RIFFIN (pronounced “Rifin”) — The University of Georgia’s Griffin campus is constructing a demonstration irrigation site where industry professionals, homeowners, and researchers will be able to see new irrigation technologies in action.
Ground was broken on the project on March 28 as part of a collaboration between the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, UGA Cooperative Extension’s Urban Water Management program, and irrigation companies Hunter Industries, Rain Bird, and Torro /Irritol.
The Center for Urban Agriculture’s Rolando Orellana, an urban water management agent, has been working on the project for more than two years and is pleased with the progress made so far.
“This site is being developed to be used for training, research, and education; it will give us the opportunity to develop extension educational programs,” Orellana stated. At this event, landscape, hardscape, and irrigation manufacturers can display their latest products and methods for dealing with water-related issues.
In total, four 30-by-30-foot plots will be used for the experimentation. Investors will be given three of the plots to showcase their latest products and technology. Professors and graduate students at the University of Georgia-Griffin will use the fourth plot for research purposes. For the first time, researchers and students, as well as members of the general public, will be involved in this demonstration, according to Orellana.
“We are planning to host landscapers, agriculture agents, homeowners, and master gardeners who are interested in water efficiency programs,” he said. “We will be able to demonstrate how to troubleshoot issues that may arise and how to achieve water efficiency.”
Orellana said that 90 percent of the funding for the site came from the industries involved, either in the form of monetary or in-kind donations, adding that it was proof of the relationships UGA has developed over the years. The remainder of the funding comes from the University of Georgia Extension.
There are “strong partnerships” between UGA and the business community, he said. “We’re aware that urban agriculture and extension need facilities or training tools to better show off options available to homeowners and irrigation businesses. That’s what this site will do. “
In his remarks, Orellana expressed gratitude to those who worked on the project, including Dan Suiter, chair of the Urban Agriculture Commission; UGA-Griffin Field Research Services; and UGA-Griffin Facilities Management Division, as well as industry partners such as the Georgia Arborist Association and the Georgia Green Industry Association; Moreno Landscape; North Georgia Turf; Rain Bird; Rainmaker Irrigation; Torro/Irritol; and the Urban Agriculture Council.
It is anticipated that the project will be completed before the summer.
Several Southern land-grant universities, including UGA, are working together to find practical solutions that conserve natural resources, feed a growing world population, and raise the standard of living for everyone.
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