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South Dakotan Named UNL Block and Bridle Honoree
South Dakota Ag Connection - 03/16/2023

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Animal Science will honor five individuals with awards at its annual Block and Bridle Club and Alumni and Friends Reunion April 22 in the Nebraska East Union’s Great Plains Room.

Ronnie and Jane Green will be recognized as the 2023 Block and Bridle Club honorees, while Cayla Beebe-Iske, Deb Hamernik and Rebecca Bott-Knutson will be honored for their outstanding accomplishments as undergraduate and graduate alumni.

Since 1938, the Block and Bridle Club has recognized individuals who contributed to Nebraska agriculture through leadership, service, youth projects, community activities and involvement with the university. The candidates are nominated by industry leaders and selected by club officers and advisers.

Ronnie Green joins Edgar Burnett (1941) as the second University of Nebraska–Lincoln chancellor to be honored with the award, while Jane Green joins Sallie Atkins (2001) and Anne Marie Bosshammer (2016) as the third woman honored.

Green was raised on a mixed beef, dairy and cropping farm in southwestern Virginia. He received a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University and a doctoral degree in animal breeding and genetics from Nebraska. Jane (Pauley) Green grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm near Harvard, Neb., before enrolling at Nebraska on a Regent’s Scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural honors and master’s degree in agricultural economics from the university.

The Greens have had a tremendous impact on agriculture in Nebraska and beyond. Ronnie served on the animal science faculties at Nebraska, Texas Tech and Colorado State; was the national program leader for animal production research for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service; and is an internationally recognized authority in animal genetics. He also served as executive secretary of the White House’s interagency working group on animal genomics within the National Science and Technology Council.

Jane’s work for Cooperative Extension in the Department of Agricultural Economics during the ag crisis of the 1980s continues to impact farming and ranching operations in Nebraska. She was also a co-founder, with Deb Rood, of the annual Women in Ag Conference, which last year reached 800 Nebraska women producers.

Rebecca Bott-Knutson (Master of Science, 2005), of Brookings, S.D., will be honored with the Graduate of Distinction award. Bott-Knutson came to Nebraska after earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Missouri in 2003. She earned a master’s degree in animal science at Nebraska in 2005 before earning her doctoral degree in biomedical science from Colorado State University in 2009.

Bott-Knutson joined the faculty at South Dakota State University as an assistant professor of animal science and extension equine specialist in 2009 and was promoted to associate professor in 2015. In 2016, she served as interim dean for the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College before being named dean of the Honors College in 2018.

In her current role, Bott-Knutson has strived to define quality and measure the impact of quality honors education through completion of the SDSU Assessment Academy and implementing new student learning outcomes and assessment. She has also engaged faculty from numerous disciplines to create new and innovative multidisciplinary venues for learning within the Honors Colloquium series.

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