Drainage symposium brings international expertise to Des Moines

August 10, 2022

AMES, Iowa — Drainage experts from around the world will convene in Des Moines, in person, Aug. 31- Sept. 2, to discuss agricultural drainage opportunities and solutions to challenges at the 11th International Drainage Symposium.

The event will be held at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. The conference is co-endorsed by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the Soil and Water Conservation Society, with many co-sponsors.

Drainage research, practice design, history, implementation and policy will be among the topics covered during more than 85 presentations representing researchers and practitioners from nine countries and 10 states. Several sessions will discuss research projects originating in Iowa, and field tours the final day will highlight examples of innovative drainage-related work in central Iowa.

Featured speakers include an opening panel, August 31, representing the University of Illinois, USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub, the engineering firm ISG, Inc., and the Land Improvement Contractors of Ontario. That day's luncheon speaker is Rob Burtonshaw of Farm Services, Ltd., a leading drainage contractor in the United Kingdom. 

An associated workshop, Aug. 30, will also be offered on the DRAINMOD 7.0: Modeling Hydrology, Crop Yield, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Dynamics in Drained Lands.

There will also be posters and industry exhibits, a young professionals mixer and a Drainage Hall of Fame banquet.

Online registration ends Aug. 19. 

“We are excited to host this special event in Iowa,” said symposium co-chair Matt Helmers, Iowa Nutrient Research Center director and Iowa State University Extension Drainage Specialist. “In addition to the impressive line-up of speakers from around the world and the U.S., we are very pleased to be able to offer two field tours that will include INRC-supported research projects.”

A detailed draft agenda is available at: https://www.swcs.org/media/cms/Draft_Detailed_Agenda_6AC7B2B40B6C5.pdf

“The challenge of increasing agricultural production on the world's poorly drained soils in a changing climate, with ever-increasing water quality and quantity concerns, will require technical, economic, policy and social perspectives. This symposium will represent all these aspects of drainage and more,” said symposium co-chair Chris Hay, senior research scientist at the Iowa Soybean Association.

The International Drainage Symposium has been held about every five years since 1965. Past conferences have taken place in Chicago; Minneapolis; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; Orlando, Florida; Sacramento, California; and Nashville, Tennessee. 

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