OSU Awarded Nearly $775,000 for Improving Irrigation ManagementFri, 04 Dec 2015 14:32:35 CST
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reached into its proverbial pocket book and awarded $20.5 million for 45 projects to develop and advance the conservation of natural resources.
One of the 45 projects selected, for $772,029 in funding, was for Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension efforts geared toward promoting sensor-based technologies for conserving agricultural water resources through more efficient irrigation management.
Saleh Taghvaeian, assistant professor in OSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and OSU Cooperative Extension water resources specialist is the lead on the project.
“Recent advances in sensing and telecommunication technologies have made it possible for agricultural producers to utilize sensor-collected information on various parameters (e.g. soil moisture content, canopy temperature, etc.) to fine-tune their irrigation scheduling and minimize possible water losses,” Taghvaeian said.
The project includes collaborators from different departments within OSU, Texas A&M University and Kansas State University. The three-year grant is provided by USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service through their Conservation Innovation Grant program.
“This year’s slate of projects is truly outstanding,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary. “Our partner awardees are progressive and forward thinking and looking to solve natural resource problems, and also engaging with underserved farmers and ranchers.”
The OSU project proposes to create and dissipate educational material –such as fact sheets, video clips, radio podcasts, etc. – on different types of sensors for agricultural irrigation management through the network of county Extension educators, conservation district personnel, NRCS personnel, crop consultants and producers.
“We also will establish demonstrations sites at several eligible producers’ farms and hold field days to provide hands-on training for different aspects of sensor-based technologies – from site selection to proper installation and data interpretation,” Taghvaeian said.
Agricultural producers in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas will reap the rewards of the grant.
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