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Northeast Specialty Crop Water Symposium

The Northeast Specialty Crop Water Symposium was conceived to bring professionals working in specialty crops and water resources in other U.S. regions or agricultural sectors together.

The Symposium was held on December 19th and 20th, 2019 in Burlington, Vermont. At the Symposium, we gathered researchers and agricultural advisors focused on water and specialty crops in order to increase coordination, develop new research programs, and improve the quality of outreach. The Symposium was designed to facilitate information sharing and learning across relevant disciplines, with a focus on developing applied recommendations for specialty crop growers in this region.

Invited speakers at the Symposium presented on a wide range of topics, from evaluation and tracking of Northeast water resources to new, innovative monitoring systems. Special emphasis was placed on rising to meet the challenges of a changing climate, as a region that has historically enjoyed agricultural water security transitions towards a different reality. Additionally, select presenters from across the United States were invited to share the characteristic challenges of their region, so that Northeast participants could learn from successful responses to these challenges. Presentation abstracts are included in these proceedings, as well as links to slides from many of the lectures.

A facilitated planning session conducted in the second half of the Symposium led to a list of high priority research and outreach opportunities. Research gaps identified by the professional participants in this session included topics such as (1) how genetic diversity and crop breeding can be leveraged to address an uncertain water future; (2) how to best characterize the relationship between agricultural climate adaptation strategies and risk reduction; and (3) an assessment of accuracy and cost effectiveness for soil moisture sensors and other farm-based adaptation approaches. Key outreach and education gaps were also identified by participants, including the need for (1) crop insurance that works better for small and diversified producers; (2) additional professional development opportunities for agricultural advisors around irrigation scheduling and strategic investments in water efficiency technology; (3) ways to better prepare for the types of extreme weather that affect the Northeast; and (4) how to optimize soil moisture monitoring across diverse crops.

Conference proceedings

Excerpt from Northeast Specialty Crop Water Symposium - Introduction, page 3

Schattman, R. E., Faulkner, J. W., & Bradshaw, T., Eds. (2020). Proceedings of the Northeast Specialty Crop Water Symposium [pp. 1-67]. Burlington, Vermont. DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.12383003