Kentucky State University scientist receives 1890s Land-Grant Residency Award

Kentucky State University scientist receives 1890s Land-Grant Residency Award

A Kentucky State University scientist recently received a 1890s Land-Grant Residency Award in soil conservation. 

According to a news release for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Dr. Maheteme Gebremedhin will focus on establishing soil conservation measures that farmers can adapt to their operations during a one-year residency with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as a 2020 awardee of the agency’s 1890 Faculty Research Sabbatical Program. 

According to the release, Gebremedhin is one of eight 1890s award recipients who will participate in the program, which ARS established in 2015 to provide opportunities for tenure- and research-track faculty at historically black land-grant universities to collaborate on research projects at ARS laboratories across the nation.

Gebremedhin conducts research and teaches soil science courses at Kentucky State’s College of Agriculture, Communities, and the Environment. According to the release, starting in September, Gebremedhin will conduct his residency at the ARS Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit in Bowling Green with research leader Karamat Sistani.

The laboratory’s mission includes developing and evaluating management practices and treatment technologies to protect water quality and reduce air emissions, as well as to control pathogens at animal production facilities, manure storage areas and field application sites.

According to the release, Gebremedhin will use his expertise in soil dynamics and the physical, biological and chemical processes by which plants govern the exchange of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide to explore integrated crop- and poultry litter (poultry manure combined with bedding materials) management practices that farmers can use. The data generated also give insights into how the loss of carbon into the atmosphere leads to a decline of soil organic matter and degrades soil structure, with major impacts on crop yield, he added.

Gebremedhin earned a Ph.D. in plant and soil science from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in December 2010 and began his tenure at Kentucky State in September 2014. Gebremedhin has served on the Kentucky State’s Academic Policies Committee in various capacities since 2015 and as a proposal reviewer for USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture, among other professional positions held.

Gebremedhin is a member of the American Meteorological Society, American Society of Agronomy, and Kentucky Academy of Science. He has authored or presented over a dozen papers and talks on his studies and serves as advisor to both graduate and undergraduate students at Kentucky State.  

According to the release, ARS’ six- to 12-month research sabbatical program will fund up to $125,000 to awardees to cover supplies, equipment and other related costs, while another summer research, sabbatical program funds awardees up to $75,000. Those interested in applying for the 2021 program should email: or visit the website for more information.