For as long as farmers have been sowing seeds and harvesting crops, they’ve looked for ways to improve yields. “Imagine the look on the farmers’ face when we introduced Roundup. Weeds that had choked their fields literally disappeared. Plants thrived, producing bushels and bushels more per acre,” said Dion McBay, global sustainable lead for Monsanto and keynote speaker at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute’s Research Forum.
On Thursday, April 26, more than 125 students, faculty and interested partners attended DWFI’s annual showcase of research on advancing water and food security. McBay’s opening remarks focused on the need for innovative solutions to advance food production and ensure effective, sustainable water use.
“All of us are working to provide farmers with the tools and technology they need to cultivate our food while preserving the environment,” said McBay. “The research you are doing today will lead to new solutions to help farmers achieve their goals.”
DWFI’s Director of Research Christopher Neale shared the framework of the institute’s research, “Nebraska has a global reputation of excellence in both agriculture and water management.”
The institute focuses on five research areas of expertise to maximize this leadership:
- Closing Water & Agricultural Productivity Gaps;
- Improving Groundwater Management for Agricultural Production;
- Enhancing High-productivity Irrigated Agriculture;
- Supporting Freshwater & Agriculture Ecosystems & Public Health; and
- Managing Agricultural Drought.
“We support over 100 Faculty Fellows across all four NU campuses and the 22 students who are presenting their work today in areas that advance our mission,” Neale said.
Faculty and students shared presentations and answered questions throughout the daylong forum, illustrating the creativity and ingenuity of Nebraska researchers at all levels. From plant genomics to software development; drones to groundwater management policies; and high tech drought monitoring techniques to livestock thermodynamics, the presenters shared a wealth of promising research projects across a wide swath of varied topics.
“I was very impressed with the quality of research our students and faculty are engaged in,” said Peter G. McCornick, DWFI executive director. “It’s inspiring to see the innovative approaches and topics our people are pursuing to solve what is truly one of the most important global issues facing our world.”