Texas A&M AgriLife Research joins others to advance irrigation innovation

Texas A&M AgriLife Research is poised to be a catalyst in the next major leap forward for water and energy use relating to food and landscape irrigation systems.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, or FFAR, a nonprofit organization established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, announced a $5 million grant to launch the Irrigation Innovation Consortium. The FFAR grant is being matched by project partners for a total initial investment of $10 million over five years.

Initial participants are creating a platform for other universities, federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, and the private sector to work together on the critical water challenges facing agriculture, municipalities and industry, according to FFAR officials.

As a collaborating partner, AgriLife Research, one of five premier public entities on irrigation in the nation, will help provide research to accelerate the development and adoption of water and energy-efficient irrigation technologies and practices.

The other four universities are: California State University-Fresno, Colorado State University, Kansas State Research and Extension at Kansas State University and the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

At present, founding industry partners are: Irrigation Association, Jain Irrigation, Lindsay Corporation, Netafim and the Northern Water, but the FFAR research team will continue recruiting additional industry partners.

“We will need to transition to a sustainable funding model fueled by marketable irrigation technologies and return on investment to our industry partners,” said Dr. Brent Auvermann, AgriLife Research center director at Amarillo.

Auvermann said AgriLife Research will distribute about $675,000 of the grant across the state with about a dozen faculty members participating. Remote-sensing using drones and satellite information, systems integration and management, and use of big data or Internet of Things will be the primary areas of focus for AgriLife Research participants.

Organizations interested in joining the Irrigation Innovation Consortium are invited to contact Dr. Stephen Smith, Fort Collins, Colorado, executive director of the Irrigation Innovation Consortium and FFAR advisory council member at swsmith@buenavidafarm.com.

Read the complete AgriLife Today article.

Share this post