Congrats to ARS award winners Ken Albrecht, Scott Chapman and Nancy Esser

2019 ARS Award recipients (left to right) Esser, Albrecht and Chapman at the recognition ceremony.

CALS Agricultural Research Stations recently honored three individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the ARS program at its annual Recognition Awards Reception and Dinner on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

This year’s award recipients include:

  • Kenneth Albrecht (Agronomy) – Recognition Award for Research
  • Scott Chapman (Entomology) – Recognition Award for Service
  • Nancy Esser (Marshfield ARS) – ARS Staff Award

Ken Albrecht, professor of agronomy, joined CALS in 1986 to conduct research and teach in the area of forage crop management and utilization. His research program looks at the influence of management and environmental factors on the growth, development, and quality of crops used for hay, silage, and pastures; as well as the use of perennial legumes in sustainable forage and cropping systems.

Over the years, there have been three main themes to his research: the development of crop/livestock systems that are environmentally sound and profitable; understanding plant factors that affect the nutritive value of forage crops; and managing agricultural systems at the interface with bio-preserves in Latin America.

Albrecht has been an active researcher on many of the Agricultural Research Stations over the years including Arlington, Marshfield, Spooner and Lancaster. He has collaborated with many other university researchers on a wide range of topics including intercropping maize and Kura clover as a sustainable system for feed and biofuel production and pasture-grazing systems. Albrecht’s work has carried through from the planting of the seed to the end utilization of the resulting crops in dairy cows, beef cattle and sheep. He has a strong record of producing helpful publications for growers and producers.

Scott Chapman, a researcher in the Department of Entomology, is directly responsible for and supports many projects in the entomology department. Since joining the department in 2003, Chapman has been lending a hand to others, providing valuable advice and assistance in many ways – often above and beyond his own duties. In one instance, during a dry stretch, he developed a way to irrigate an alfalfa research project in a field where irrigation was not done. Through his efforts, this project was saved, allowing the graduate student to collect data and move forward with the overall research project.

In addition to his own research projects, Chapman has assisted Agricultural Research Station management with insect pest control problems. He plays an important role in CALS/Extension outreach efforts by providing the latest research information during large producer meetings, field day events and training workshops.

Chapman is known for his sincerity and thoughtfulness, and works behind the scenes to oversee and ensure that the work at hand is done to the best of everyone’s abilities, including being the “Go To Guy” for student researchers and summer workers looking for guidance, direction and support.

Nancy Esser, superintendent at the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station (MARS), has worked tirelessly to make MARS a premier destination for CALS researchers, USDA scientists, student learners, and station stakeholders.

Under her leadership, the station successfully rears heifers for the Dairy Science and Prairie du Sac herds. Esser pays close attention to detail – a trait that serves the station well in many ways. The station’s diligent attention to animal care was recently commended by USDA VMOs and AAALAC International. Esser meticulously manages station budgets to ensure all station needs will be met and efficiencies are gleaned when possible. Principal investigators using the MARS research herd consistently rave about the impeccable data collection that is done.

Esser is committed to the station’s mission to expand the knowledge base necessary to improve dairy herd management and dairy herd nutrition through the use of regionally grown forages. And she is eager to share this knowledge with others, embracing the concept of the Wisconsin Idea by developing new partnerships with Mid State Technical College, Central Wisconsin watershed groups, Farm Technology Days, FISC and others.

Esser is known for being open to hearing new and improved ways of doing things, another trait that has contributed to the station’s success.