Home   Ag Industry News

Securing America's grain bins from extreme weather


Rural America's grain bins, crucial yet vulnerable, are the focus of a new research initiative by University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Christine Wittich. Armed with a $615,387 grant from the National Science Foundation, Wittich aims to bolster these essential structures against natural disasters such as earthquakes and wind storms.

The importance of grain bins extends beyond mere storage; they are integral to the nation’s food supply and agricultural economy. Traditionally designed for internal pressure, their weakness against external natural forces became evident after the 2020 derecho in Iowa, which caused catastrophic damage and economic losses.

Wittich's research methodology combines cutting-edge numerical models with practical experiments. This includes testing grain bins in high-wind scenarios at the Wall of Wind facility in Florida and simulating earthquake effects in Nebraska’s Scott Engineering Center. These experiments are critical in developing new standards that could transform how grain bins are constructed.

Wittich is deeply committed to educational outreach. Her project includes engaging middle and high school students from rural areas, introducing them to structural engineering principles and potential career paths within their communities. This effort aims to reduce the disparity in engineering education between urban and rural students and inspire future generations to contribute to their community’s resilience.

By addressing both the physical and educational aspects of rural engineering, Wittich’s work not only seeks to protect agricultural infrastructure but also to empower rural communities, ensuring they are better equipped to face the challenges of natural disasters.

Trending Video

Livestock Marketing

Video: Livestock Marketing

Derrell Peel, OSU Extension livestock marketing specialist, says beef prices are likely to remain high for consumers.


Your email address will not be published