As the world navigated its way out of the fog of COVID-19, over the past year the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI) at the University of Nebraska ratcheted up our collaborative efforts to work toward a more water and food secure future.
We had maintained progress during the pandemic through virtual forums and remote meetings, but with the return of in-person field visits, meetings, conference and other events locally and around the overseas, we have seen a considerable increase in momentum in existing and new activities. DWFI has had a seat at the global table with important and diverse partners, pursuing exciting new technology and improving best practices in effective agricultural water management, enhancing yields while also protecting our vital water resources.
As you’ll see in this year’s annual report, the institute has made great strides in several areas, including research innovation, entrepreneurship, student involvement, faculty development and knowledge-sharing. Highlights include:
- Publishing a new report analyzing various business ecosystems for smallholder irrigation in Rwanda – what works, what doesn’t and what more is needed to support young entrepreneurs and farmers.
- Continuing development and increasing application of our suite of tools to improve irrigation water use and agricultural productivity, such as computer models and programs that analyze current and historical data to help water managers and producers make informed decisions.
- Sharing Nebraska’s diverse and localized policies for groundwater markets and transfers so that Nebraskans, as well as others throughout the country and the world, can see how these programs could benefit their own areas.
- Researching solutions and fostering communication regarding the AltEn environmental crisis in Mead, Nebraska. While long-term solutions are still in development, the lessons learned have helped the Mead community heal and will benefit other communities dealing with similar challenges.
- Collaborating to develop new methods for controlling nitrate leaching in agriculture. From innovative nitrate measurement tools to exploring the benefits of cover crops, we’re working to protect our groundwater and soil quality.
These accomplishments, which are just a sampling of DWFI’s actions in the past year, reflect the valuable thought leadership of our board of directors and the tireless focus of our staff, faculty and students, as well as the support and input from our partners across Nebraska, the U.S. and the world.
The programs and achievements described in this year’s annual report illustrate DWFI’s global reach. From faces on a screen to boots in the field, we leverage DWFI’s strengths as a University of Nebraska research institution, providing a wealth of expertise and collaboration-building leadership. I appreciate your support of our shared mission and look forward to the next chapter in our efforts to ensure water and food security for everyone.
Peter G. McCornick
Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute