Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thirsting for Solutions: New CAST Publication and Video Examine Water Availability for the Future

AMES, IA--(Marketwire - April 21, 2010) - With projected increases of 25% and 50% in U.S. and world populations, respectively, by 2050, substantial increases in freshwater use for food, fiber, and fuel production, as well as for municipal and residential consumption, are inevitable. Water quality and quantity impacts everyone -- governments, utilities, environmental agencies, farmers, corporations, and consumers -- and increased water use will not come without consequences.

As one of the largest users of water in the United States, agriculture will be impacted significantly by changes in water availability and cost. To evaluate current trends, summarize key vulnerabilities, and identify possible solutions to current and future challenges, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) convened a Task Force of eight scientists, educators, and resource analysts who have prepared a new CAST Issue Paper, Water, People, and the Future: Water Availability for Agriculture in the United States.

The full text of the paper (Issue Paper 44, 20 pp.) may be accessed free of charge on the CAST website at, along with many of CAST's other scientific publications. The paper hard copy and a broadcast VNR download is also available for a shipping/handling fee. Watch the "Water, People and the Future" Video here.

Through several case studies, the new CAST publication discusses the diverse demands for water resources using the impacts, regulations, challenges, and policies of four specific areas of the United States -- California, Arizona, Florida, and the High Plains -- with particular focus on the implications for agriculture.

"It is critical that policymakers, water managers, and water users work collaboratively to achieve sustainable water resource management," says Task Force Chair Sharon Megdal, Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson. "Multiple issues require attention -- water quality, environmental water needs, municipal demands for water, water resource availability, agricultural water use -- and no issue can be addressed individually. Supplying future water demand requires continued investments and efforts to enhance water use efficiency. Difficult social and economic transitions and tradeoffs may lie ahead."

John Bonner, CAST Executive Vice President/CEO, concurs: "A safe, abundant water supply is one of the most crucial challenges facing our world now and into the future. The agricultural community, policymakers, corporations, and consumers need to take this issue seriously and work together to protect the Earth's sustainable water resources through water-conserving technologies and practices. Using science as its foundation, CAST provides this timely resource to assist in understanding the complexities surrounding this serious potential challenge to Earth's resources." Learn more at

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2010 Borlaug CAST Communication Award

The 2010 Borlaug CAST Communication Award Instructions and Nomination Form are now available.  Click on the links to access the Nomination Packet and Nomination FormNominations are due May 1, 2010. 
Completed nomination packets must be mailed to CAST and must include 6 printed copies of each of the following: 
  • the completed nomination form;
  • a curriculum vitae of the nominee;
  • a written statement of the candidate’s ability to disseminate research findings to the public that includes
o        a list of pertinent publications,
o        public speaking engagements,
o        television and/or radio appearances,
o        or other media activities within the past 6 years;
  • and a minimum of 5 letters of support in which the references assess the candidate’s ability to communicate science to the public.
Announcements of the Award winner will be published on the CAST website, circulated to CAST members, and distributed to scientific and agricultural news media. The Award consists of a custom bronze created for CAST by internationally noted sculptor Jerry Palen, a cash award, and a travel allowance for the recipient to present his/her message at a major conference.  The custom bronze entitled “A World Supported by Plants and Animals” will be inscribed with the winner’s name and the date of the Award.

CAST is responsible for the selection of the individual to receive the Borlaug CAST Communication Award. Evaluation of the nominees will be made by a committee from the CAST Board of Representatives, appointed by the CAST president.  The Award recipient must attend the presentation event and speak about the key issues on which he or she has focused their research efforts and communication skills.  A written copy of the speech must be submitted to CAST for use in publicizing the Award.  The location and date of the presentation may vary annually.  

Thursday, April 8, 2010

AgChat 4/6

Check out the 4/6 AgChat Summary. Topic: Social Media in Agriculture

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Don't Miss the Opportunity

CAST is hosting a symposium of more than 30 speakers and panelists to address the impacts of regulations on food-animal agriculture at all levels--including economics of production, rural demographics, animal welfare, and societal and global effects--and analyze the intended and unintended consequences of those regulations.  This type of comprehensive, objective analysis has not been available before!  Plan now to attend this free event June 8-10 in Washington, D.C.  The symposium is free, but seating is limited and registration is highly recommended.  On-site registration is available but discouraged due to the time needed for non-government personnel to go through security.  Click on the links below for details.

Symposium Agenda

Thursday, April 1, 2010

AgChat 3/30

Be sure to look through the transcript of this past AgChat, held on 3/30.