Fresno State, with its Center for Irrigation Technology, is one five universities and a number of industry partners that have been collectively awarded a $5 million grant to launch the Irrigation Innovation Consortium to accelerate the development and adoption of water and energy-efficient technologies.

The grant is sponsored by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research non-profit organization. The grant will be matched by Fresno State and other consortium partners to raise the total initial investment to $10 million over five years.

Public sector researchers and industry partners will co-develop, test, prototype and improve innovations, equipment, technology and decision and information systems designed to equip farms of the future with cutting-edge technologies and strategies to enhance irrigation efficiency.

The program also creates a platform for consortium partners and federal agencies such as the  Agricultural Research Service within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work together on critical water challenges facing the industry. Knowledge gained will be shared publicly through publications, workshops, seminars and other outlets.

“We expect this collaboration of university and industry researchers will help producers and the irrigation community to continue to be more efficient in food production and water management — something the Central Valley prides itself on in being a leader nationally,” said Dr. David Zoldoske, project manager for Fresno State. “Our campus water and energy technology researchers and facilities can provide critical leadership in the areas of field and laboratory testing, materials, proof of concept, prototype development and value engineering.”

Initial research priorities include water and energy efficiency, remote sensing and big data applications for improving water management, irrigation technology acceleration and technology transfer.

The consortium also includes Fresno-based Jain Irrigation, Modesto-based Rubicon Water, the Irrigation Association, Lindsay Corporation and Northern Water.

Other participating university research programs are based at Colorado State University, Kansas State University, University of Nebraska and Texas A&M University.

The consortium was officially launched April 27 at the Water in the West Symposium hosted by Colorado State. Plans for the consortium began in April 2017 at the Daugherty Water for Food Institute’s Global Conference hosted by Nebraska.

More information on the consortium is available by contacting Madeleine O’Connor at or 202.590.7613.