Bob Nielsen is Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University, where he has served as the Extension Corn Specialist for almost 28 years. A native of southeast Nebraska near Springfield, Nielsen graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1977 with a B.S. in Agronomy. He earned both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Breeding at the University of Minnesota in 1980 and 1982, respectively.
Nielsen’s primary responsibility at Purdue is the transfer of corn production information to Indiana agricultural clientele. Since 1983 he has taught in over 1200 Extension programs reaching 141,000 individuals in Indiana, the U.S. and other countries. Nielsen has been an innovator in adopting new technologies, including the internet, for teaching and disseminating information. His KingCorn website had 377,000 page accesses in 2007. At KingCorn’s Chat ‘n Chew Café, Nielsen links to current information about corn production from around the country. The Café had 113,000 page accesses in 2007. Nielsen was a member of the team that established Purdue’s Diagnostic Training Center, and has been a program participant ever since. He is particularly skilled at creating field plot examples of the problems he wants to teach clients to recognize and manage. His current research projects focus on nitrogen management and use of foliar fungicides. In addition to his own research, Nielsen is a frequent collaborator on corn research and extension projects across several College of Agriculture departments. He is a major contributor to Purdue’s popular Corn & Soybean Guide and the Purdue Crop Cost & Return Guide. Since 1983 he has authored more than 380 hardcopy newsletters and more than 400 on-line newsletter articles since 1995. He has been featured in more than 500 news releases and farm magazine articles and has participated in more than 150 radio and television interviews. He is a skilled photographer as well, and many of his publications use his own photographs as illustrations. Known as both an effective speaker and presenter and a prolific writer, Nielsen is a model extension specialist to his peers. To many Indiana producers, his truck’s license plate says it best: Nielsen is simply the “Corn Guy.”
Nielsen’s professional memberships include: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists Association (PUCESA), Alpha Zeta and Gamma Sigma Delta. He is also a member of the Indiana and national corn and soybean growers’ associations. At Purdue, he serves on the Indiana Crop Improvement Association Seed and Grain Committee, and the Biweekly Crops and Weather Group. He is a member of the advisory committee for both the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory and the Agronomy Research Center. He also serves on the Agronomy department’s Beck Ag Center Committee and the Agronomy Web Advisory Committee.
An active member of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Nielsen has served as a member of the Finance Committee for the past 23 years, providing leadership as Treasurer (1986-91) and as Building Fund Treasurer (1992-2009). He served on the Purdue Lutheran Ministry Board from 1995-97. He has also served Harrison High School sports program as a photographer for Girls’ Soccer (2004-07) and Boys’ Tennis (2006-09).
Nielsen’s many honors include: USDA Unit Award for Superior Service (1989, for responding to the 1988 drought); Team Award (1993) and International Service Award (1997), Epsilon Sigma Phi; Eric G. Sharvelle Distinguished Extension Specialist Award, Purdue University (1999); Crops and Soils Merit Award, Indiana Crop Improvement Association (2001); Purdue Extension Team Award (2006); and Entomology Educational Project Award, Board Certified Entomologists of Mid-America (2007). He has received several citations from the American Society of Agronomy, including: the Werner L. Nelson Award (1995), Extension Educational Materials Award (1998); Division A-7 Innovator Award (2005); Educational Materials Certificate of Excellence (2006); and Agronomic Extension Award (2009).