A University of Florida research professor has been recognized along with a team of international scientists with a prestigious award for water and energy conservation in irrigation practices.
The National Water and Energy Conservation Award was presented by the Irrigation Association at the 2017 Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Orlando to a group of scientists who received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA).
In a news release issued by the Irrigation Association, former award recipient Inge Bisconer, past president of the California Irrigation Institute, said, “The UF/IFAS group’s efforts not only conducted important research but also disseminated this research in a practical, user-friendly format via field day events, documents, audio files and websites.”
Bisconer said the group’s extension work is critical because end users need to apply new and innovative practices to their operations soon after the scientific work is proven to improve irrigation systems.
Representing the UF/ Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce was Rhuanito “Johnny” Ferrarezi, an assistant professor of citrus horticulture.
Ferrarezi’s research with low-cost automation in citrus groves has been noted by his peers. He identified an irrigation smart device that costs growers a fraction of standard irrigation equipment and is also more efficient at dispensing water to commercial crops.
“We are working on increasing USDA/NIFA’s capability to solve applied problems worldwide,” said Ferrarezi.
“The scientists working on the multistate project are looking to improve water management through better irrigation practices targeting different crops and production regions across the U.S.”
Additional UF professors who are contributing to this research and outreach are:
- Kelly Morgan, professor of Soil and Water Science, at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee
- Davie M. Kadyampankeni, assistant professor of Citrus Water and Nutrient Management, at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center
- Eric H. Simonne, Distinguished professor for the UF/IFAS Department of Horticultural Sciences, and Northeast District Extension Director
- Dorota Z. Haman, professor and Chair of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
- Zhengfei Guan, assistant professor of Agricultural Economics
According to the USDA/NIFA website, the organization “provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences” by seeking pioneering methods and initiatives used by the nation’s inventive scientists.