation Committee of State and Provincial representatives for the Council of Great Lakes Governors’ Water Conservation and Efficiency Initiative.

More Resources:
Groundwater Coordinating Council’s 2013 Annual Report to the WI State Legislature
Nitrate in WI drinking water
A consolidated set of descriptions and links to on-line databases and other sources of groundwater and well data, are available by pressing the “Look Up” button at

Dr. Roy Irving, DHS

Dr. Irving is a toxicologist in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and is responsible for coordinating many of the department’s activities on drinking water and groundwater issues that affect public health. He received his Ph.D. from the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a liaison to other Wisconsin state and local public health agencies, providing human health risk assessments and toxicological reviews on these issues. Dr. Irving also serves as an informational resource for the Wisconsin public to help them make well-informed decisions about their drinking water.

Additional Resources:
• Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. (2011). ToxFAQs for nitrates and nitrites.
• Brender JD, Weyer PJ, Romitti PA, et al. (2013). Prenatal nitrate intake from drinking water and selected birth defects in offspring of participants in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Environ. Health Perspect. 121(9): 1083-9.
• Knobeloch L, Salna B, Hogan A, Postle J, and Anderson H. (2000). Blue babies and nitrate-contaminated well water. Environ. Health Perspect. 108(7): 675-8
• Manassaram DM, Backer LC, and Moll DM. (2006). A review of nitrates in drinking water: maternal exposure and adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes. Environ. Health Perspect. 114(3): 320-7.
• World Health Organization. (2011). Chemical hazards in drinking-water: nitrate and nitrite.

 David Panofsky, DNR

David is an engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since 1990, after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a Bachelor’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He shares his responsibilities at DNR between the air management and the hazardous waste programs. During 2010, David worked closely with members of the Agricultural Waste Beneficial Management Practices Advisory Group and co-authored their final work product. He has been a professional engineer since March 2004.

Dr. Mark Powell


PowellMark’s research focus relates to nutrient cycling and environmental impacts of animal agriculture, with a current focus on nitrogen use, climate change and dairy production systems.He obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Crop and Soil Sciences from Clemson University, Cornell University and Texas A&M University.
Before coming to Madison (20 years ago) Mark lived and worked for about 15 years in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger). Mark was recently recognized as a Distinguished Expert by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on issues related to animal agriculture and the environment. He continues collaborative research in many international settings.

Dr. Carrie Laboski


laboski_mdDr. Laboski was raised on her family’s farm in Lake Winola, Pennsylvania, which resides in the heart of the Endless Mountains. She earned a B.S. in Soil Science from Penn State University and went on to earn both a M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Soil Science from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Laboski was on the faculty of Michigan State University for three years before joining the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004.
Sustaining agricultural production and environmental quality is the mission of Dr. Laboski’s research and extension program. Her specific research includes projects, which elucidate the biogeochemistry and subsequent best management practices for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers and animal manures; soil fertility issues related to lime, secondary, and micronutrients; and evaluation of soil and plant diagnostic tests. Extension activities include the development of tools to assist producers, ag professionals, and regulatory agencies in making decisions that help sustain economically and environmentally sound production of grain and forage crops in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest.

Dr. John Lawrence


John serves as the Associate Dean and Director for Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension at Iowa State University.  In this position he leads the extension and outreach programs to farmers, agribusiness and natural resource managers in the state of Iowa.  John coordinated the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Science Assessment Team that developed the research-based relationships between non-point practices and load reductions.
John has been at ISU since 1991.  He is an Iowa farm boy with two degrees for Iowa State and one from the University of Missouri. In 2009 he was named by Iowa Farm Today magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in Iowa Agriculture over the past 25 years, 1984-2009.

 Jimmy Bramblett

Jimmy BramblettJimmy Bramblett is the State Conservationist for NRCS-Wisconsin.

Secretary Ben Brancel

BenBrancel_4x5_4cBen Brancel is the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection or DATCP. The mission of DATCP is to serve Wisconsin by assuring food safety, fair business practices, consumer protection, healthy animals and plants, efficient use of agricultural resources, and vitality of Wisconsin agriculture and commerce.
Brancel previously served as the DATCP Secretary under Governor Tommy G. Thompson. He lives on his family’s farm in Marquette County, which is now owned by his son and daughter-in-law, Tod and Sondra, the sixth consecutive generation to farm the land. Brancel has served in the Wisconsin Assembly, been the Wisconsin state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency, and has served as the state relations liaison for UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Ken Johnson

JohnsonphotoKen, was born and raised in Green Bay and is a life long resident of Wisconsin. He started college at UWGB and after transferring to UW Madison achieved a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering 1975. He has worked for the Illinois Division of Water Resources and Mead and Hunt Consulting Engineers but most of his professional work experience is with the Department of Natural Resources. Ken started his employment with the Department in 1977 working as an engineer in the Drinking and Ground Water Program in the Lake Michigan District. He also worked as an engineer in the Water Regulation and Zoning Program and an Assistant Chief with the Water Regulation Section for ten years. From 1996 until 2005, Ken was the Lower Rock River Basin Supervisor working out of the SCR. In 2005, Ken was appointed to the South Central Region Water Leader Position.

Dave Pfeifer, EPA

Dave has worked at USEPA since 1989, currently as Chief of the Water Quality Standards Section at the Region 5 office in Chicago, IL. Dave’s section includes responsibility for nutrient criteria. Dave completed his undergraduate studies at Beloit College.

Jim VandenBrook, WLWCA

As the executive director of the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association (WLWCA), Jim represents county land conservation departments and their land conservation committee supervisors; conservation departments work directly with producers to implement conservation practices including nutrient management. Before coming to WLWCA in 2012, Jim worked for 26 years for Wisconsin DATCP on soil and water conservation, pesticide management, and development of rules including the adoption of state standards for nutrient management. Jim skied his 31st Birkebeiner in February and finds skiing marathons less challenging than nitrogen management!

Dr. Ken Genskow


Ken GenkowKen holds a joint appointment with UW-Extension, where he serves as a specialist on water resource and directs UW-Extension’s Regional Natural Resources Program. Ken is also affiliated with the UW-Madison/UW-Extension Environmental Resources Center, The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Agro-ecology program.
Ken has served as the leader of this Nitrogen Science Summit and Roundtable series.

Amber Radatz

AMR agriviewAmber Radatz is a Co-Director for the University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms Program, a grower-led on farm research program. Amber develops and presents educational programming from data collected through Discovery Farms’ and Watersheds’ water quality research and works closely with Wisconsin’s agricultural community to direct research projects that address priorities for water quality and agriculture.
She received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Soil Science from UW-Madison. Amber grew up in Trempealeau County, WI on her family’s dairy farm, and currently lives there with her husband and son. She became Co-Director of Discovery Farms alongside Eric Cooley in 2013.

Todd Schaumberg

Todd Shaumberg
Todd Schaumberg is an Independent Crop Consultant and Owner in Polenske Agronomic Consulting in Appleton, WI.  Todd’s responsibilities include writing nutrient and pest management plans, CNMP planning, GPS soil sampling, variable rate technology maps, fertility management and crop scouting for his farm clientele.  He earned his bachelor of science degree in Agronomy UW- Madison.

 Dr. Matt Ruark


ruarkMatthew Ruark is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where he specializes in nutrient cycling and agroecosystems research.  Specific areas of research in the Ruark lab include nutrient cycling in vegetable and field crop systems, water quality, organic agriculture management strategies, and nutrient cycling in grass-based biofuel systems.  Dr. Ruark’s extension activities emphasize soil and nutrient management education.

 Pat Murphy


Pat MurphyAs a Wisconsin NRCS State Resource Conservationist, Pat Murphy is responsible for conservation planning and resource assessment activities within Wisconsin NRCS. He holds a BS in Soil Science from UW Stevens Point and hails from Franklin, WI.

 Dr. Paul Mitchell


Mitchell 2012Paul Mitchell’s research program focuses on the economics of crop production, emphasizing pest management and risk management for commodity crops and specialty crops.  His work concerning risk management has focused on crop insurance and federal commodity programs to manage farm income risk, as well as farmer attitudes and beliefs regarding climate change and their likely responses. His current projects include improving conventional potato breeding to reduce acrylamide, developing sustainability metrics for grower groups to document their current sustainability status and to develop a plan for improving, and economic analysis of the benefits of methods to address citrus greening (Huanglongbing disease) in the U.S.
He is actively involved with the National Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture, a member of the Advisory Committee for the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Research Program, Co-Director of the Nutrient and Pest Management Program in the University of Wisconsin Extension, and an InSTePP Fellow at the University of Minnesota . He also maintains an active outreach program as an Extension state specialist in crop production and environmental management.