On April 27, Irrigation Association CEO Deborah Hamlin announced the creation of the Irrigation Innovation Consortium. Joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and supporting organization members, Hamlin described this new public-private initiative as a collaborative research effort to accelerate the development and adoption of water-efficient irrigation technologies and practices.
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research provided a $5 million grant, which was matched by the IA and initial participants, for a total investment of $10 million to support research and collaboration costs over five years.
The IIC is composed of the following initial founding members:
- California State University, Fresno
- Colorado State University
- Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska
- Irrigation Association
- Jain Irrigation
- Kansas State Research and Extension, Kansas State University
- Lindsay Corporation
- Northern Water
- Rubicon Water
- Texas A&M AgriLife Research
The IIC will be located in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and will be governed by an executive committee made up of FFAR, the five initial research institutions and the IA. Stephen W. Smith, PhD, FASIC, CAIS, CLIA, will serve as the consortium’s first executive director.
Initial plans for the IIC began at an FFAR-hosted convening event held at the Daugherty Water for Food Institute’s Global Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, in April 2017. Approximately 25 representatives of private companies participated in the discussion, which helped shape the initial research focus of the consortium.
Organizations interested in joining the consortium are invited to contact Smith, executive director and FFAR advisory council member.