Texas Tech University agricultural experts have expressed the growing need for training students in the latest irrigation technologies to enhance the efficiency of water use.
In response, the university’s College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) will offer an undergraduate agricultural water management certificate to provide courses on efficient and profitable management of water for agricultural purposes, with emphasis on irrigation technologies.
“The undergraduate agricultural water management certificate is equally available to degree-seeking undergraduates and non-degree-seeking working adults,” said Chuck West, the Thornton Distinguished Chair in the Department of Plant and Soil Science and administrator of the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation(TAWC). “All courses take place on campus, and require enrolling in the university, even if just for one course.”
The certificate program was conceived by the TAWC, a water-management outreach project housed within CASNR, to bolster education of the agricultural workforce. Starting this spring, the certificate program will consist of a series of courses, totaling 15 hours, that cover aspects of water management and conservation.
A new course called the Irrigation Management Seminar will be offered every fall semester and is designed to meet the workforce needs of key stakeholders in agriculture such as producers, equipment providers, consultants and government agencies.
The certificate curriculum will provide students with information related to managing water for growing crops and other plants for horticultural and turf uses. The irrigation course will provide technical background on soil and plant sciences, the mechanics of irrigation equipment, use of programs to control and schedule irrigation and exposure to economic and regulatory aspects that guide irrigation use.
West said that while the certificate provides documentation of continuing education for those already in the workforce, it also allows traditional students the opportunity to further emphasize an area in the same department as their major as distinct from a minor, which can only be done in a department outside that of their major.