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February 18, 2013

Hydrologist to speak about fresh water, farming future

Dr. Jay Lehr, a leading authority on groundwater hydrology, will be the featured speaker at an upcoming forum organized by Michiana irrigation company MAISCO.

Lehr will speak about how technological advancements are helping family farmers produce higher yields than ever before while at the same time maintaining renewable, sustainable groundwater resources.

Other topics Lehr will address include the impact of the global economy on agriculture, the future of family farming in America, and challenges farmers are facing in Michiana and beyond. The forum is open to the public and will take place Feb. 26 at 1:30 p.m. at the Matterhorn Conference Center in Elkhart.

“Agriculture is on the cutting edge of all kinds of technology,” Lehr said. “Now, we have the most precise drip irrigation systems, and we know more about when crops need water. Most of the water we irrigate goes back in the ground.” MAISCO has been at the forefront of technological advancements in the irrigation industry, Lehr added.

The forum is part of an ongoing effort by MAISCO to educate the community on agriculture and irrigation-related topics. MAISCO President Dan Ganger said it is vital to inform farmers and the general public about these subjects and sought out Lehr specifically for that purpose.

“After the growing season of 2012, Dr. Lehr was the first and most qualified scientist to talk about not only challenges we faced last season but also potential challenges we may have in future seasons,” Ganger said.

Lehr has served as executive director of the National Groundwater Association and the Association for Groundwater Scientists and Engineers. After earning a degree in geological engineering from Princeton University, he received one of the nation’s first Ph.D.s in groundwater hydrology from the University of Arizona. An author and sought-after speaker, Lehr has also worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, and has taught at the University of Arizona and The Ohio State University.

The Matterhorn Conference Center is located at 2041 Cassopolis St., Elkhart. For more information on the Feb. 26 forum, contact Derek Smith at 574-862-6163 or derekmsmith@frontier.com.

For more information on Lehr, visit www.jaylehr.com. For more information on MAISCO, visit www.maisco.net.

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Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

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