11/01 - WRAP meets following fall symposium

By: Steve Ress

Water Resources Advisory Panel (WRAP) members met with faculty and staff from the Nebraska Water Center and Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI) following the Oct. 26 and 27 fall water symposium at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln.

WRAP facilitator and DWFI assistant director Rachael Herpel broke from the group’s normal meeting routine to ask all those attending to take a marker in hand and write on the NIC conference white board walls their ideas for what “The most impressive thing the university can do in the next one, three and five years.”

That idea coupled with many of the members having just come from a day and a half of symposium talks centered on managing impacts to water quality in production agriculture, spurred a number of general themes on what university researchers and water experts should be taking hard looks at in the coming years.          

Representative of the ideas that were shared and discussed were:

  • Engaging crop consultants and agronomists in driving adoption of sustainability practices
  • Studying the economic losses attributable to use of nitrate fertilizers, especially bringing attention to the cost of losing a public water system well to nitrate contamination
  • More education of urban state senators on rural and agricultural issues in Nebraska
  • Alternative cropping, especially increasing diversity in corn-corn rotations
  • More study/emphasis on risks to human health from continuing use of nitrate fertilizers
  • Spread the recently implemented Nebraska Extension TAPS program statewide
  • Export Nebraska’s Natural Resources District system
  • More emphasis on scientific research and long-term data collection (not just three year projects)
  • Enhance data integration
  • More emphasis on and use of crop diversity and niche market farming
  • University of Nebraska help in creating an educational “conservation center” that recognizes the importance of soil health