Irrigation Innovation Consortium (IIC) Funds Seven Research Projects

Each project involves collaboration of industry and IIC university partners.

LAS VEGAS, NEV (December 5, 2019) -- The Irrigation Innovation Consortium (IIC), a university and industry collaboration that accelerates the development and adoption of water and energy efficient irrigation technologies, announced funding for seven research projects in 2020. The announcement came during a public session about the IIC at the Irrigation Association’s annual Irrigation Show and Education Week currently underway in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Launched in 2018 by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) with a $5 million contribution, IIC participants contribute matching support to generate at least $10 million supporting research and collaboration over five years. IIC was formed to promote and enhance water and energy efficiency in irrigation, and ultimately create greater resiliency in food and agriculture. Through the IIC, industry and the public sector co-develop, test, prototype and improve equipment, technology, and decision and information systems. This research is equipping farms of the future with cutting-edge technology that enhances irrigation efficiency.

Projects were selected through a competitive review process that weighed and prioritized projects according to scientific merit, novelty, level of industry involvement, and inter-institution collaboration, among other factors.

“The proposal review process has resulted in a robust portfolio of funded proposals that fit IIC’s mission goals of advancing knowledge, tools, and available technologies and practices that can transform and improve irrigation efficiency,” said Dr. LaKisha Odom, IIC Research Steering Committee Chair and a FFAR Scientific Program Director.

Projects selected for funding though the IIC’s call for proposals this year are:

  • Advancing Development of the Parallel 41 Flux Network for Real-Time Evapotranspiration Monitoring (Principal Investigator: Christopher Neale, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  • Deployment and Maintenance of Flux Towers in Kansas to be Integrated to the Parallel 21 Flux Networks to Support Multi-State Real-Time Evapotranspiration Estimates (Principal Investigator: Eduardo Santos, Kansas State University)
  • Optimizing Irrigation of Turfgrass Using Sensors, IOT, Lora Technology and Artificial Intelligence (Principal Investigator: Jay Hamm, Colorado State University)
  • Toward pivot automation with proximal sensing for Maize and Soybean in the Great Plains (Principal Investigator: Derek Heeren, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  • A Remote Sensing Approach to Identify Critical Areas in CA Orchards for Improving Irrigation Water Management through Precision Agriculture Technology (Principal Investigator Dilruba Yeasmin, University of California, Fresno)

The consortium also selected two “industry pitch” projects, a new option this year to encourage projects initiated by industry members:

  • An Economic Impact Study of the Irrigation Industry (Principal Investigator: John Farner, Irrigation Association)
  • Connecting field scale performance to watershed health: the added power of sharing data/Calculating producer water use in real time (Principal Investigator: John Heaston, Aquamart)

IIC Project Director Reagan Waskom noted, “the industry driven project pitches increase the industry participation and drive university researchers to increased collaboration and meaningful impacts.”

Members of the IIC research network provided updates at the annual Irrigation Association show Las Vegas on current research and innovation projects underway at the participating universities.

The Irrigation Innovation Consortium is composed of the following members: Aqua Engineering Inc.; University of California, Fresno; Climate Corporation; Colorado State University; Colorado Corn; Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska; the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research; Hunter; Irrigation Association; Jain Irrigation; Kansas State Research and Extension; Kansas State University; Li-Cor; Lindsay Corporation; Northern Water; Rubicon Water; Senninger Irrigation Inc.; Toro; Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Valmont; Vertical Irrigation; Watertronics; and Western Sugar.

For more information about the IIC, visit https://irrigationinnovation.org/.

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Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization originally established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today's food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Ph.D., and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation.

Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking

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