Craig A Ditzler
For the past six months, ACES Enrollee, Craig Ditzler, has been supporting the National Soil Survey Center (NSSC) in Lincoln, NE as a Soil Specialist for the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Mr. Ditzler spends much of his time creating technical documents - related to the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program - that support the delivery of USDA Farm Bill programs and other technical activities.
Having retired from NRCS in 2010 and after working for 35 years in numerous positions related to the Soil Survey Program, Mr. Ditzler’s last position (2000 to 2010) was as National Leader for Soil Classification and Standards at the NSSC. “As an ACES enrollee, he brings a wealth of knowledge, background and experience and is assisting with projects that are beyond the resources of the current staff. The National Soil Survey Center is most pleased to have Dr. Ditzler assisting us again,” says Jon Hempel, a current monitor for the Nebraska ACES Program.
Most recently, Mr. Ditzler has been assisting the Soil Survey Center with two exciting projects. One is the revision of the 1993 Soil Survey Manual (Agricultural Handbook No. 18) which has become progressively outdated as the science involved in soil survey work has advanced over the last 20 years. When complete, this product will benefit makers and users of soil survey information in and out of NRCS, including professionals in other countries who look to USDA standards for conducting similar projects. The second interesting project involves developing a simplified version of the USDA soil classification system (Soil Taxonomy), which will assist resource professionals, and college students studying soil science, in better understanding and utilizing soil survey information. Both projects have active and cooperating participants from a few of the Land Grant Universities, including Utah State, Kansas State, Louisiana State, New Mexico State, and Virginia Tech.
Mr. Ditzler enjoys the flexibility and engagement of ACES Program because he likes being able to stay connected with former coworkers and it “provides a nice opportunity to work part time in my professional field and help the NRCS to accomplish its mission.” It’s also a great way for him to share his knowledge and experience. He holds a B.S. from the University of Rhode Island, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. Following his retirement and prior to starting in the ACES Program, he worked for an Australian International Development Company (GRM International) managing the field work for a soil survey of five of the Emirates making up the United Arab Emirates. In fact, he and his wife lived in Dubai for about 20 months while working on that project.
Mr. Ditzler and his wife enjoy traveling, both for vacations and to visit their children and grandchildren. He’s an avid reader of both fiction and nonfiction, and enjoys working around the house and yard, as well as biking on the many trails around Lincoln.