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Laura Gentry

Director of Water Quality Research, IL Corn Growers Association

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of IL Urbana-Champaign

How I work with Harvest

My work with Harvest is related to developing or improving tools and technologies for farmer use. The kinds of tools that we are most interested in developing include those that allow us to more quickly identify and address crop issues, target solutions, and increase use efficiency of agrichemicals and fertilizers.  IL Corn is also interested in creating analyses and resources to reduce risks when adopting or scaling up adoption of conservation practices on new farm acres. Finally, we are working towards creating more accurate estimates of land use change and water quality concerns. 


Dr. Gentry has served as Director of Water Quality Research for the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Illinois Corn Marketing Board since 2014. She also maintains an adjunct faculty position in the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She received her Ph.D. in Soil Science from N.C. State University in 2005. From 2006-2010, she was an assistant professor of soil science at North Dakota State University. She conducted research investigating reduced tillage systems, cover crops, soil fertility, soil biology, crop rotations, and crop residue management in sugarbeet, wheat, corn, and soybean production systems. From 2010-2013, she was a research assistant professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at UIUC studying sustainability of high-yielding corn environments.

Dr. Gentry’s current research interests revolve around nutrient management and related water quality and soil health issues in tiled-drained corn production environments. Dr. Gentry established a farmer service program called Precision Conservation Management (PCM) that assists farmers with adopting conservation practices with a focus on the financial impacts of new practices on farm incomes. Using aggregated, anonymized PCM data, she analyzes financial and environmental impacts of conservation practice adoption. Dr. Gentry also established and manages a 160-acre field laboratory to monitor nutrient losses from tile-drained corn/soybean fields under various agronomic management scenarios. Working with other faculty at UIUC, Dr. Gentry has published numerous extension articles and presented her findings at industry and academic events across the country.

Laura Gentry