Derek Heeren, Ph.D., P.E.

Associate Professor and Irrigation Engineer
Water for Food Global Institute Faculty Fellow

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Biosystems Engineering, Oklahoma State University, 2012
  • M.S., Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, South Dakota State University, 2008
  • B.S., Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, South Dakota State University, 2004
  • Licensed Professional Engineer, State of Oklahoma

New Textbook: Irrigation Systems Management

More information:


  • 58% Research
  • 40% Teaching
  • 2% Service

Curriculum Vitae (CV):

Areas of Research and Professional Interest

Research Interests:

  • Irrigation engineering and management
  • Sprinkler and variable rate irrigation systems
  • Irrigation management based on remote sensing
  • Nitrate leaching to groundwater
  • International irrigation development

Teaching Interests:

  • Mechanized systems management
  • Irrigation systems management
  • Agricultural engineering
  • Irrigation and water resources engineering

Research Profiles:

Courses Taught

About Derek Heeren

The overarching objective of Dr. Heeren's research program is to enhance both the sustainability and the profitability of agricultural production in Nebraska and the Great Plains. The objective of his teaching program is to prepare students to be wise managers of irrigation, water resources, and agricultural systems. He teaches courses in mechanized systems mangaement and agricultural engineering, advises undergraduate and graduate students, and is coadvisor for the Mechanized Systems Management Club. Students working with Derek get hands-on experience with irrigation technology while working with industry partners. Derek recently published a textbook on Irrigation Systems Management, available at He also has various leadership roles in ASABE and is the coordinator for the partnership between the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI) and the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands. Before starting graduate school, Derek spent two years working at a civil engineering firm in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. He grew up on a farm in southeastern South Dakota and developed an interest in conserving natural resources while participating in FFA land judging and natural resources competitions. He is married to Amber and has four children (ages 11 to 17).

Honors and Awards

  • A. W. Farrall Young Educator Award. 2018. Amercian Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award. 2017. Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, South Dakota State University.
  • ASABE Superior Paper Award. 2016. For the refereed journal article: Heeren, D. M., G. A. Fox, and D. E. Storm. Heterogeneity of infiltration rates in alluvial floodplains as measured with a berm infiltration technique.

Selected Publications

Selected Journal Articles: