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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

SUMMER SUMMIT: Food, Energy and Water Challenges

June 9th, 2017


This August natural researches from Oregon State University, Washington State University and the University of Idaho will gather to address food, energy and water challenges that our region faces. Each university will be represented by members with their own expertise to address the way these issues effect not only environmental health but also economic and human health in individual regions and the entire Northwest. The meeting will be held in the centrally located Hermiston, Oregon.

At a recent workshop led by Stephanie Hampton from WSU and Andrew Kliskey from Idaho, five grant proposals were drafted for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation on the issues. Some of the broad questions being asked were, “Will the region have enough food in 2050?” and “Could a more efficient system for irrigation lead to less energy used for pumping and also result in more food production?”. Other issues being talked about include updating hydropower plants and food production infrastructure.

Chad Higgins, an agricultural engineering professor at OSU said, “The food, energy, water nexus is so huge that it’s scary, but it’s also exciting. ┬áThere are so many opportunities to look at things either in detail or to try and be broad..We can bring each person’s expertise together to predict pain points, like are we going to be scarce in any one resource in the future, and where?”

Cynthia Sagers, vice president for research at Oregon State, notes that when it comes to food, energy and water challenges, a solution in one location can lead to problems hundreds of miles away. The collaboration between the universities is crucial in fixing the problems our future generations will face.


In addition to the August event, the planning team is applying for external funding to support ongoing meetings to help sustain momentum.


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