Nebraska has a rich heritage in its grasslands, which comprises over 60% of the state's land mass. These grasslands serve as the basis for a strong cattle industry, vital wildlife habitate, a natural resource for maintaining surface and ground water quality, a source for sports and leisure recreation, and an influence on urban quality of life.

In addition, the University of Nebraska has a history of excellence in grassland research and education. Faculty, dispersed among many discipline-based units in the university system, provide nationally recognized leadership in the development of forage, range, and turf grasses. Their work emphasized the importance of having a grassland center for drawing together faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln whose primary research and educational efforts were on some aspect of grasslands.

It is from this heritage, research, and education that the Center for Grassland Studies came into existence at the university within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1994.

Dr. Martin Massengale, President Emeritus of the University of Nebraska and a Foundation Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, was appointed as Founding Director for the Center until his retirement in January 2017. Dr. Steven Waller, Dean Emeritus of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, now serves as the Interim Director for the Center.

The University of Nebraska's History in Grassland and Rangeland

The University of Nebraska has had a pivotal role in grassland and rangeland history, not only within the state, but across the country. Charles Bessey, Fredric Clements, J.E. Weaver, and Arthur Sampson forged new pathways and left their marks within the field. To learn more about their impact, click on, University of Nebraska: A Prairie University and its Impact on Range and Forage Science. Photo: University Hall, 1872.