Each year, we receive funding from the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Agricultural Research Division for graduate research assistantships. These are not tied to a specific research project but support the research needs of the department and institute. There is no separate application for assistantships and applicants do not need to contact a faculty member to be considered.

Assistantships include a competitive stipend, plus tuition waiver and the majority of health insurance costs.

Faculty often have grants or other funding to support graduate students.

The assistantships below describe some of our recent opportunities. We are still in the process of determining funding opportunities for 2020-2021.

Agricultural Banking


Research topic areas may include:
  • Farm appraisal
  • Bank stress testing/CECL
  • Credit risk measurement
  • Risk management/insurance

Opportunities exist to leverage the department’s close relationships with the Nebraska Bankers Association and Farm Credit Services of America. 

Beef Production Systems and Risk Management

M.S. or Ph.D.

Specific research topics may include:

  • Agent-based simulation modeling of integrated crop-livestock production systems
  • Transformative management of manure and cedar mulch on cropland
  • Comprehensive risk management for crop-livestock farms
  • Efficient use of forage resources in beef production systems
  • Effective marketing plans for livestock and/or crop operations

Opportunities exist to leverage relationships within the Beef Systems Initiative with the Department of Animal Science, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, Center for Grassland Studies, USDA-USMARC, and USDA-ARS. A dual M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics and Animal Science is also available. 

Commodity Marketing


The research assistant will collect data on commodity markets and conduct statistical analysis, typically involving time series.
Applicants with experience in working with data and familiarity with Excel and statistical software, specifically R and/or Eviews, are preferred.
The department is home to a one-of-a-kind commodity trading room that provides real-time access to commodity markets and commodity trading software. Close relationships with industry provide additional opportunities. 



Possible research topics include:
  • Rural cooperative management
  • Rural banking
  • Food supply chain management
Opportunities exist to leverage the department’s close relationships with the Nebraska Cooperative Council and its members. Nebraska is home to multimillion-dollar farmer-owned cooperatives and regional cooperatives which provide unique opportunities for research. 

Risk Management


Possible research topics include:

  • Using futures markets to manage risk
  • Using crop insurance to manage risk
  • Evaluating the role of market forces (yield risk) in decision making under risk

Water Economics

M.S. or Ph.D.

Research topic areas may include:

  • The impact analysis of agricultural policies (ex. crop insurance) on irrigation
  • Econometric analysis of real-time irrigation decision making
  • Climate change impacts on groundwater availability
  • Economic and hydrological trade-offs of groundwater market designs

Opportunities exist to leverage close relationships with the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, which plays a leading role in water research globally.