OSU-Cascades Science Pub looks at the intersection of farming and technology

NEWAg Laboratory, Technology and Farming, Chad Higgins, Oregon State University
The NEWAg Laboratory team studies the physical, operational and geospatial tradeoffs where energy, water and food intersect.
Oct. 3, 2018

Technology increases efficiency, productivity, control and automation in nearly every industry, including agriculture. At Oregon State University – Cascades’ next Science Pub, OSU researcher Chad Higgins will explore the potential of cutting-edge technology solutions in farming during a presentation titled “Future Farms: Technology in the Field.”

The Science Pub will take place on Oct. 16 in Father Luke’s Room at McMenamins Old St. Francis in Bend.

An associate professor in the biological and ecological engineering department in OSU’s College of Agriculture Sciences, Higgins leads the Nexus of Energy, Water and Agriculture, or NEWAg, Laboratory. NEWAg studies the physical, operational and geospatial tradeoffs where energy, water and food intersect.

The research team is currently exploring whether radio-frequency identification devices, commonly used to track inventory in retail stores, can generate round-the-clock, area-wide pictures of soil moisture in fields. The data could help farmers fine-tune planting and irrigation schedules.

The NEWAg research team is also using unmanned aerial systems, or drones, to record light reflected from plant leaves and to translate the information gathered into indications of stress, which could also be of value to farmers.

Higgins holds degrees in biological engineering, mechanical engineering and environmental engineering. He uses instrumentation, simulation techniques and mathematical approaches to advance precision in areas from agriculture to snow science. 

OSU-Cascades Science Pubs engage community members in the work underway by Oregon State University researchers and scholars.

Science Pubs take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Networking, and food and beverage service begin at 5:30 p.m., and the presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. Science Pubs are free to community members, but reservations are required. Space is limited to 100 guests. 

Register by 5 p.m. the day prior to each Science Pub at osucascades.edu/sciencepubs.

Note to Editors: A digital image is available for download and use with this article: https://bit.ly/2zOHJiv.

About OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s campus in Bend, Ore. features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant economy and abundant natural resources. Nearly 20 undergraduate majors, 30 minors and options, and three graduate programs include computer science, energy systems engineering, kinesiology, hospitality management, and tourism, recreation and adventure leadership. OSU-Cascades expanded to a four-year university in 2015; its new campus opened in 2016.