S-C10 Engineering Solutions for Food-Energy-Water Systems: It’s More Than Engineering

This session is organized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) to bring together engineering expertise for solving complex problems at the FEW nexus with physical, agricultural, and social scientists to focus on facilitating solutions that are technically and socially sound. One specific objective of the session is to provide the basis for creating a framework for facilitating collaboration among engineering practitioners, scientists, and policymakers, including defining the role of professional societies. The presentations by the distinguished panel of speakers and the subsequent discussion will form the basis for the initiation and deepening of partnerships among ASABE, SSSA (Soil Science Society of America), and peer organizations, as well as among individual participants.


  • Mary Leigh Wolfe, Head, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and President, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers


  • James W. Jones, Director, Florida Climate Institute; Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, University of Florida
  • Andrew Sharpley, Distinguished Professor, Soils and Water Quality, University of Arkansas
  • Norman Scott, Professor Emeritus, Biological and Environmental Engineering Department, Cornell University

Mary Leigh Wolfe’s research and teaching activities have focused on hydrologic modeling, nonpoint source pollution control strategies, and decision support tools for watershed management. She has also advanced engineering education through more than 20 years of leadership in the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc., the accrediting organization for academic programs in engineering, engineering technology, applied science, and computing. (540-231-6615 mlwolfe@vt.edu)

James W. Jones works on models of crop production responses to soil, water, climate, and management and integration with economic models for evaluating climate risks, water requirements, and nutrient use efficiencies at field to global scales. Jones also conducts research aimed at incorporating gene-based components in crop models and on the development of harmonized networks of agricultural data for evaluating and improving crop models. He is Co-PI of the global Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). (352-392-1864 ext. 289; jimj@ufl.edu)

Andrew Sharpley is Distinguished Professor of Soils and Water Quality with the University of Arkansas. His research investigates nutrient cycling of in-soil plant-water systems in relation to agricultural production and water quality, including the management of manures, fertilizers, and crop residues, as a critical part of the food-energy-water nexus and security. He also evaluates the role of stream and river sediments in modifying the amounts and forms of nutrients transported to lakes and reservoirs. He works closely with producers, farmers, and action agencies, stressing the dissemination and application of his research, and is leading an on-farm program to show the benefits of conservation practices that protect water quality and promote sustainability of farming systems. (479-575-5721; sharpley@uark.edu)

Norman Scott is interested in the exploration of how convergence can be adopted and applied within the agriculture, food, and natural resources systems (AFNS) to address the FEWS nexus. Specifically, Scott believes that we need to create teams that address the complex problems of AFNS with approaches of convergence through emerging platforms of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information science, and cognitive science. Scott is also interested in developing sustainable communities in the context of today’s depressed economies, aging infrastructure, shifting demographics, environmental stresses, changing climate, and uncertain energy prices and availability. A key to meeting these challenges is integration of a system-based approach to address food, water, energy, wastes, buildings, economic development, transportation, urban design, and community governance. (607-351-3147; nrs5@cornell.edu)



  • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)

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