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Capitol Hill Exhibit Highlights Food & Water Security

The AMS sponsored an exhibit at the 23rd annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Exhibition & Reception on Capitol Hill held on May 16, 2017. Lea Jenkins, Clemson University, made a presentation entitled “Berry Smart: Mathematics for Food and Water Security” describing her team’s work on helping farmers manage crop portfolios and maintain profitability while minimizing water usage.

This team of researchers, sponsored by the American Institute of Mathematics and supported by the National Science Foundation, includes Lea Jenkins (Clemson University) and Kathleen Fowler Kavanagh (Clarkson University), as well as hydrologists, computer scientists, farmers and other stakeholders. The team was interested in designing a plan that would minimize water usage for crops yet still make a profit for the farmers and also meet consumer demand. The mathematical models created incorporate data such as plant growth properties and water requirements of different crops to identify which crops to plant, how much acreage to devote to specific crops, the best time to plant the selected crops, and which areas to leave unplanted.

These models could apply broadly to farms of varying size. Next steps in the research will introduce more complexity and different farming scenarios into the problem, including simulating multi-farm agricultural environments, incorporating models for livestock farms, evaluating the impact of changes in irrigation practices and irrigation sources.

For more information on this research, see the AMS Mathematical Moments and listen to the podcast at

More information can also be found at the Clemson University Newsstand

CNSF is an alliance of over 140 professional societies, universities and corporations (including the AMS) united by a concern for the future vitality of the national science, mathematics and engineering enterprise. CNSF supports the goal of increasing the national investment in the National Science Foundation's research and education programs.

Previous AMS exhibits at CNSF Exhibitions include:

For information on the annual CNSF Exhibition & Reception, please visit the CNSF website.