UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources hosted the fourth international symposium on "Global Issues in Nutrient Management: Science, Technology and Policy."

Nutrient management

CANR holds symposium addressing global nutrient management issues

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1:36 p.m., Sept. 28, 2011--The University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources hosted the fourth international symposium focusing on “Global Issues in Nutrient Management: Science, Technology and Policy,” from Aug. 21-24. Previous symposia were held in the Netherlands and China, hosted by Wageningnen University and China Agricultural University.

The international symposium addressed global issues and trends in nutrient management and focused on how agricultural management practices, technological advances and global or regional policies affect both nutrient use efficiency in the food chain and the quality of the environment in different parts of the world. More than 100 participants from six different countries attended the symposium.

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Themes of the symposium included worldwide challenges in the management of nutrients to produce a safe and secure food supply while protecting the quality of the global environment; a focus on current issues and trends in nutrient management in China, the European Union and the United States; advances in nutrient management science and technology and the adaptation of recent innovations to meet global needs; and developing national and international policies for nutrient management in today’s rapidly changing global economy.

This year’s plenary speaker was Oene Oenema, a professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and an internationally recognized expert in the field of nutrient management and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, who said that he thought “there were very high quality presentations” at this year’s symposium. 

Oenema arrived for the symposium a day early and was able to walk around the UD campus, which he described as looking “very rich, clean, new, and well maintained.”

Anjan Datta, program officer of the United Nations Environment Program who currently leads the Secretariat of the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), also spoke at the symposium and he said that he thought the symposium offered a great “exchange of information” among experts doing research in different parts of the world. Dutta said that he thought “listening to and learning from different cases” was a very beneficial aspect of the symposium. 

Participants spent four days listening to and participating in talks on diverse topics ranging from “Advances in Nutrient Management for Major Crops in China” to “Nutrient Management Challenges in Africa: Nutrient Scarcity and Soil Degradation Endanger Food Security.” During the symposium, participants were able to engage in discussions and debate a wide range of topics related to nutrient management science, technology and policy.

One highlight of the symposium included a keynote panel discussing the “Nutrient Management Challenges and Progress in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.” Panel participants included members from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania State University, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). 

After listening to the keynote panel on Monday, the participants spent the last day of the symposium taking an up close look at the Chesapeake Bay, a highlight that was thoroughly appreciated, said one of the keynote speakers, Phil Jordan, principal scientist on the Agricultural Catchments Program for Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland, and a faculty member in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Ulster

Jordan said he enjoyed the symposium for the range of topics presented from around the world. He added that he relished the opportunity to take a tour of the Chesapeake Bay as part of the symposium because “I heard a lot of the research [on the Chesapeake Bay] over the years so it’s nice to see these places rather than just read about them.”

The symposium was co-sponsored by UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the University of Pennsylvania, the Delaware Environmental Institute, China Agricultural University, Wageningen University, and UD's Institute for Global Studies

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

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