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The explosion of data in recent years has impacted virtually every field of human endeavor. Our ability to effectively harness vast collections of information on our environment—crops, soil, weather, groundwater and more—holds amazing potential to achieve a more water and food secure world.

The immense availability of data at our fingertips, derived from technology ranging from remote sensing to smart mobile devices, combined with innovations in how we use it, is opening up opportunities for enhanced decision-making that will ultimately lead to a more sustainable future. Along with great promise, data presents its share of complex challenges, particularly in low-income countries.

The 2014 Water for Food Global Conference, hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, brought together experts from around the world to explore how the data revolution can help address the pressing need for global water and food security. The conference focused on how data can improve the productivity and sustainability of small and large farmers.


  • The data needs of smallholder farmers and showcase examples where data has been used by and to benefit smallholder farmers
  • Innovations in irrigation data systems
  • Advances in public health with regard to water and food
  • The economic and policy implications of ag water metering
  • How data helps us better understand climate systems
  • How data can be used effectively from field to global scales to help ensure water and food security


  • Welcome event
  • World-renowned plenary speakers
  • Launch of the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas
  • A View from the Field, organized in partnership with the Global Water Initiative and the International Water Management Institute
  • Voices of industry and philanthropy
  • Side events offered by conference partners
  • Evening reception and banquet
  • Global networking opportunities and poster session


The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska has convened the Water for Food Global Conference annually since 2009, bringing together farmers, scientists, policy-makers, students, educators, politicians, conservationists, industry leaders and philanthropists to discuss the global challenge of water and food security.

Generous support for the 2014 conference was provided by the Gates Foundation, Robert. B. Daugherty Charitable Foundation and the University of Nebraska.

7th World Water Forum 2015

The 2014 Water for Food Global Conference is a North American Regional Event for the 7th World Water Forum.