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Water conference, open house scheduled at new laboratory in Brule


Efficient water usage will be the emphasis of a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension conference scheduled Sept. 1 at a new university facility in Brule.

The fifth annual Great Plains Conference on Improving Crop Water Productivity will be held at the West Central Water Resources Field Laboratory. There is no cost to attend the conference and a complimentary meal will be served.

Using water as efficiently as possible on the farm will be the focus of the conference, which is geared for agricultural producers, said Alan Corr, extension water educator.

As water is one of the state's most valuable natural resources, the conference will help farmers and policymakers learn and see irrigation practices and cropping systems on a farm scale that maintain or increase crop production while conserving water.

WRFL was purchased by UNL in 2007 to research, demonstrate and teach water conserving methods in cropping and livestock systems in western Nebraska. This year is the first growing season research has been conducted at the lab, which will be open for tours during the event.

The event opens at 8 a.m. (MDT) with registration at Purty Punkins, 350 Road West M South in Brule.

The morning agenda includes presentations by UNL hydrogeologist Jim Goeke, who will talk about the hydrogeologic framework in the area of the lab. He will be followed by Derrel Martin, irrigation and water resources engineer, who will discuss maximizing efficiency with center pivot irrigation.

Robert Klein, western Nebraska crops specialist, will talk about how to avoid water evaporation on corn, soybeans and wheat. Crop producer Jon Holzfaster of Paxton will discuss a producer's perspective on Nebraska water issues.

During a luncheon speech, University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken will discuss the university's long-standing contributions to Nebraska agriculture through research done at the UNL Water Center and the West Central Research and Extension Center as well as the continuing commitment to Nebraska water issues. He also will discuss the growing global need for water and the opportunity that the university has to be an international leader on the issue.

WRFL field tours will begin after lunch at 1 p.m.

Corr expects 200 to 300 people to attend the event, which is scheduled to adjourn at 4 p.m. Interested participants are asked to register by Aug. 26. For more information or a registration form, contact Linda Lehmann at 308-696-6727 or at llehmann@unlnotes.unl.edu.

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