05/17 - WRAP meets in conjunction with Water for Food Global Conference

By: Steve Ress

The University of Nebraska’s Water Resources Advisory Panel (or WRAP) met April 11 in conjunction with the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute’s (DWFI) annual global conference.

The breakfast meeting was a short but social one that came just ahead of opening sessions for the 2017 Water for Food Global Conference on “Water for Food Security: From Local Lessons to Global Impacts.”

DWFI executive director Peter McCornick opened the meeting by welcoming WRAP members to the conference, which was hosting a record attendance of nearly 500 registered participants at Lincoln’s Nebraska Innovation Campus. McCornick told WRAP he was very pleased with the overall slate of speakers and topics for the event, how many countries were represented among the speakers and attendees and the overall increase in the conference’s international content and flavor.

Steve Goddard, interim vice chancellor for research and economic development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln updated those present on potential cuts in budgeting for science research by the Trump administration, saying that UNL’s Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) was keeping a close eye on events on the national level, as well as funding opportunities for Nebraska researchers.

ORED’s assistant vice chancellor, Monica Norby also updated WRAP on the progress of researchers involved in an ethanol-based jet fuel program.

Dean and director of Nebraska Extension Chuck Hibberd gave updates on the very successful Nebraska Ag Water Management Network and their work with Nebraska’s natural resources districts on nitrogen management and extension participation in a demonstration farm in China that is helping introduce Chinese producers to American best management practices, as well as American farming and irrigation equipment.  

In updating the group on happenings within UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UNL Harlan vice chancellor for IANR and University of Nebraska vice president for agriculture and natural resources Mike Boehm reminded WRAP members that evidence of Nebraska and IANR’s continuing momentum is that 40 percent of IANR faculty have been hired in the last five years, since 2012. Targeted, strategic hiring of faculty will continue, he said, noting that IANR is poised to move into the next phase of strategic planning.

Boehm then helped recognize WRAP member Eugene Glock for his recent induction into the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement and his many years of service to Nebraska and UNL.

Glock, who farms in Butler County, was instrumental in establishing the Nebraska Soybean Association in the 1970’s and served 12 years on the staff of U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey among his many agricultural leadership contributions. He also served in a leadership role for the Ag 40 group that was instrumental in establishing IANR. He currently serves on NU President Hank Bound’s advisory council, as well as WRAP.

Lincoln attorney Lee Orton of the Nebraska State Irrigation Association, updated WRAP members on the current Water Leaders Academy class, the academy’s largest class yet, and also noted that offices for the Nebraska Water Balance Alliance (or NEWBA) would soon be moving to Lincoln.