Solving complex modern irrigation- and water-related problems requires combining the knowledge and expertise of a wide variety of specialists. To aid collaboration in these important areas and make the best use of Nebraska’s research and education expertise, last year the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) developed a new collaboration method: the Water and Integrated Cropping Systems (WICS) hub, with partnership from DWFI and the Nebraska Water Center (NWC). The goal is to increase engagement and impact in Nebraska and stay on the cutting-edge as a premier water and cropping research institution.
This meeting of minds is composed of about 150 faculty, each bringing his or her own knowledge and experience to the table to solve water and cropping problems across the state. The group wants to uncover new ways to spread cutting-edge information about water and cropping systems technology and management.
In October 2020, members of WICS conducted the group’s inaugural meeting virtually; they held a total of three meetings during the fiscal year, with small groups meeting more often. During this initial year, the focus has been on growing the ability to communicate and collaborate across the group. A team collaboration site, directory and map were created to aid group communication.
A second priority has been building the needed expertise on the team. One key skill the team identified was to enhance adult education abilities, leading to a multi-day professional development training so they can better serve those they teach. Another focus has been to fill open positions and adding two new statewide Educators for Precision Agriculture and Manure Management.
In the coming year, the WICS hub plans to meet in person to strengthen communication and collaboration between members. Giving the team opportunities to grow and build upcoming projects will use their combined knowledge to address pressing challenges facing Nebraska agriculture.
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Solving complex modern irrigation- and water-related problems requires combining the knowledge and expertise of a wide variety of specialists.
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