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Water management engineer to Rice Research and Extension Center

Christopher Henry accepts position as a water management engineer with the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, Ark. Henry to develop irrigation and water management research and Extension programs.

Christopher Henry, an Extension engineer at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, has accepted a position as a water management engineer with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Rice Research and Extension Center, effective November 28.

Lalit Verma, head of the department of biological and agricultural engineering for the Division of Agriculture and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said Henry will develop irrigation and water management research and Extension programs.

Irrigation is an economic necessity for at least part of any row crop farm in Arkansas. Increased demand for water for irrigation and for municipal and industrial use has resulted in declining aquifer levels in some areas.

"Dr. Henry will work with other Division research and Extension faculty members and other agencies to better equip farmers and others to efficiently manage and conserve water resources," Verma said.

Chuck Wilson, interim director of the Rice Research and Extension Center, said innovative research and extension programs are needed to help farmers reduce irrigation costs, improve crop yields and reduce the amount of groundwater drawn from aquifers.

The U.S. Geological Survey and Arkansas Natural Resources Commission have determined that the rate at which groundwater is being pumped from two major aquifers in parts of eastern and southern Arkansas is unsustainable. The Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer, which furnishes most irrigation water in the region, and the deeper Sparta Aquifer, which is tapped for industrial, municipal and irrigation uses, are at risk, the agencies say.

Henry received a Ph.D. degree in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Nebraska in 2009. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in biological and agricultural engineering from Kansas State University.

As an Extension engineer in Nebraska, Henry develops and implements programs to help livestock producers control runoff of nutrients from manure into streams and manage odor emissions from feedlots.

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