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Jacoby, micro-irrigation team wins national award for water conservation

Posted by struscott | October 18, 2017
Head shot of Pete Jacoby
Pete Jacoby

For ground-breaking work on micro-irrigation, Pete Jacoby, plant ecologist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, along with teammates from across the United States, won the 2017 National Water & Energy Conservation Award from the Irrigation Association.

The award, given by the association of the irrigation industry, honors their achievement in conserving water and energy.

Joining research and Extension professionals from 19 universities and three federal labs, Jacoby is part of USDA-NIFA Multistate Project W-3128, “Scaling Micro-irrigation Technologies to Address the Global Water Challenge.” This project advances micro-irrigation, which uses new technology to deliver small but effective amounts of water to crops like wine grapes, saving water resources. Research is led at Jacoby’s lab at Pullman, and has received attention in Good Fruit Grower and other trade and popular media.

The team’s research explores the interlocking issues of water, from plant physiology to soil physics, modeling, and irrigation scheduling and technology. They share their results through field days, documents, recordings and websites, helping farmers and other water users keep pace with new technologies.

This award represents recognition for the innovation and effort that our entire team has achieved in discovering new and better means to conserve our vital water resources,” said Jacoby. “For my cooperators and collaborators in the Pacific Northwest, the award reconfirms their commitment to our research and extension efforts in sustaining or improving profitability of their enterprises.”

It also shows the return on investment for the state and federal agencies funding their on-farm research, while also acknowledging the power of collaboration across disciplines to solve problems and create irrigation strategies that aid the growing farm base in the western U.S., he added.

The award will be presented at the 2017 Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Nov. 9. The project group will hold its annual meeting at the same time, with Jacoby chairing the session.