Extension educator was plant researcher

The Dawson County Extension Office has added an educator with an extensive farm, biology and research background.

Sarah Schlund is the new crops and water extension educator. Her office is in Lexington, but her accountability region also includes Buffalo and Hall counties.

Schlund grew up on a small row cropping farm in north central Illinois where her family raised corn and soybeans. Due to the high amount of rainfall in a typical growing season, the family farm is not irrigated.

“Irrigation is something that is relatively new to me, but I am eager to learn more about it,” she said.

Schlund was exposed to different parts of agriculture growing up and she was involved in both FFA and 4-H.

“Agriculture has always been a huge part of my life and the experiences I had in 4-H cultivated my interest in Extension,” she said. “I participated in 4-H for 12 years in Illinois, and the diversity of my background can mainly be contributed to those experiences. I participated in events including sewing, baking, cake decorating, crops, welding, small engines and woodworking.”

Schlund completed her bachelor’s degree in biology at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL.

“Agronomy was not an option (at the school), so I was able to direct my areas of focus within biology to plant biology, microbiology, and mycology,” she said.

She had a summer internship for a research and development seed corn company in Princeton, IL, in 2011, which she said encouraged her interest in crop production.

During the summer of 2012, she moved to Nebraska and interned with another seed corn company in York for research and development purposes.

“This was the first time I had ever been outside of Illinois for an extended period of time and had the opportunity to experience Nebraska and its culture,” she said. “The significance of the drought in 2012 also made me realize the importance of irrigation water use efficiency in Nebraska.”

After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2013, Schlund continued her education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, pursuing a master’s degree in plant pathology. As a graduate student, she said her areas of focus included plant pathology, cropping systems, weed science and pesticide applications.

“My research focus was on Goss’s bacterial wilt and leaf blight of corn, which has historical roots in Nebraska,” she said. “In particular, my research was looking at Goss’s wilt development with spray adjuvant use. I had three field locations, including one in Dawson County at the Gothenburg Water Utilization Learning Center, where I was able to conduct my research.”

Schlund started working at the Dawson County Extension Office Feb. 1 and said she is looking forward to meeting people in the community and learning about farmers’ needs in the area.

She can be contacted at the Dawson County Extension Office in Lexington at (308)-324-5501, or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .