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Horticulture webinar series to promote plant biosecurity, water, and environmental sustainability


Water irrigation system. Water irrigation system

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 26, 2013 – The National Institute of Food and Agriculture-Specialty Crop Research Initiative will launch a 14-session webinar series on Oct. 8, to promote safe water recycling in the horticulture industry.

Water recycling is essential to secure an adequate supply of quality irrigation water and reduce environmental footprint. But this practice can potentially recycle and spread destructive pathogens from isolated infections to an entire farm, resulting in severe crop losses in a short period of time.

The webinar series presents the latest research data that are crucial to addressing crop health, water, and environmental sustainability, three interconnected issues of national significance. The project is a joint venture between Virginia Tech, Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, University of California-Riverside, Christopher Newport University, Rutgers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

Specifically, this series will focus on mitigating the risks of spreading pathogens during irrigation and ways to improve recycled water quality. Areas of discussion will center on the following questions:

  • Why is the capture and re-use of surface runoff important to secure an adequate supply of quality irrigation water while reducing nonpoint source pollution?
  • How may this practice potentially impact water quality and recycle and spread destructive pathogens?
  • What are the major steps to be taken and current technologies available to address irrigation pathogen and water quality problems?
  • What is the best way to maximize water treatment dollars?
  • What are the best designs to build an irrigation system that recycles water but not pathogens?
  • What are other long-term solutions to curbing the spread of pathogens via irrigation water?  

A schedule and connection details of this webinar series are available online or email Chuan Hong, project director.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.

Written by Amy Loeffler.

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