From Farm Tours to Ball Games, Waterborne at ACS Fall 2023
From a Giants game to winery tour, Waterborne experienced ACS Fall 2023
Andy: Nick and I joined the farm tour. We learned a lot about the specialty crops grown in California and some of the unique challenges growers face related to water/irrigation, labor, and regulation on important crop protection products for pests, weeds, and fungi. We also visited various research farms and facilities of UC-Davis, including the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the National Clonal Germplasm Repository which is operated with the USDA and is dedicated to Mediterranean fruit and nut crop species. The repository had plums and figs for tasting and I captured this picture of some of the grapes on vine. My favorite part of the tour was tasting wine from the region at Turkovich Family Wines and toasting to the AGRO division’s 50th anniversary and the end of a very long week.
Nick: First, we visited a research farm ran by UC-Davis where we observed almond and fig trees and learned about the various projects that are currently being done on that farm. Next, we went to the UC-Davis campus where we took a tour of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. We were able to see areas where students are learning/working on projects related to wine and beer brewing. We then went to the USDA Germplasm Repository where the main highlight was getting to see the various kinds of grapes that are grown and studied there. Lastly, was getting to visit the Turkovich Family Wine facility as well as getting a short tour of their specialty crop fields (prunes, tomatoes, etc.). I would say that my favorite part of the tour was visiting the Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, it was interesting to see that facility and learn about their wine and beer brewing projects.
Zack: While there wasn't a ton of information on AI at the conference, I did have some multiple discussions with people after my presentation about machine learning. We had some interesting conversations about the roles of machine learning vs mechanistic modeling, and how machine learning could be leveraged to improve mechanistic models. I think a common theme (not restricted to this year), is constantly trying to improve modeling; whether it’s through adding or tweaking modules in existing models, or taking novel approaches with spatially explicit modeling. I tried to jump around a bit more and catch some talks on sustainability and climate change as well. EPAs presentation on climate change was about 75% the same as last years, so progress there is pretty slow. There wasn’t a whole lot of on-field sustainability other than BMP, but attention was drawn to sustainability from a larger scope, through the whole life-cycle.
Andy: I’m biased by the symposia I attended, but there was definitely a lot of focus on ESA topics and methods for refining exposure to endangered species. This is not surprising given recent developments at the EPA (e.g., ESA workplan).
Nick: I would say that there were a few topics covered in multiple talks. In addition to ESA, there were several talks on pesticide runoff mitigation, specifically related to BMP’s. There was a session on drone pesticide application where the main topics were BMPs for spraying with a drone as well as a few talks on field studies/modeling of spray drift from drones.