4th annual Global Water for Food Conference opens May 30
4th annual Global Water for Food Conference opens May 30


Audio: Roberto Lenton, executive director of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, talks to Nebraska Ag Almanac about the conference

The fourth global Water for Food Conference, May 30-June 1, will bring together international experts to explore how advances in science, technology and policy can help rainfed and irrigated agriculture feed the world.

"Blue Water, Green Water and the Future of Agriculture" is the theme of this year's conference, hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln.

The conference fosters international dialogue on key issues related to the use of water for agriculture and provides opportunities to learn from speakers with extensive experience and perspectives from diverse cultures. Last year’s conference drew more than 450 participants from 24 nations, including representatives from universities, agriculture, industry, government and nongovernmental organizations worldwide.

Registration is $250, which includes all conference events, materials and meals. Online registration and more information are available at the conference website: waterforfood.nebraska.edu/wff2012.

The conference theme focuses on “blue water” drawn from aquifers, rivers and lakes to fuel irrigated agriculture, and “green water” that falls as precipitation and is stored in fields to sustain rainfed crops. To meet the growing global food demand, agriculture will need to find ways to use less water and boost both rainfed and irrigated crop yields.

“Finding ways to increase water productivity through improved technologies and crops and innovative management practices and policies is one of the greatest challenges facing agriculture,” said Roberto Lenton, founding executive director of the Daugherty Water for Food Institute. “This conference draws people from around the world who are working to find solutions to one of the world’s most vexing challenges: how to feed more people with limited water.”

Plenary speakers will include Jeff Raikes, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Malin Falkenmark, senior scientific adviser, Stockholm International Water Institute; Colin Chartres, director general, International Water Management Institute; Ruth Meinzen-Dick, senior research fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute; Lenton; and others.

Speakers, panels and case studies will offer diverse approaches to water and food issues. Sessions include a “Women, Water and Food,” roundtable discussion; an industry leaders panel offering their perspectives on water for food challenges; a panel of agricultural producers from several countries; and case studies on integrated water management in Nebraska and in Brazil’s Piracicaba River basin. This year’s technical sessions are “Assessing Groundwater Resources in Water-Stressed Regions” and “Emerging Crop Technologies for Improving Performance in Tough Environments.” Graduate students from around the globe are invited to enter a poster competition.

For the latest information on the 2012 Water for Food conference, follow the Daugherty Institute on Twitter at twitter.com/waterforfood (hashtag: #water2012) or Facebook at facebook.com/waterforfoodinstitute.

The Water for Food Conference is the preeminent event of the university's Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, a research, policy and education institute established in 2010 and committed to efficiently using the world's limited freshwater resources to ensure a reliable food supply. Participants in the 2012 conference will help inform the institute's work.

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