Not only will our world in the coming decades have possibly two billion more people consuming significantly more food, that food will need to be produced in harsher climates with less water. Solutions to such daunting realities are at the heart of the work of the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR).
The college's global reach and regional impact were among the topics on the University Spotlight on KUNR's Beyond the Headlines (air date 11-6-15). University Provost Kevin Carman visited with CABNR Dean Bill Payne about sustainable dryland agriculture in an arid state like Nevada, similar to conditions where the majority of the world's population lives.
Interviewed by KUNR's David Stipech, Carman and Payne also discussed CABNR's broader mission and harnessing its diverse specialties, researchers and scientists to address food production and other global issues, along with regional issues of wild fires and drought.
Background from the University of Nevada, Reno
Following a national search and recruitment process, William "Bill" Payne joined the University of Nevada, Reno in February 2014 as the new dean of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources.
Payne came to the university from Texas A&M University, where he was a professor of crop physiology and director of a multi-institutional, $150 million research endeavor aimed at improving food security and livelihoods in the dry areas of the world.
As dean, Payne also became director of the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station, which conducts basic and applied research, programs and collaborations to enhance the sustainability of Nevada's agriculture industry. The Agricultural Experiment Station operates eight field laboratories around the state.
"I'm excited about this position for several reasons," Payne said. "I am impressed by the very high standards exemplified by CABNR's faculty and staff, and the college's interdisciplinary composition. I believe these are qualities that provide comparative advantages in addressing real world problems in Nevada and indeed around the world, for solutions to such problems are almost always interdisciplinary."
Payne, as director of the Research Program on Dryland Systems conducted through Texas A&M's Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, led an innovative and integrated agro-ecosystem approach involving multiple stakeholders to improve agricultural productivity and alleviate poverty and hunger in dry areas of the world. Much of his field work centered in Ethiopia.
"As someone who has seen the benefits of the land-grant system, I remain a firm believer in its power to transform and improve lives," he said. "The University of Nevada, Reno and its sister land-grant universities will continue to tackle new challenges and opportunities, and their mission in education, research and extension remains as vital and vibrant as ever."
Payne earned his doctorate in soil science from Texas A&M, has authored or co-authored more than 120 journal articles and book chapters, and edited three books. He has been named fellow of five international scientific societies and has held numerous leadership roles at the state, national and international level. He has advised charitable foundations, national and international agencies, publishers, foreign governments and universities on science and agriculture.