Dylan Schoemaker, graduate research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has studied the response of maize hybrids across environments as part of the Genomes To Fields Initiative, which the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) funds. Aside from his studies, Dylan was a part of the NCGA Research Ambassador program where he found value in forming scientist-grower relationships to help bring attention to issues like food security and climate change.
Dylan’s research looks at understanding how corn responds to different environmental conditions and uses that information to predict hybrid performance in new environments. His research works to quantify these effects on genomes.
“My research strives to understand what components of the environment—such as rainfall, temperate, and soil moisture—can be incorporated into statistical models to predict hybrid performance across diverse environmental conditions,” explains Dylan.
Furthermore, Dylan’s work strives to understand the relationship between inbred ear, kernel and cob architecture and hybrid grain yield. Using these traits, Dylan hopes to better predict corn performance.
Looking back on his time as an NCGA Research Ambassador, Dylan found a new value in bringing scientists and producers together to continue improving corn production. More specifically, he shared the importance each sector has on each other to see tangible progress.
“As a graduate student, I am constantly caught up in the very small details on my work, making it easy to forget about the largest overall picture: helping improve the lives of producers and consumers,” shares Dylan, acknowledging the fact that this program has given him the opportunity to refocus his research and rejuvenate his passion for the industry.
Dylan earned his Bachelor of Science in Plant Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. While there, he was actively involved in the school’s agriculture department by serving as a student representative through the organization Ag Advocates, which allowed him to recruit potential ag students as well as lead a community outreach day focused on the role of agriculture in everyday life. Dylan was able to carry on his leadership abilities to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was elected the Agronomy Student Representative for the Plant Science Graduate Student Council.
The NCGA Research Ambassador program was developed by the Sustainable Ag Research Action Team and supported by Valent. The program is designed to create a network of young leaders passionate about the agriculture industry. Participants are given the opportunity to interact with corn growers, participate in Capitol Hill visits, attend NCGA meetings and connect their lab to the farm.