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Enhancing productivity in a changing climate

Agronomy and Crop Societies meeting addresses pressing issues

American Society of Agronomy

The American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society will hold their annual meeting Nov. 4-7, 2018, in Baltimore, MD. The theme of the meeting is "Enhancing Productivity in a Changing Climate." The Canadian Society of Agronomy is also collaborating.

Jules Pretty, author and professor at University of Essex, will be the opening speaker. "Climate change represents a major threat to our ability to feed a growing world population," says Gary Pierzynski, president-elect of ASA. "Jules Pretty is an internationally-renowned expert in sustainable intensification, which represents a key approach in meeting world food demand and aligns perfectly with the theme of our annual meeting." Pierzynski is a professor at The Ohio State University.

Pretty will review a new global assessment he worked on with scientists from 17 universities and institutes across the UK, USA, Sweden, Ethiopia, and New Zealand. "The study shows that the sustainable intensification of agricultural systems offers synergistic opportunities for the co-production of agricultural and natural capital outcomes," says Pretty. "We offer a model of change, suggesting that Efficiency and Substitution can be helpful steps towards sustainable intensification, but the need now is for system Redesign.... The benefits of both scientific and farmer input into technologies and practices that combine crops and animals with appropriate agro-ecological and agronomic management are increasingly evident." Pretty's presentation will be Sunday, Nov. 4 at 6pm.

Meagan Schipanski will present the ASA Plenary and Van York Lectureship on Monday, Nov. 5. She will review "how increasing diversity within cropping systems can address the challenges above of reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture, reducing production risks, and climate change mitigation and adaptation using examples from across more humid and water-limited regions in the US. Specific data will include results from cover crop studies in Pennsylvania and crop rotation studies on non-irrigated farms in the semi-arid High Plains." Schipanski is a professor at Colorado State University.

Creating research with an impact is the topic of Wayne Hanna's lecture. He will present the CSSA Plenary and Betty Klepper Lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 6. "Impact results when our efforts drive new scientific approach, stimulate students to think and learn to solve problems, or when they directly affect the consumer," says Hanna. "Remember, we have not learned the best way to do anything yet. There is always a better way, but it is up to us to find it." Hanna is a professor at University of Georgia.

The closing keynote will be presented by David Montgomery. He is a MacArthur Fellow and professor at the University of Washington, as well as an author. He will discuss findings from his recent book, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.

For more information about the 2018 meeting, visit Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 15, 2018 is required. Visit for registration information. To read more about all the keynote speakers, visit

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091,, to arrange an interview.


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