The federal government of Argentina is embarking on major plans to further develop agricultural production and productivity and the country’s water management and irrigation infrastructure, as well as efforts to improve rural sanitation and poverty reduction.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln welcomed a high-level delegation from the Argentine government and senior leaders from the Agricultural Ministries of Buenos Aires Province and Cordoba Province to discuss areas for mutual cooperation in water resources management and governance, innovations in irrigation and related technologies such as remote sensing, crop improvement, and efforts to enhance soil health along with efforts to improve carbon sequestration.
The July 11-14 visit to Lincoln followed discussions Chancellor Ronnie Green concluded in May of this year in Buenos Aires with Argentine Ministries, Argentina’s National Institute of Agriculture Technology, CONICET (Argentina’s National Science Foundation), the University of Buenos Aires, and the U.S.-Argentina Fulbright Commission.
UNL enjoys good relations with many of these institutions and with other universities and researchers in Argentina. With the advent of the new government in Argentina, the chancellor wanted to express his interest in expanding mutually advantageous relations.
As Green noted in meetings with the group, UNL and Nebraska have much in common with Argentina. Shared agricultural interests in beef cattle, corn, soybeans, and wheat make the two sides real collaborators in the global effort to assure worldwide food security and improve nutrition for a global population that is expected to grow to 9 billion people by 2050.
Pablo Bereciartua, Argentina’s under secretary of water resources in the Ministry of Interior, stated during the Lincoln visit, “Without a partnership in agriculture between Argentina and Nebraska and nations like Brazil there is little hope of feeding the world.”
In addition to Bereciartua, the group was led by Luis Maria Urriza, under secretary of the Ministry of Agroindustry; Esteban Llavallol, director of technology and research in the Ministry of Agroindustry; Juan Cruz Molina, secretary of agriculture for Cordoba Province’s Ministry of Agriculture; and Miguel Tezanos Pinto, under secretary of agriculture for Buenos Aires Province’s Department of Agriculture. Martin Pasman, Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute adviser and president of Valmont Argentina, accompanied the delegation.
The group met with Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Director of Agriculture Greg Ibach during their time in Lincoln and they also visited UNL’s Agricultural Research and Development Center in Mead, the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, the West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte, and the Paulman Farms operation in Sutherland.
Representatives from the Nebraska Association of Natural Resource Districts, Big Blue NRD, Central Platte NRD, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Services and the Water for Food Global Institute spent considerable time discussing water management, policy and soil sustainability with the delegation.
Primarily, however, the visit focused on UNL’s capacity in water and irrigation science and engineering, increasing crop productivity, plant breeding, and strengthening plant stress tolerance, drought mitigation and drought warning systems, extension services, agricultural economics, and remote and in-soil sensing and data interpretation.
On July 14, Green hosted the delegation and a group of Nebraska business leaders who are key players in irrigation technology, crop science and agricultural equipment manufacturing. At the dinner, Green said, “In Nebraska, public-private partnerships with business, state government, the community and UNL is part of our DNA.” He said UNL would continue to work with Nebraska partners in the livestock and agricultural sectors, businesses and state government to advance the state and Argentina’s mutual interests.