Faculty within the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service were recently recognized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, ASABE, for their contributions in the field.

The society is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering food and biological systems applicable to agriculture.

Patricia Smith, Ph.D., Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering head, congratulated the winners and said the ASABE awards were indicative of the high quality and high impact of faculty and staff in the department.

“I’m never surprised when our faculty and staff win awards because of their commitment to their work and dedication to meeting the needs of Texas, the U.S. and the world,” she said. “It’s satisfying as a colleague to see them recognized, and I am proud as department head to know their excellence reflects the outstanding work done in this department.” 

Lalit and Aruna Verma Award for Excellence in Global Engagement

Vijay Singh, Ph.D., PE, and university distinguished professor in the department, is the recipient of the Lalit and Aruna Verma Award for Excellence in Global Engagement. The award recognizes outstanding contributions made toward global advancement and recognition of the profession of agricultural and biological engineering, and excellence in global engagement and international education, outreach and/or research. 

Singh’s award stems from his exceptional research and prolific writing and he is a highly regarded and respected hydrologist, according to ASABE. He has developed theories and created models to measure surface irrigation, infiltration, evapotranspiration, soil erosion, flood and drought hydrology, watersheds, non-point-source water quality and advanced agricultural engineering in a range of fields, from the food-water-nexus to climate change.

He is an 11-year ASABE member, and a member of numerous international and national science academies.

“It’s always a great honor to receive recognition from your peers,” Singh said. “To me, it is an acknowledgment that my past work contributed to the field in a meaningful way. I look forward to continuing my work, both individually and through collaboration.”

Netafim Award for Advancements in Microirrigation

Juan Enciso, Ph.D., PE, AgriLife Research associate professor in Weslaco, is the recipient of the Netafim Award for Advancements in Microirrigation. Enciso was awarded for his contributions to the advancement of knowledge of subsurface drip irrigation and for support of the microirrigation community.

Subsurface irrigation provides water to hundreds of thousands of arid and semi-arid acres of farmland from Texas to California for crops ranging from cotton and citrus to vegetables and sugarcane.

The award honors and recognizes an ASABE member who has made significant contributions to the utilization and adaptation of microirrigation technology at an appropriate scale for any given level of production technology. The purpose of the award is to encourage and recognize engineering excellence in the design, development, evaluation, operation or management of microirrigation systems and/or efforts that increase the adoption of this efficient irrigation method.

Enciso is a 29-year member of ASABE.

“I’m happy to receive this award and that my peers recognize my work,” he said. “I think irrigation research, education and extension are vital for improving the welfare of our communities.”

Educational Aids Competition Blue Ribbon Award

Guy Fipps, Ph.D., PE, AgriLife Extension statewide irrigation specialist, and Charles Swanson, AgriLife Extension irrigation program specialist, both in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, earned an ASABE Educational Aids Competition Blue Ribbon Award for theirPropeller Flow Meter Installation” videos.  

The training videos were created as a resource for farmers, water managers, water district personnel and technical service providers, Swanson said. They demonstrate how to correctly size and install a propeller flow meter in both PVC and metal pipelines.

The videos support a pilot training program developed for on-farm water measurement with the focus on the proper use of flow meters in irrigation pipelines for measurement and monitoring.

The Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Awards Competition, sponsored by the ASABE Extension Committee, promotes excellence in informational materials, which contribute to the understanding of agricultural and biological engineering subjects outside of the traditional classroom setting.

For more information about the full list of 2023 ASABE award winners, go to https://www.asabe.org/Awards-Competitions/Major-Awards.

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