To explore new ideas and initiate novel research programs, the College of Agricultural Sciences is funding six research proposals that address challenges common across Colorado agriculture. The Solutions to Colorado Commodity Challenges grants aim to enhance creative and innovative agricultural research, encourage partnerships with stakeholders, and catalyze the development of interdisciplinary teams.
“Addressing wicked problems like climate resiliency is not something we can do with just one kind of science,” said Jan Leach, associate dean for research in the College of Agricultural Sciences, noting that the research aligns with Colorado State University’s Courageous Strategic Transformation vision to cultivate a sustainable, thriving planet and a flourishing humanity.
Solving the problem of how to feed a growing population while sustaining and regenerating the natural resources that support agriculture requires solutions that are both environmentally sustainable and economically and socially viable.
The grants are focused on bringing together producers, growers and other stakeholders into the conversation to generate research topics that specifically address the needs of agriculture in Colorado.
A focus on climate resiliency and agrivoltaics
Climate resiliency is defined as adaptation to variations in climate patterns. There is an urgent need to discover, develop and scale innovations in agriculture, such as drought mitigation strategies and soil carbon capture, to ensure food security and sustainability for a growing population.
Agrivoltaics is the co-location of agriculture and photovoltaics (e.g., solar panels) and has the potential to benefit growers in both crop productivity and farm profitability. Solar panels provide partial shade for the crops being grown below, which can help protect plants from heat extremes and increase water efficiency. Additionally, farmers add another revenue stream to their operation through solar energy production. Agrivoltaics is an exciting, emerging field with potential for positive impact in both the agricultural and renewable energy sectors, but more research is needed.
Funding for the Solutions to Colorado Commodity Challenges was made possible by a generous donation from Nutrien. These grants will facilitate initial research in these areas to increase the competitiveness of the projects for future external funding.