Location: Soil and Water Management ResearchTitle: Happy trails - bridges to the future
Submitted to: CSA News
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2018
Publication Date: 12/6/2018
Citation: Evett, S.R. 2018. Happy trails - bridges to the future. CSA News. 63:24-25. https://doi.org/10.2134/csa2018.63.1218.
Interpretive Summary: The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) is a scientific and technical society with members from every state in the US, and from many other countries. Many members are scientists and engineers involved in research and development of improved agronomic methods that reduce waste and cost, make more efficient use of agricultural inputs, defeat pests and diseases, improve harvesting methods, improve water quality and increase farm and range profitability. In addition to more than 8,000 scientists and engineers employed by federal, state and private industry, the society includes several thousand crop advisors and farm managers who put into practice the engineering and scientific advances and feed back to the scientific community the relative success or need for improvement of new methods, products and approaches. The Society and its membership play strong roles in promoting all five key indicators of rural prosperity listed by the Presidential Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, but particularly the last two: Harnessing Technological Innovation, and Economic Development. Members played a strong role in the Second World Alfalfa Congress in November 2018, which explored ways to improve alfalfa varieties, disease resistance, water use efficiency and irrigation practices. Many attendees from the USA profited from the Congress and practical field demonstrations of alfalfa harvest and processing equipment. Similarly, attendees from the USA profited from the Global Water Security Conference in October 2018, where issues of water scarcity and climate change impacts and adaptation strategies were explored and solutions offered from a variety of viewpoints. Several recent books from ASA point to the increasingly important paradigm of systems approaches and the use of precision methods in solving agricultural and natural resource management problems. And, those books offer practical advice and techniques to crop consultants. Fortunately, members of ASA are allied with members of many other professional societies in engineering, crops, soils and water, in providing multi-dimensional problem solutions.
Technical Abstract: Córdoba, Argentina, was the site of the very successful Second World Alfalfa Congress put on by Argentina’s Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) Nov. 11-15, 2018 (http://www.worldalfalfacongress.org/). Several ASA members were in attendance, and some were invited speakers. Seeing the involvement of ASA members here, immediately after seeing several of them at the equally successful ASA-CSSA meeting in Baltimore, reminded me of how dedicated to their science and craft our ASA members are, and how international is our membership and involvement. Wherever in the world they work, ASA members are dedicated to advancing agronomic science and practice to sustain rural economies and feed the world. ASA has had an eventful and fruitful year. The Sustainable Agronomy Specialty Conference in Madison was very well attended (~300) and opened the way to similar conferences in other venues in the future. Due to our strategy to partner with industry, NGOs and government to ensure relevance, that conference opened bridges between the farming community, CCAs, NGOs, government institutions and ASA in ways that our usual science meetings cannot. We launched the new journal, Agrosystems, Geosciences and Environment, the first issue of which came out in October. And, we launched the Agronomy Journal Paper of the Year Award with awardees in Baltimore. ASA co-sponsored the Global Water Security Conference in Hyderabad, India, in October, which had >300 registrants and ~250 speakers, 91 from 19 different countries outside India. With its sister Society partners, ASA published important new books in 2018, including “Agroclimatology: Linking Agriculture to Climate”, “Precision Conservation: Geospatial Techniques for Agricultural and Natural Resources Conservation”, and “Bridging Among Disciplines by Synthesizing Soil and Plant Processes”. These books, when considered along with “Precision Agriculture Basics” and “Practical Mathematics for Precision Farming”, point to the increasingly important paradigm of systems approaches and the use of precision methods in solving agricultural and natural resource management problems.