New strategic plan spotlights college’s future priorities
The College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources is putting the finishing touches on a new strategic plan that ensures the college will continue enhancing the economic stability and health of Nevada through research and strong collaborations.
Since 2012, CABNR officials have been meeting with a broad spectrum of stakeholders - from representatives of Nevada's major industries, federal and state agencies and nongovernmental organizations - in an effort to identify the critical concerns that CABNR will need to address in coming years.
"To be successful, every organization must routinely take stock of its strengths, challenges, opportunities, and resource needs to adequately address identified areas of emphasis," said CABNR Interim Dean Ron Pardini.
"Our job is to help fulfill the University's land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach education benefiting the health and economic vitality of Nevada's citizens, so our research and meetings were focused on learning what those needs are today and how we can address them."
The strategic plan meetings of 2012 determined that CABNR needs to:
- Enhance economic stability and growth in all aspects of the Great Basin's agriculture enterprise through advances in the application of biotechnology, increased diversity of crop and animal products, increases in production efficiency, and sound strategies for soil, water, air and landscape management.
- Address the serious health concerns of Nevadans through improved quality of the environment and better nutrition through improved diet.
- Ensure sustainable production of natural resources from stable and viable high desert and montane ecosystems.
- Ensure a strong and enduring connection between CABNR and the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station and residents of the Great Basin.
"The research reaffirmed that many of our programs are on target and that we need to continue the work we've undertaken," Pardini said. "But it also revealed new trends and issues that we need to focus on in coming years."
Pardini said examples of increased program emphasis and development that will result from added financial support and the hiring of new faculty include:
- New teaching and research capability to support growth and sustainability in the production and marketing of locally grown food products.
- Creating a world-class genetics program to develop plant material with enhanced resistance to drought, and poor soil conditions as well as increased production of bio-fuel and other plant derived bio-products.
- Introduction of new, high-value crops with lower irrigation requirements.
- Expanding the new range management and ecology program to develop environmentally compatible, sustainable livestock production systems.
- Increased success in land and habitat rehabilitation following major disturbances such as wildfire.
- Expanding the human nutrition and dietetics program to focus on the relationship between diet and chronic disease.
- Reducing the threat to ecosystem sustainability from invasive exotic plant and animal species and increased pressure from use.
- Developing and supporting strategies to manage threatened and endangered species of wildlife.
CABNR has already initiated internal discussions to assess its current capabilities and what future resources it and the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station will need to be:
- A recognized leader in the utilization of biotechnology and managed land resources for the development and growth of Nevada's agriculture enterprise and the general economy.
- A recognized leader in research and the training of professionals who improve the health of Nevadans.
- A recognized center for both research and knowledge dissemination related to sustaining ecosystem function on semi-arid and montane landscapes in the Great Basin and similar global environments.
- A model for using multi-disciplinary teams, including stakeholders, to identify critical needs, propose courses of action, recommend the allocation of resources and act to address critical issues.
"We have a lot to do," Pardini said, "but this strategic plan gives us a clear roadmap for addressing the pressing needs of this state and this college."