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American Society of Agronomy awards NMSU turfgrass expert

Bernd Leinauer, professor and Extension turfgrass specialist at New Mexico State University, was nominated and awarded by the American Society of Agronomy as a 2017 Fellow, the highest acknowledgement given in this field.


Man posing in field of grass.
New Mexico State University Extension turfgrass specialist Bernd Leinauer was selected as a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Associates of the group search for and appoint collaborators who hold high standards of achievements and praiseworthy service that benefit the society as a whole. According to the ASA website only 0.3 percent of the members have an opportunity to be elected as a Fellow.

“When I learned that I was to be awarded one of the highest recognitions given out by the American Society of Agronomy, I was surprised, delighted and deeply honored,” said Leinauer about receiving such a significant achievement. “I may be the individual receiving this prestigious award, but my accomplishments are the result of years of dedication and hard work of the entire Turfgrass Team, and they deserve equal credit.”

Leinauer originally attended higher education to become a golf course superintendent or a landscape contractor.

“Over the course of my undergraduate years I became more and more fascinated by the science behind growing plants in general and maintaining turfgrass in particular,” said Leinauer on the beginning of his success story. Later he decided to attend graduate school and focus on studies that fascinated him the most: drought tolerance of turfgrass and how irrigation affects plant stand performance and water use.

As far as becoming an Extension turfgrass specialist in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Leinauer wanted to find solutions on how to maintain turf areas in a manner that could be sustainable.

“I have always enjoyed working with practitioners, growers and turf managers,” Leinauer said. “Therefore, working in Extension combines both professional passions that I have.”

Leinauer received his master’s and Ph.D. from Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, Germany. Authoring over 70 peer-reviewed publications, a chapter of a book, and a book, Leinauer has had significant accomplishments in his life. Documented as an expert in strategies dealing with water management and reducing potable water usage on turfgrass, he holds leadership positions at the state, national and international levels.

Leinauer’s studies deal with cold and salt tolerant turfgrasses, irrigation with salt water, subsurface irrigation, showing of low water use, and enlarging irrigation system efficiency. His success has brought him to also hold a position at Wageningen University, Netherlands, as an endowed turfgrass chair.

The NMSU Turfgrass Team has plans to search for new graduate students who have a passion for turfgrass exploration.

“Securing grants and industry support to maintain our successful research and Extension program,” said Leinauer when asked about some of the goals for the team’s upcoming year.

Leinauer will be awarded a certificate, ASA Fellow pin and a ticket to the awards ceremony held in Tampa, Florida, Oct. 25 at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel.

For more information contact Leinauer at leinauer@nmsu.edu.