World Food Prize Laureate Hillel to talk Oct. 26

Daniel Hillel
Daniel Hillel

Pioneering work in growing more food using less water is the topic when Daniel Hillel, 2012 World Food Prize laureate, speaks at noon Oct. 26 in the Embassy Suites ballroom, 1040 P St.

Hillel, a pioneer in micro-irrigation for crops in arid regions, will discuss "Managing our Scarce Water in a Changing Climate." He received the World Food Prize in Des Moines on Oct. 18 for the innovative method he developed that applied water in small but continuous amounts directly to the plant roots, dramatically increasing yields and conserving water.

Hillel's lecture is co-sponsored by the University of Nebraska's Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UNL and the Malaika Foundation. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Hillel, who was born in the United States and raised in Israel, will discuss his pioneering scientific work, the critical need to conserve water and the importance of science in bridging cultural and religious divides and improving lives. His experience as a child on a kibbutz in Israel led him to appreciate the land and inspired him to pursue a career in agriculture. Later, as one of the founders of the Sde Boker kibbutz in the Negev Desert highlands, Hillel was drawn to the problem of water supply in arid regions and began his work on micro-irrigation.

Currently a senior research scientist at the Center for Climate Systems Research, part of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, Hillel also is working on the adaptation of agriculture to climate change in association with NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

His water management concepts, promoted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as HELPFUL (High-frequency, Efficient, Low-Volume, Partial-area, Farm-unit, Low-cost) have spread from Israel to Asia, African, Australia and the Americas.

Hillel has worked with the World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the International Development Research Center of Canada. He has written or edited more than 20 books on soil and water science and published more than 300 scientific papers, research reports and practical manuals.