Water, energy, food symposium set Nov. 19 in Austin


AUSTIN — With the challenge of climate change, dropping energy reserves and 9 billion people to feed by 2050, it’s time for action, said Dr. Rabi Mohtar, endowed professor with the department of biological and agricultural engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station.

Mohtar is one of the program planners and speakers of the symposium, “Navigating Agriculture through the Water-Energy-Food Nexus,” set Nov. 19 at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark, 4140 Governors Row, Austin.

The program is conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and aimed at technical service providers, regulatory agencies, academic institutions, agricultural commodity groups, producers, agricultural science teachers, and AgriLife Extension educators, said David Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist in College Station.

Registration is $125, with a Nov. 6 deadline. To register, go tohttps://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/Nexus.

“Free admittance is offered to AgriLife Extension educators, Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program educators, as well as cooperative extension agents from other states, but pre-registration is required. Capacity is limited to 200 people,” Smith said.

Climate change is not the only challenge facing agriculture in the 21st century, but it certainly is a crucial one that interacts with other resources to make prompt action critical, Mohtar said.

“We do know we have climate issues; we have growing population issues,” Mohtar said. “We have energy issues. This meeting, as with the previous Nexus meetings, is about a holistic approach to address these issues. It’s time for action.”

Topics and speakers will be:

– Opening remarks, Rep. Tracy O. King, District 80, chairman of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee, Batesville.

– Water-energy-food nexus – Applications for agriculture communities, Mohtar.

– Water supply and demand – Trends and challenges for the Southwest, Dr. Robert Mace, Texas Water Development Board deputy executive director, College Station.

– Value of water to agricultural communities, Jason Coleman, High Plains Water District general manager, Lubbock.

– The shale boom – Impacts for agriculture production and producers, Dr. Thomas Tunstall, The University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development research director, San Antonio.

– The future of renewable energy and agriculture, Dr. Wendell Porter, University of Florida agricultural and biological engineering department lecturer, Gainesville, Florida.

– Global market impacts and implications for local farms and ranches, Dr. James Richardson, regents professor and co-director of the Agriculture and Food Policy Center, department of agricultural economics at Texas A&M, College Station.

– Innovation and technology applications for agriculture production, Dr. Reza Ehsani, University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center agricultural and biological engineering associate professor, Gainesville, Florida.

– Turning climate change into opportunities for agricultural producers, Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist, College Station.

– Policy alternatives for promoting sustainable agriculture, Steven Rhines, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation vice president, general counsel and director of public affairs, Ardmore, Oklahoma.
– The rapidly evolving legal and regulatory framework for agriculture producers, Jim Bradbury, attorney, Austin and Fort Worth.

– Educating tomorrow’s nexus thinkers, Dr. Chris Boleman, AgriLife Extension assistant director and state leader for 4-H Youth Development, College Station.

The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s project, “Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate,” led by Smith and Dr. Saqib Mukhtar, associate dean and agriculture program leader at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gainesville, Florida.

For more information, contact Smith at DWSmith@ag.tamu.edu.

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