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The Center for Irrigation Technology was established as a testing lab and educational and research facility. The center works with eight Valley counties advocating and lobbying for water projects. Photo by Roe Borunda / The Collegian

Fresno State among universities, groups given $5 million to advance irrigation research

A group of universities, including Fresno State, and agriculture industry companies were awarded $5 million to advance irrigation technology research.

Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology spokesman Geoff Thurner said Tuesday that the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research sponsored the grant that was given to the companies and universities so they can launch an Irrigation Innovation Consortium to develop water and energy-efficient technologies.

Fresno State and the other recipients will match the grant to raise it to $10 million. From there, researchers from the public sector and the agriculture industry will co-develop, test, prototype and improve innovations, equipment, technology and decisions and information systems designed to equip farms of the future with “cutting-edge technologies and strategies,” Thurner said in a news release.

Federal agencies like the Agriculture Research Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture will work with the groups in the consortium to address critical water challenges facing the industry, Thurner added. Following the research, the consortium is expected to share the results with the public.

“Our campus water and energy technology researchers and facilities can provide critical leadership in the areas of field and laboratory testing,” said Dr. David Zoldoske, project manager for Fresno State.

The consortium includes Fresno-based Jain Irrigation, Modestro-based Rubicon Water, the Irrigation Association, Lindsay Corporation and Northern Water. Colorado State University, Kansas State University, University of Nebraska and Texas A&M University are the other universities working with Fresno State.

For more information on the consortium, contact Madeleine O’Conner, moconnor@foundationfar.org or 202-590-7613.