Kansas leads most of the nation when it comes to agriculture, and it’s a tradition that has existed since before the Sunflower State joined the Union. Over the course of time, much about farming has changed in each of Kansas’ 105 counties – from crop rotations to farm equipment to irrigation technologies. Dr. Jonathan Aguilar is one of the researchers from Kansas State University helping farmers use the latest innovations to improve their harvest.
Dr. Aguilar hails from the Philippines, where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB). While there, his studies focused on land and water resources as it pertained to irrigated agriculture and environmental stewardship. After graduating, he continued to work at the university as a researcher, as well as taking on several water resource-related projects with the UPLB Foundation, the Philippine Department of Agriculture, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Dr. Aguilar came to K-State to pursue his doctoral degree in biological and agricultural engineering and graduated in 2009. He joined the faculty here in 2012.
Now an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Dr. Aguilar works as an extension water resource engineer at the Southwest Research Extension Center in Garden City. Dr. Aguilar uses his expertise in water research issues to help improve irrigation efficiency and reduce water consumption on Kansas farms, especially those in central and western Kansas.
His research includes projects on irrigation technologies such as Mobile Drip Irrigation (MDI), subsurface drip irrigation (SDI), soil and plant water status sensors, and a new multi-year crop water allocation tool. Dr. Aguilar works hand-in-hand with producers to test these, and other, tools on Water Technology Farms across the state, so landowners and growers can see first-hand how these water-saving techniques can affect their crops – and communities – for the better. Dr. Aguilar also researches the impact of poor water quality on plant growth, development, and yield in central and western Kansas.