Just announced: Smeal part of new university strategic initiative "PA in Balance"
It was just announced today that a major cross-college initiative, led by our colleagues in Agricultural Science, has been funded through the university's strategic planning funding platform. A particularly big shout out to
the College of Agricultural Sciences' Matt Royer (pictured right), Director of the Agriculture and Environment Center, who did the heavy lifting to put the proposal together.
Smeal is involved in the funded project called "PA in Balance" and is focused on the non-point source pollution in Pennsylvania and the preservation of productive farms and ultimately a productive, and healthy Chesapeake Bay.
"Among the most critical environmental challenges on the globe today is nonpoint source pollution of water. It has been described as a 'wicked problem' that requires a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving."
Pennsylvania is at the center of this challenge. With over 86,000 miles of rivers and streams, the Commonwealth faces significant issues in safeguarding our water for agricultural, recreational, industrial and ecological uses. "Over 19,000 stream miles are designated as impaired with over 90% from nonpoint source pollution (agriculture/urban stormwater runoff)."
"Building upon a transformative conference convened by Penn State in 2016, the proposal advances integrated research, student learning, and community engagement to solve this complex problem with study focus areas at the Harrisburg campus and Lancaster County experimental station."
Smeal will be particularly engaged in the "Power of the Market" dimension of the project. This refers to the "increasing interest in consumer-driven, market-based incentives for food produced with the best possible conservation practices. Penn State leaders in agricultural sciences, business and law will work collaboratively to bring these sectors together for a summit to explore opportunities for the marketplace to drive stewardship."