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Producers receive Farmers Union President’s Award

Nebraska Notebook: Water for Food Institute issues annual report, highlighting goals.

December 17, 2021

2 Min Read
Rows of immature corn plants
WATER FOR FOOD: A new annual report from the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute looks at research on water quantity and quality issues across the globe. Curt Arens

The Nebraska Farmers Union recently completed the organization’s 108th annual state convention, using a virtual Zoom format. During the convention, members elected John Hansen to his 17th two-year term as state president, continuing a legacy for Hansen at the helm of the group for 32 years, dating back to 1990.

The President’s Award is NeFU’s highest award, and it is presented to individuals who provide outstanding service and leadership to family farmers, ranchers and rural communities at the state or national levels. 

This year’s President’s Award winner was retiring NeFU board of director Jim Knopik and his wife, Carolyn, of Belgrade, Neb.

“For many decades, Jim and Carolyn have shown an amazing commitment to support and serve family farmers, ranchers and the rural community,” Hansen said. “Rural Nebraska is a better place thanks to their efforts. They are great role models. We are grateful for their service and dedication.”

Learn more online at

Water for Food Global Institute issues report

The Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska has released its 2021 annual report online, showcasing the institute’s work over the past year — both local and global — related to water and food security.

Every day, nearly 1 billion people in the world are food insecure, without enough safe and nutritious food to lead healthy and active lives. Many of them are also water insecure, without reliable access to an adequate amount of clean water to meet their needs. This situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The mission of DWFI — to secure more nutritious food with less stress on our scarce water resources — is more relevant and urgent than ever,” said Peter G. McCornick, DWFI executive director.

With a decade of experience, and together with its faculty fellows, supported students and partners, the institute has become a global leader in enhancing knowledge, fostering future leaders and developing effective techniques to sustainably manage water and increase food security.

DWFI was founded to leverage the expertise of Nebraska and UNL and extend it with strong state, national and international partnerships. The 2021 annual report highlights research impacts from the institute and its partners to expand and accelerate efforts to produce more nutritious food with less water; catalyze the development and deployment of solutions to the next generation of producers, water managers and entrepreneurs; strengthen water and food systems to adapt to water-related shocks; and reverse the widespread trend of water-quality degradation.

The report is now available online at

Highlights include:

  • With a $5 million gift, the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and DWFI launched a program on water, climate and health.

  • New agricultural water management tools used DWFI’s GloDET and SETMI products to create synergistic systems, supporting producers and helping achieve critical global food production goals.

  • The new agricultural water economics team advanced water policy.

  • Nebraska nitrate working groups tackle persistent drinking water contamination.

  • DWFI led a smallholder sustainable irrigation entrepreneurship project in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Research continued on Nebraska’s intricate aquifer system.

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