eNews March 2023

Rajan Ghimire, Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, Agricultural Science Center

Rajan Ghimire, Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, Agricultural Science Center

By Jeanette Torres, NM WRRI Program Coordinator

Rajan Ghimire is an associate professor for the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department at the Agricultural Science Center for New Mexico State University in Clovis, New Mexico. His research specializes in soil and crop management practices to enhance efficiency, profits, and soil environmental quality. Ghimire is currently mentoring four PhD and three MS students on projects related to soil resilience, water, carbon, and nutrient management in diverse agricultural systems.

Ghimire is actively working on three soil water measuring projects, which involve cover crop impacts on soil water dynamics, water productivity of crop and forage production systems, and links between soil health, soil water, and ecosystem services provided by arid and semi-arid cropping systems. His extensive research in soil-plant-environment interactions allows him to assist farmers in designing farming systems to make them more adaptable. He also actively interacts with policymakers to better inform state and national policy to support producers in water-limited environments. “Soil is the foundation for food production. In New Mexico, water is the lifeline for agriculture. Therefore, I am interested in understanding the nexus of soil health – water dynamics – agricultural and environmental sustainability,” Ghimire states.

Ghimire earned his BS in Agriculture and his MS in Soil Science from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. His PhD in Soil Science was obtained from the University of Wyoming. Ghimire has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and has been a reviewer for over 30 professional journals and editor for three journals since 2015. According to Ghimire, his interest in soil and water management research has come from his upbringing in rural Nepal, where he experienced soil degradation due to water erosion and witnessed many farmers struggling to produce enough nutritious food for their families. The struggle of these individuals impacted him, and he became interested in applied soil science research so that he could help rural communities improve their livelihood, such as those in both New Mexico and Nepal.

Ghimire’s future work involves seeing the completion of his active projects related to soil health and water management and exploring more options to manage soil and water in arid and semi-arid regions. “I have introduced a new approach in soil carbon sequestration and water conservation, i.e., ‘more carbon per drop,’ which involves improving water use and conservation efficiency to enhance C sequestration and climate resilience,” Ghimire mentions. Over the course of these projects, he hopes to develop agricultural best practices for improving agricultural production, increasing water-use efficiency, enhancing carbon sequestration, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. He hopes to also work alongside NM WRRI on projects that improve soil and water management for better agriculture.

For those seeking more information about his research, please see the following links to his featured publications:

  1. A meta-analysis on cover crop impact on soil water storage, succeeding crop yield, and water-use efficiency
  2. Water productivity of forage sorghum in response to winter cover crops in semi-arid irrigated conditions
  3. Cover crop water use and corn silage production in -semi-arid irrigated conditions
  4. More carbon per drop to enhance soil carbon sequestration in water-limited environments