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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Conner M. Johnson

Conner M. Johnson Conner  M. Johnson 

Department of Horticulture and Crop Science 
Sustainable Agriculture
Wauseon, OH 

2023 Distinguished Senior Award Recognition Reception Program (.pdf) 

2023 Distinguished Senior Award Recipient Reception Poster (.pdf) 

A first-generation college student, Conner Johnson began his undergraduate career at Rosedale Bible College in rural central Ohio. He credits his time at Rosedale with teaching him to evaluate arguments and evidence, keep an open mind and heart toward disparate viewpoints, and see difficult tasks through to the end. The experience made him a better scholar, particularly with regards to his research and writing skills, and he felt that his term papers were better when he arrived at CFAES because of his time at Rosedale. Conner reflected, “I grew a lot in character, and I am a much more wise and loving person now than when I started.” The connections he made at Rosedale helped inspire Conner to remain in central Ohio to finish his undergraduate education.

Through his internship at OSU’s Soybean Pathology Lab, Conner has accumulated plenty of practical lab experience and had the opportunity to present his research at a science and technology conference in Saudi Arabia. His research saw Conner growing plantparasitic nematodes on a variety of soybean plants, helping to inoculate farm fields with various fungi, collecting innumerable soil samples, and running experiments in the field and greenhouse to evaluate soybean resistance to different types of soybean cyst nematode.

Conner’s research in Dr. Rattan Lal’s Soil Physics Lab focuses on changes in soil carbon and water-related soil properties relative to various tillage and drainage conditions. He will present his undergraduate thesis this semester.

Conner names Drs. Rattan Lal and Horacio Lopez-Nicora as his mentors. Reflecting on Dr. Lal’s influence, he shared, “I admired his work in international agriculture and climate change, and I knew before I ever met him that this was the kind of work I wanted to do in my own career. When I took both of his classes, I learned a whole lot about soil and climate change, and it sharpened my interest in soil health. Working in the soil physics lab has been a good experience as well, giving me a number of opportunities to hear about other important work in climate change and agriculture, and to meet the people who are making an impact in that all around the globe.” Of Dr. Lopez-Nicora, Conner shared, 
“When I was discouraged with trying to find a research position at OSU, he gave me an opportunity and helped me develop a project to take on and make my own. He has taught me about good science and good research skills and has been really encouraging through all the challenges that entails.”

A husband and father, Conner will have completed the coursework for both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees this spring. His plans for the future revolve around sustainable international agricultural development. He hopes to work directly with farmers in their own local systems to find sustainable solutions for closing the “yield gap.” Connor reflected, “I think the dual challenge of feeding the world sustainably while fighting climate change is about the most important issue humanity as a whole faces in this generation.” In the near term, he is looking at graduate programs, with a strong desire to return to the Middle East for his studies.

Conner Johnson - Press Release