Jim Nienhuis has over the last 30 years worked extensively in vegetable production in Central America. His primary focus has been to support and train students from Central America in Horticulture and Plant Breeding and Genetics. His current research is focused on the use of grafting technology to control soil pathogens in tomato, chili pepper and cucurbits. In Wisconsin, Dr. Nienhuis focuses on breeding snap beans for processing and also develops early maturing chili pepper and tomato cultivars adapted to Wisconsin.
The ability of technology to make a difference in farm families and communities motivates Dr. Nienhuis' and his team's work. Their work at the Horticulture Innovation Lab focuses on enhanced vegetable production in Central America - improving incomes and reducing risk for rural producers and providing better nutrition to farm families.
Dr. Nienhuis and his team work in Honduras with Zamorano and the Fundacion Hondurena de Investigacion Agricola, Guatemala with Catholic Relief Services, Nicaragua with the Universidad Nacional Agraria, Managua, and Costa Rica with the Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica, San Carlos, Alajuela. His focus is vegetables of all types, but mostly in tomatoes, chili peppers and squash. He was awarded the Chancellor's award for international Service from the Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica.
He holds a B.S. from the University of Illinois, Champain-Urbana, Agronomy, an M.S. North Carolina State University, Raleigh in Horticulture and Statistics, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in Plant Breeding and Genetics.
Favorite vegetable: Spinach