Iowa State Professors Receive Kolmer Applied Research Award

September 5th, 2018

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented applied research awards to two professors on Sept. 4.

Matt Darr, an agricultural and biosystems engineering professor, and John Sawyer, an agronomy professor, received the Dean Lee R. Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research at the college’s fall convocation.

The Kolmer Award is named for a former college dean and honors faculty or staff who have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of Iowans through the application of their research.

Darr began his career at Iowa State in 2008 and teaches courses related to precision agriculture and machinery electronic systems within both the agricultural and biosystems engineering department and the agricultural systems technology program.

Darr’s research focuses on the use of electronic technology and data analytics to solve applied engineering challenges in agriculture. He manages a team of university professionals who provide leadership in ag machinery topics ranging from precision agriculture, telematics data analytics, unmanned aerial systems and next-generation machinery automation.

Darr earned a bachelor's in food, agricultural and biological engineering from Ohio State University in 2002, a master's degree in biosystems and agricultural engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2004 and a doctorate degree from the Ohio State University in 2007.

Sawyer, who also is a soil fertility extension specialist, has developed an outreach program focused on soil fertility management and is nationally recognized for his research and extension efforts. His extension program involves soil fertility management, efficient crop nutrient utilization and environmentally sound fertilizer and manure systems.

Since his arrival in 1998, Sawyer's educational efforts have focused on helping producers, agronomists and industry leaders better understand soil-nutrient interactions. His research includes fertilizer and limestone needs of crops, manure nutrient utilization, site-specific systems and the impact of soil management and nutrient applications on water quality.

Sawyer earned his bachelor’s in 1977 in soil science from Ohio State and a master’s and doctorate degrees in agronomy from the University of Illinois in 1985 and 1988.


Matt Darr, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, 515-294-8545,
John Sawyer, Agronomy, 515-294-7078,
Barb McBreen, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, 515-294-0707,