Texas A&M AgriLife programs receive water conservation awards
Two groups involving Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel were recognized in fall 2012 with Save Texas Water Blue Legacy Awards in Agriculture from the Water Conservation Advisory Council.
The Blue Legacy Awards, which annually recognize outstanding water conservation efforts and successes of the agriculture community, were given to the Ogallala Aquifer Program, a university and federal agency research-education consortium, and the AgriLife Extension– Panhandle District 1 2011 North Plains Corn Irrigation Demonstration Project: Efficient Profitable Irrigation in Corn, or EPIC.
The Ogallala Aquifer Program was created by Congress in 2003 to find solutions to problems arising from declining water levels in the High Plains aquifer, according to Dr. David Brauer, research agronomist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and manager of the program.
Brauer said the program includes approximately 80 state and federal scientists from the Agricultural Research Service, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University through AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension, Texas Tech University and West Texas A&M University.
Dr. Kevin Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute’s associate director and Texas A&M’s representative on the program’s leadership team, said: “For the Ogallala Aquifer Program to win this award illustrates the progress and achievements that have been made in promoting water conservation while helping to maintain or improve the profitability of farming and the prosperity of farming communities in the Texas High Plains,” Wagner said. “The institute is proud to support the Texas A&M AgriLife researchers and Extension specialists involved in this important program.”
Dr. John Sweeten, resident director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo, said that in addition to developing water conservation technologies for agricultural producers, the program provides scientifically based data and knowledge.
“Using this information, both farmers and policymakers can make effective decisions regarding water use and conservation,” Sweeten said.
AgriLife Research and Extension personnel at Amarillo and Lubbock extensively involved in the Ogallala Aquifer Program include Steve Amosson, Jim Bordovsky, Ken Casey, Paul DeLaune, Nich Kenny, Shuyu Liu, Thomas Marek, Jaroy Moore, Seong Park, David Pointer, Dana Porter, Pat Porter, Nithya Rajan, Charlie Rush and Qingwu Xue.
EPIC is a demonstration effort conducted by AgriLife Extension and funded primarily by the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, said Kenny, AgriLife Extension irrigation specialist in Amarillo. It is designed to address the adoption of improved irrigation management strategies to increase water-use efficiency, crop productivity and production profitability.
EPIC includes project members Kenny and AgriLife Extension county agents Scott Strawn, J.R. Sprague, Marcel Fischbacher, Michael Bragg, Kristy Synatschk and Brad Easterling.