Maynard Herron 2017-06-28 00:19:00
Looking both ways: The past year and coming events This presidential year has flown by, and it has been great to see the diversity of activities that agricultural and biological engineers are involved in. With few exceptions, all these activities relate to food, water, energy, or the environment, and usually involve several areas. My highlights from the past year include attending the many regional and state section meetings and conferences that ASABE either sponsors or is involved with, all emphasizing member involvement. The enthusiasm and talent evidenced by our pre-professionals and young professionals at these events have reassured me that our Society is in good hands as we adapt to the challenges of the coming years. The Engineering and Technology Innovation for Global Food Security conference in South Africa was a great forum on the many issues related to food security, and it provided reassurance that technologies already exist to address the challenges that we face. ABE professionals will play key roles in the implementation of these technologies, as well as the development of new technologies. Application of regionally appropriate technologies, combined with cultural and political innovations that remove gender barriers to credit, education, and risk management, and the elimination of drudgery in agriculture, will make significant improvements in food security. Precision agriculture, including new sensor systems and data analysis techniques, will play a significant role as well. Advanced application methods and precise control of autonomous vehicles will improve output per unit of input while reducing loss of inputs and environmental concerns. Improvements in storage, preservation, and quality assessment will help reduce worldwide post-harvest food loss, which is currently greater than 30%. On the administrative front, ASABE staff and member committees have been hard at work adapting our publications activities to meet future needs, as well as reimagining our online presence and digital strategy to keep pace. Another group has been working on a long-term strategy for Foundation support. Activities related to ASABE’s Global Initiative to provide sustainable solutions for food, water, energy, and a healthy environment are also ongoing, with planning underway for a Global Water Security conference, which will be held in India in October 2018. An Energy Security conference is being evaluated for 2020, and work continues to build partnerships with our sister societies both domestically and internationally. The 2017 AIM in Spokane, Wash., promises to be another great meeting, featuring student competitions, technical presentations, meetings of 125+ technical committees, a keynote presentation on Food Security, and panel discussions on the FEW Nexus, as well as opportunities to network, establish new contacts, and make new friends in the profession. I look forward to seeing you in Spokane. I appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to serve as your President this past year, and I look forward to the continued success of our Society’s activities and the ongoing contributions toward our Global Initiative.
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