The Stripling Irrigation Research Park works closely with a number of like-minded universities, agencies (federal and state), organizations, industry partners, etc. to develop, adapt, test, and or evaluate tools, technologies, and techniques to help Georgia irrigators become more efficient and effective. These collaborations enable Stripling Park and the collaboration partner to both extend their respective reach, impact and effectiveness.
Flint River Basin Partnership
SIRP works with the Flint River Basin Partnership primarily on ag water conservation issues and projects. The Flint River Basin Partnership is an agricultural water conservation initiative pioneered by the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District (FRSWCD), USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and The Nature Conservancy – Georgia. The partnership was designed to help farmers in the Lower Flint River Basin of Georgia conserve water using new and innovative irrigation technology.
The FRSWCD has been a national leader in the promotion and implementation of ag water conservation practices by obtaining federal funding through NRCS programs such as AWEP, EQIP, CIG, etc. The funding obtained is usually distributed in the form of incentives (cost-shares). Practices promoted by the District and on which SIRP collaborates include low pressure drop-nozzle retrofits, remote soil moisture monitoring, conservation tillage, and Variable-Rate Irrigation.
The USDA-NRCS provides technical assistance and funding directly via programs such as EQIP as well as through programs like AWEP and grants via the CIG program. NRCS directs these efforts in Georgia to conservation practices such as remote soil moisture monitoring, Variable-Rate Irrigation, low pressure drop-nozzle retrofits, and sod-based rotation.
The Nature Conservancy – Georgia has been actively involved for several years in promoting conservation practices at the “grassroots level”. The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to “pursue non-confrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges”. It is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. TNC-GA has been working with the Partnership to promote water conservation to help maintain river and stream habitat through practices such as Variable-Rate Irrigation and remote soil moisture monitoring.
University of Florida
SIRP collaborated with Dr. Diane Rowland, UF Agronomy Department, in the use of her new PeanutFARM (Peanut Field Agronomic Resource Manager). This is an online “group of tools aimed at helping growers manage peanut development and maturity by tracking adjusted growing degree days (aGDD).” SIRP used FARM to schedule irrigation (and beta test the tool) in the Newton Lateral South peanut area in 2013.
SIRP has collaborated for several years with Dr. David Wright at UF’s North Florida Research and Education Center at Quincy. Dr. Wright has been a pioneer in research on sod-based rotations and is also using VRI in his research.
SIRP also hosted a research site for Mauricio Núñez-Regueiro, graduate student in UF’s Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department.
In 2013, SIRP was pleased to work with Dr. Brenda Ortiz of Auburn’s Agronomy and Soils Department on corn irrigation scheduling. Dr. Ortiz is a former UGA graduate student.
Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL)
For several years, SIRP has hosted the annual class of IGEL for information sharing on southwest Georgia agriculture, in particular irrigation and water resources. IGEL “facilitates leadership in collaborative problem-solving to preserve and enhance the environment in the state of Georgia.” SIRP takes the class participants on a field tour of research plots and also hosts a guest presenter in the conference room.
Southeast Climate Consortium (SECC)
SIRP was the host site for the 8th workshop of the Tri-state Climate Working Group for Row Crop Agriculture on August 8th, 2013. (SIRP also hosted the first workshop in 2010). The broad aim of this climate learning network is to create a space for on-going interactions among row crop stakeholders at a regional scale (SE USA) to identify and assess adaptation options that can reduce climate-related risks. Researchers from the Florida Climate Institute and the Southeast Climate Consortium (SECC) coordinate and facilitate the Tri-state group with support through a USDA-NIFA-funded project. The Southeast Climate Consortium mission is “to use advances in climate sciences, including improved capabilities to forecast seasonal climate and long-term climate change, to provide scientifically sound information and decision support tools for agricultural ecosystems, forests and other terrestrial ecosystems, and coastal ecosystems of the Southeastern USA.”