The Irrigation Association announced the creation of the Irrigation Innovation Consortium, a collaborative research effort to accelerate the development and adoption of water-efficient irrigation technologies and practices through public-private partnerships. The $5 million Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research grant was matched by initial participants, including the IA, 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 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 interim executive director until a permanent one is named.

“The IA thanks FFAR and the university partners for their leadership in the creation of the new Irrigation Innovation Consortium,” said IA’s CEO Deborah M. Hamlin, CAE, FASAE. “We are confident that the research stemming from this collaborative effort will drive new advancements in efficient irrigation and keep the irrigation industry at the forefront of innovation.”

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.

The IIC will be located in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Organizations interested in joining the consortium are invited to contact Smith, interim executive director and FFAR advisory council member, at swsmith@buenavidafarm.com.

The IIC was being formally launched in Denver, Colorado, at the Water in the West Symposium hosted by Colorado State University. Hamlin made the announcement and was joined by representatives from the supporting organizations, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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