July 7, 2021
News and updates
McCornick reappointed to lead NU's Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute

DWFI Executive Director Peter McCornick has led the institute since 2016 and has been reappointed for a second five-year term.

Under McCornick’s leadership, DWFI has made huge strides in fulfilling its mission to improve agricultural water management to ensure sustainable food and water security.

“We have much work ahead, and I believe Dr. Peter McCornick is the right person to lead the Institute forward. I look forward to what we will achieve under Peter's leadership in helping improve the human condition here and around the world," said University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter.
Water for Food Global Forum: A virtual interactive series
 
The Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute is pleased to introduce the “Water for Food Global Forum,” a virtual series of events over a one-month period that will convene leading international experts, growers and organizations to focus on achieving global water and food security. The Forum will focus on integrating knowledge and practice.
 
In place of its flagship Water for Food Global Conference, in 2021 the institute is capturing the depth and breadth of its global connections and expertise through a variety of free, virtual events. The Forum will provide an opportunity for individuals with diverse areas of expertise and interest to learn about, collaborate and strategize solutions to pressing issues related to water and food, including those exacerbated by the COVID pandemic.
 
Each week will focus on specific themes and feature both on-demand and live content, including keynotes from industry leaders, roundtables, farm and facility tours, Q&A/discussions, interactive workshops and networking opportunities. The events will serve as a springboard for future conversations.
 
Theme topics will include:
 
  • Climate change and extreme events
  • Water quality and nutrient management
  • Food systems and nutrition
  • Innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture and water management
 
Registered participants will be able to view all on-demand content and two hours of “live” content each week, as well as additional networking opportunities.
 
Since 2010, DWFI at the University of Nebraska has worked toward one goal: a food and water secure world — one in which global food security is ensured without compromising the use of water to meet other essential human and environmental needs.

Registration for the 2021 Water for Food Global Forum will open soon. Sign up below to receive updates about registration, speakers and other content.
Water and Health Summit brings together leaders to clarify issues in Nebraska, define solutions


The Water and Health Summit was held June 29-30 in Lincoln with the goal of improving the health of Nebraska. The in-person event brought together leaders in health and water to clarify issues in Nebraska, define obstacles to key solutions and operationalize solutions. One outcome of the Summit was to build a community of practice linking health professionals and knowledge to those doing work in water resources and agriculture. Organizers also plan to produce a white paper and policy brief on the challenges and solutions identified, with next steps listed for each partner and a final presentation to policymakers.
 
Invited participants included experts from DWFI, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), as well as Natural Resources Districts managers, physicians, donors, government entities, growers and others.
 
The Summit was organized by the Water, Climate and Health Program, a joint initiative of the UNMC College of Public Health, DWFI, and IANR as the result of a gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation from the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation.
Nebraska Water Center conference hits the road this August in Scottsbluff

After postponement in 2020, the Nebraska Water Center’s annual conference will return this August.

Entitled “The Shape of Water in Western Nebraska,” the conference will be held Monday, August 16th at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. An all-star lineup of Nebraska water professionals will discuss water infrastructure in the panhandle, western Nebraska’s unique hydrogeology, and innovation in water and agricultural management.
The What, Why, and How of Interviewing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Actors
By Polly Musayidizi, DWFI Policy Consultant

Well-planned and thoughtfully implemented interviews with entrepreneurs, their customers and their suppliers can yield valuable market insights into complex business ecosystems. Interviews are useful to learn about different parts of an ecosystem or value chain, including key actors, system dynamics, opportunities and pain points. These structured conversations enable ecosystem mapping and visualization, and can be used by governments and NGOs to support entrepreneurial investments; by universities to conduct entrepreneurship research; and by business owners and start-ups to identify opportunities, partners and resources. 

The Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI) team in Rwanda has conducted dozens of interviews to understand the irrigation ecosystem for smallholder farmers, using methods that blend customer discovery — developed by Steve Blank and Giff Constable — and informational interviews — used for professional development and networking. We call the combination of these methods discovery interviews, and we’ve adapted the approach to our context in Rwanda. 

We’ve reflected on our experiences testing different ways to have discovery interviews and put together our best tips in the article link below. This is the start of a new and necessary discussion; we’re not aware that anyone has previously written up their practice and lessons learned about how to talk with entrepreneurial ecosystem actors in Africa. This isn’t intended as a comprehensive how-to guide — instead, we’ll release more related content in the coming months.
New podcast episode feature climate research of DWFI researcher Safa

This episode of the Daugherty Water for Food podcast features Babak Safa, a postdoctoral research associate with the Water for Food Global Institute who specializes in agricultural meteorology, micro-meteorology and vegetation-atmosphere interaction.

Safa analyzes eddy covariance flux data from installed systems to support remote sensing based model verification and water productivity estimates for several agricultural and natural ecosystems and projects around the world. He works with partnering researchers at LI-COR Biogeosciences, USDA-ARS and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Safa also supports satellite based water productivity estimates in Nebraska and other countries using satellite based remote sensing models. Additionally, he helps train graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in satellite image processing methods, flux data processing and micrometeorological methods.

Learn about Safa’s work in this episode.
McCornick discusses effective food systems at UN Food Systems Summit

DWFI Executive Director Peter McCornick was a panelist at the recent United Nations Food Systems Summit. In the session titled "Nexus Nebraska: Collaborative Convergence of Sustainability, Entrepreneurial Development, Healthy Foods, International Aid, and Ag Education" he discussed entrepreneurship and other topics related to developing effective food systems. Panelists also included NU Vice President and Vice Chancellor of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mike Boehm and DWFI Faculty Fellow Elizabeth VanWormer.

Watch the recording in three parts:
Marcus quoted in NYT story on drought in the West

Felicia Marcus, a member of the DWFI board and Water Policy Group was recently quoted in a New York Times article on drought in American West. The article, titled "Climate Change Batters the West Before Summer Even Begins" discusses how an early heat wave and severe drought are threatening lives and leaving water in short supply in many places throughout the United States.

The Colorado Basin has suffered through years of drought coupled with ever-increasing consumption, a result of population and economic growth as well as the expansion of agriculture, by far the largest user of water in the West.

“We need to stop thinking of drought as a temporary thing to get through,” said Felicia Marcus, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Water in the West program, noting that global warming is expected to reduce the Colorado River’s flow even further.

Marcus was also quoted in a similar article by the Arizona Republic on the Colorado River and the decline of Lake Mead, a reservoir near Las Vegas that holds water for cities, farms and tribal lands in Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico.
Neale participates in FAO webinar on evapo-transpiration

DWFI Director of Research Christopher Neale spoke in a recent webinar titled "GloDET Global Daily Evapo-Transpiration." The series was hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Watch the webinar by clicking the video link above.
Spotlight: Daniel Snow

Daniel Snow, director of the Water Sciences Lab, a part of the Nebraska Water Center and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, was recently featured by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources in their Faculty Spotlight.
Faculty Fellow News
This new bioreactor uses algae to remove hazardous nitrates and pesticides from groundwater
By Tara DiMaio, The Academic Times

DWFI Faculty Fellows Paul Black and James Allen, as well as Timothy Nicodemus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln have invented a natural bioreactor system to remove organophosphate pesticides and nitrate from groundwater, using algae to filter well water before it can enter a treatment facility and contaminate an area's water supply.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are often called the "Big Three" in commercial fertilizers as plants need these macronutrients to survive. The novel system leverages the power of the nutrients themselves – which, in the form of nitrates and organophosphates, are harmful to humans – to grow algae biomass for harvesting while simultaneously filtering water. The invention is a collaboration between a team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the government-funded Nebraska Environmental Trust. The patent application for this method and system was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 6.

The invention's aims are twofold. Its main purpose is to remove organophosphate and nitrate contaminants from water to make it safer for human consumption. At the same time, those contaminants promote the fast growth of algae, which can later be sold as a high-value product. 

The innovation addresses a key public health issue, particularly in the American Midwest and other agricultural regions across the planet: Phosphate-based pesticides can easily infiltrate the groundwater in farming communities, posing a hazard to human health. 
Student News and Resources
Olivo builds on childhood dream as agricultural engineer at Nebraska
By Courtney Van Hoosen of Global Nebraska

Since he was a boy, past DWFI supported student Agustín Olivo has cultivated a passion for agriculture and the science behind it. Growing up across from a field in the small town of San Antonio de Litin in Córdoba, Argentina, Olivo realized early on his answer to the age-old question of what to be when he grew up.

For Olivo, becoming an agricultural engineer wasn’t just a childhood dream – it was the fuel behind his current career that has led him from Córdoba to Nebraska for his master’s degree and now to New York where he’s pursuing his Ph.D. in animal science. In fact, that dream was only the beginning of a journey that would encourage Olivo to discover new areas of agriculture and embrace the diversity of working with people from different backgrounds.
DWFI and Nebraska Water Center seek paid communications/event student intern

The Nebraska Water Center (NWC) and Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI) are seeking a student intern to help assist with high-profile events, including the 2021 Water for Food virtual event and 2022 NWC Spring Seminar Series. The month-long virtual event will be held throughout October featuring both on-demand and live webinars, as well as in-person components. The seminar series, which also doubles as a one-credit UNL course, runs from January to April 2022 and include seven in- person seminars. Both events are intended to showcase NU’s leadership in water and agricultural sciences.

About the candidate: 
The successful candidate must be detail oriented, sociable (will interact with a variety of staff and stakeholders), have excellent computer skills (Word, Access, PowerPoint, and Excel) and be dependable and punctual. Candidates with an interest in water and agriculture and previous experience with communications/event coordination will be prioritized. Other desired skills are experience with promotion via social media platforms, excellent writing skills and attention to detail.

Other requirements: 
The Water for Food Institute is located on Nebraska Innovation Campus. Student must have a student permit to park on campus or utilize the campus bus or bicycle system.

Compensation: 
$13.00/hour

To apply:
Please send your resume and a brief letter of interest addressed to Jesse Starita, Public Relations & Engagement Coordinator, Nebraska Water Center, jstarita@nebraska.edu
Staff, Fellow and Supported Student Publications
Felipe de Figueiredo Silva, Richard K. Perrin, Lilyan E. Fulginiti and Mark E. Burbach

Michael H. Cosh, Todd G. Caldwell, C. Bruce Baker, John D. Bolten, Nathan Edwards, Peter Goble, Heather Hofman, Tyson E. Ochsner, Steven Quiring, Charles Schalk, Marina Skumanich, Mark Svoboda, Mary E. Woloszyn

Bruno Aragon, Matteo G. Ziliani, Rasmus Houborg, Trenton E. Franz & Matthew F. McCabe

Tewodros R. Godebo, Marc A. Jeuland , Christopher J. Paul, Dagnachew L. Belachew, and Peter G. McCornick

Freddie R Lamm, Paul D Colaizzi, Ronald B. Sorensen, James P Bordovsky, Mark Dougherty, Kris Balkcom, Danielle Zaccaria, Khaled M. Bali, Daran R Rudnick, R. Troy Peters
Jawad Al-Bakri, Ibrahim Farhan, Mohammed Al-Qinna, Emad Al-Karablieh, Karim Bergouli & Rachael McDonnell 

Leonardo Laipelt, Rafael Henrique Bloedow Kayser, Ayan Santos Fleischmann, Anderson Ruhoff, Wim Bastiaanssen, Tyler A. Erickson, Forrest Melton

Nawaraj Shrestha, Aaron R.Mittelstet, Aaron R.Young, Troy E.Gilmore, David C.Gosselin, Yi Qi Caner Zeyrek

Willians R. Mendes, Salah Er-Raki, Derek M. Heeren, Ritaban Dutta, Fábio M. U. Araújo

John P.Laborde, Charles S.Wortmann, Humberto Blanco-Canqui, John L.Lindquist
Events + Calendar
World Population Day
July 11

Water Quality Month:
August 1-31

Nebraska Water Center Conference
The Shape of Water in Western Nebraska
August 16

Water for Food Global Forum
October 1-31
Staff Spotlight
Crystal Powers
Research & Extension Communication Specialist

As the Research and Extension Communication Specialist through the Nebraska Water Center, my role is to be an open channel of communication with research and extension faculty throughout Nebraska’s higher education system. I would like it to be a two way path: what can learn from each other and how we can best collaborate for larger impact. I come from working as an Extension Engineer in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at UNL. There I worked with faculty on improving air and water quality in livestock systems, primarily through extension programming, and also some teaching and research. I have a M.S. in Biological and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University and a B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering from UNL. Along with my two young boys, Aiden and Liam, and husband William, I enjoy a small farm with dairy cows and chickens, north of Lincoln near Ceresco. I grew up a Husker in rural Nuckolls & Thayer counties, where my uncle still farms.

About us
The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska was founded in 2010 by the Robert B. Daugherty Foundation to address the global challenge of achieving food security with less stress on water resources through improved water management in agricultural and food systems. The institute is committed to ensuring a water and food secure world while maintaining the use of water for other human and environmental needs. 
waterforfood.nebraska.edu | +1 402.472.5145

The Nebraska Water Center, established by Congress in 1964, focuses on helping the University of Nebraska become an international leader in water research, teaching, extension and outreach by facilitating programs that will result in UNL becoming a premiere institution in the study of agricultural and domestic water use.
watercenter.unl.edu | +1 402.472.3305