OARDC annual conference spotlights water quality

OARDC’s 2015 Annual Research Conference, which took place April 16 in Columbus, featured 11 speakers on a theme of “Water Quality: Sustaining a Vital Resource.”

The speakers included Deanna Osmond, North Carolina State University soil science professor, who spoke on “Can We Protect Water Quality? The Importance of Watersheds”; Jay Martin of CFAES’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, on “Field to Faucet: Impacts of Phosphorus and Steps Forward in the Lake Erie Basin”; and CFAES Dean Bruce McPheron on “CFAES’s Role in Solving Today’s Challenges for a Better Tomorrow.”

“If we can control what’s coming in from the rivers, we can have an impact and lessen algal blooms,” said Martin, who is lead faculty member of the new Field to Faucet program. “The goal is to sustain agricultural production while improving water quality in Lake Erie.”

Watch: CFAES Dean Bruce McPheron speaks April 16 at OARDC’s 2015 annual research conference.

“I’ve been talking about water for a long time,” said McPheron, who was named leader of CFAES in 2012 and was Penn State’s agriculture dean before that. “I used to start conversations by saying, ‘Water is the next generation’s oil.’ I have abandoned that statement. Water is our oil. It is this generation’s oil.

“When we talk about food security, we have to have water security first or there is no food.”

A panel discussion included water experts from Ohio Sea Grant, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and Ohio State’s Office of Research and School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Watch: OARDC Director Steve Slack speaks April 16 at the center’s 2015 annual research conference.

“Water is a very important resource,” said one of the panelists, Karl Gebhardt, OEPA’s deputy director for water resources, speaking on the need for agencies, Ohio State and other universities to coordinate their efforts. “Ask the people in California and Toledo, and I think they’ll agree.”

OARDC Director Steve Slack and Dave Benfield, the center’s associate director, gave the conference’s opening remarks and an update on research in the college.

See the complete conference program at go.osu.edu/3KJ.