Kansas State University Researcher Secures $500K Grant for Climate-Smart Agriculture

By Trish Svoboda

A researcher from the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at Kansas State University is working on a tool to safeguard Kansas’ water resources used in agriculture. This tool will be capable of simulating potential future climate conditions, providing farmers with knowledge and insights to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices.

Vaishali Sharda, an assistant professor in the Carl and Melinda Helwig Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, has been granted an award exceeding $500,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Early Career Development Program, also known as the CAREER award. This funding will be used to further develop and perfect these models.

The five-year initiative, titled “CAS-Climate: Multiscale Data and Model Synthesis Informed Approach for Assessing Climate Resilience of Crop Production Systems,” aims to develop an all-in-one system. This system is designed to assist farmers in more effectively conserving water resources and managing nutrients and soil. It achieves this by integrating data from ground-based sensors with satellite and remotely sensed data. “Ensuring the sustainability of water resources, especially under a changing climate and increasingly extreme weather conditions, necessitates a shift in farming practices,” Sharda said. “There is a need to integrate scientific and engineering expertise, assess a range of scenarios, and develop resilience metrics to prolong the viability of nonrenewable water resources.”

The project aims to enhance research and educational capabilities for the development and refinement of modeling abilities across various spatial and temporal scales. This will be achieved by connecting diverse data sources with an innovative modeling framework that can produce a range of results for crop production under potential future climate conditions.

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