CFAES Research Conference Is Friday, Will Focus on Water Quality


WOOSTER, Ohio — The 2018 Annual Research Conference of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will dive into water, including Lake Erie and agriculture’s role in protecting it.

The event, set for Friday, April 27, in Wooster, will feature 16 speakers on the theme “Meeting the Water Quality Challenge: Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Science to Improve Water Quality in Ohio.”

The conference is from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Shisler Conference Center at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), 1680 Madison Ave. OARDC is part of CFAES’s Wooster campus.

Keynote speakers from Arkansas, Iowa

The speakers will be from CFAES and Ohio’s agricultural community, with the keynote speakers coming from the University of Arkansas and Iowa State University.

Arkansas’s Andrew Sharpley will present “Agriculture, Phosphorus and Water Quality: Managing Tradeoffs and Transferring Science to Farmers” as the conference’s Steven A. Slack Lecture on Innovative Research in AgBioSciences.

Sharpley is a distinguished professor of soils and water quality at Arkansas, where his research focuses on nutrient cycling in soil-water-plant systems and its relation to agricultural production and water quality.

Iowa State’s J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr., also a keynote speaker, will discuss “Social Science Contributions to Interdisciplinary Research and Extension Collaborations: Benefits and Challenges.” 

Arbuckle is an associate professor and Extension sociologist at Iowa State, where he works to improve the environmental and social performance of agricultural systems. His research focuses mainly on farmers’ decision-making and actions related to soil and water quality.

Phosphorus from fertilizer and manure runoff is one of the causes of the harmful algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie and other water bodies in recent years. The blooms have hurt tourism, recreation, real-estate values and aquatic life, and sometimes they produce toxins that make water unsafe to drink, as happened in Toledo for several days in 2014.

Ohio stakeholder panel discussion

Also during the conference, a stakeholder panel will discuss the shared challenges of agriculture and water quality. The panel members will be Adam Sharp, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau; Tim Derickson, assistant director, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Tom Fontana, research and education director, Ohio Soybean Council; and Christopher Winslow, director of the Ohio State-based Ohio Sea Grant program and CFAES’s Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie.

Latest CFAES water research

Eight CFAES faculty will give brief “lightning round” presentations on their research, including efforts to evaluate algal blooms’ economic impacts, reduce the environmental impacts of manure, determine if algal bloom toxins are getting into fish and irrigated vegetables, reduce phosphorus use on crop fields, and evaluate the effects of algal blooms on fish and fishing.

Doug Jackson-Smith, water security professor in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, will report on the college’s Water Quality Task Force.

Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES, will give opening comments and an update on CFAES.

An awards presentation and research poster viewing will follow the speaker program.

More information

Reporters and the public are welcome to attend. They should sign in at the conference’s registration table when they arrive. Admission is free.

More information on the conference is available at or 330-263-3701.

CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

Dave Benfield, Director, CFAES Wooster