ASABE

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

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ASABE Public Policy Goals

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers believes investment in research and development is critical to providing engineering solutions to areas impacting agricultural and biological advancement. To that end, the following goals, approved April 2011, provide focus for the Society's public policy efforts.

  1. Improve Agricultural and Biological Engineering's Impact on Sustainability
  2. Increase Biomass Collection and the Identification of Alternative Energy Solutions
  3. Ensure Clean Water through Engineering
  4. Ensure Food Safety, Security, and Quality through Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  5. Ensure the Future of the Biological / Agricultural Engineering Workforce
  6. Develop Practices for Stewardship of Soil and Water Resources in Agriculture
  7. Advance Equipment Engineering as a Means to Increase Safety and Efficiency in Modern Agriculture

 

Improve Agricultural and Biological Engineering's Impact on Sustainability

In a world with growing environmental, social, and economic demands, there is an increasing need to develop systems and processes that meet today's demands without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.  Agricultural and biological engineers nationwide (and worldwide) are developing responsible processes ranging from crop production and transportation, to storage and processing.   Agricultural and biological engineers provide for the food, fuel, and fiber needs of our population and for the economic needs of America while ensuring reduced impacts on the environment.

  • Provide information that supports increases in funding for research and investment in new technologies that improve sustainability.
  • Host an annual event on Capitol Hill demonstrating the success of programs funded through NIFA and other federal sources, as well as state and private sources, to improve sustainability.
  • Follow legislation aimed at funding programs critical to agricultural and biological engineering research and development.
  • Provide critical input to appropriate government agencies to ensure adequate consideration of science and technology in legislation related to agricultural and biological engineering funding and regulation. 

 

Increase Biomass Collection and the Identification of Alternative Energy Solutions

Alternative energy includes biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, and hydroelectric energy sources.  Agricultural and biological engineers play a critical role in determining the life-cycle, the financial and environmental costs of production and utilization of alternative energy sources, and in answering the difficult questions associated with utilization and viability of each energy source. For example, what is the real financial cost of each source?  What is the real energy balance?  What is the true carbon balance for each source?  What are the environmental impacts of each source?

  • Provide information that supports increases in funding for research and investment in new technologies that have potential to improve energy efficiency.
  • Host an event on Capitol Hill demonstrating the critical role agricultural and biological engineers play in developing new technologies to provide efficient alternative energy sources.
  • Provide information as needed in support of alternative energy legislation.
  • Follow legislation aimed at funding programs critical to agricultural and biological engineering research and development.

 

Ensure Clean Water through Engineering

Scientists estimate 7 million Americans are sickened by contaminated tap water every year, and nearly 40% of our rivers fail to meet current clean water standards. Without clean, reliable water resources, we cannot grow food, produce energy, fuel transportation, or manufacture goods.  The agricultural and biological engineering community is today playing a critical role in developing technologies to reduce chemical, nutrient, sediment, and other contaminants, such as, pathogens, hormones, and drug residuals losses into our environment, and to develop new means to safeguard our water supplies.

  • Provide information that supports increases in funding for research and investment in new technologies that have potential to safeguard our water supply. 
  • Host an event on Capitol Hill demonstrating the critical role agricultural and biological engineers play in developing new technologies to ensure our water supply is safe.
  • Support public education about the adoption of best management practices in agriculture to protect our water.

 

Ensure Food Safety, Security, and Quality through Agricultural and Biological Engineering

America is committing increased funding and resources to ensure a safe and high quality food supply.  Agricultural and biological engineers play a key role in  developing and employing technologies that rapidly detect pathogens and contaminants in the food chain, and that assess the quality of food before, during, and after processing. Further, agricultural and biological engineers provide the production systems that help ensure a secure food supply

  • Provide information that supports increases in funding for research and investment in new technologies that have the potential to improve nutrition, ensure food safety, and reduce costs to consumers.
  • Host an event on Capitol Hill demonstrating the critical role agricultural and biological engineers play, 1) to develop new technologies to improve the safety and nutritional value of food, including new production, harvesting, storage, and processing techniques and, 2) to improve the understanding of genetically modified food.
  • Provide information as needed in support of food safety and security legislation.  Follow legislation aimed at funding programs critical to agricultural and biological engineering research and development. 
  • Serve as a resource for decision makers on regulation of food.
  • Provide regulatory agencies with resources to monitor and improve food safety.

 

Ensure the Future of the Biologica/Agricultural Engineering Workforce

The Department of Labor predicts a need for a 10-15% increase in the number of agricultural and biological engineers in the workforce by 2018 in order to meet projected needs.  The agricultural and biological engineering community must continue to train and educate the next generation of engineers who will continue to develop life changing technologies affecting the nation's agricultural enterprise.

  • Support STEM education and public awareness campaigns aimed at attracting more students into science and engineering.
  • Develop collaborative relationships with key agencies and organizations dedicated to information sharing and increased focused on educational growth of students.
  • Raise awareness of the need for funding to support the training of students in agricultural and biological engineering through program options like fellowships, improved labs, and new research opportunities.

 

Develop Practices for Stewardship of Soil and Water Resources in Agriculture

Agricultural and biological engineers have been at the forefront of developing practices for wise stewardship of soil and water resources through conservation and best management practices.  Irrigation management, conservation tillage and residue management to conserve water, and erosion reduction are all critical to sustainable food production. In the next 35-45 years, world food production will need to double to meet the demands of an increased population; 90% of this increased food production will have to come from existing land, and 70% will have to come from irrigated land.  Future generations will look to agricultural and biological engineers to help maximize outputs to meet the future food production needs of the country (and the world).

  • Provide information that supports increases in funding for research and investment in new technologies that have the potential to improve efficient and effective use of soil and water resources.
  • Host an event on Capitol Hill demonstrating the critical role agricultural and biological engineers play to develop new technologies to enhance irrigation management, to reduce costs, and to ensure efficient and effective use of water.
  • Support public education for improved water management in agricultural production.

 

Advance Equipment Engineering as a Means to Increase Safety and Efficiency in Modern Agriculture

Providing for the nation's food, fuel, and fiber needs is important and dangerous work.  Statistics indicate that agriculture is the third most dangerous work place.  In 2008 there were 456 work-related fatalities in agriculture, a rate of 25.1 deaths per 100,000 workers.  Agricultural engineers focused on improving agricultural machine efficiency and safety have played, and will continue to play, a critical role in making America's agriculture workforce safer and more productive.  Agricultural engineers have led advances that have reduced labor and fatigue and have increased the capacity of agricultural production equipment, thereby increasing efficiency and improving safety.  For example, tractor related deaths declined from nearly 18 per 100,000 workers in 1969 to fewer than 10 per 100,000 workers in 1995.  Much of this decline can be directly attributed to improved safety design by agricultural engineers, including rollover protection structures (ROPS).

  • Provide information to legislators and regulators to enable science-based legislation and regulation
  • Provide information that supports increases in funding to support research and investment in new technologies that have the potential to improve efficiency of equipment.
  • Support public education about the appropriate use of engineering equipment and serve on advisory panels.

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