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K-State Today

August 14, 2014

K-State's Freddie Lamm honored for irrigation research, education

Submitted by Mary Lou Peter

Kansas State University research irrigation engineer Freddie Lamm has been honored for his extensive research and education on subsurface drip irrigation, or SDI, for field crops by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Lamm was recognized with the 2014 Netafim Award for Advancements in Microirrigation at the society's annual meeting in Montréal, Quebec.

Lamm works at K-State's Northwest Research-Extension Center in Colby, where he specializes in water management for grain and oilseed crops and in the design and management for irrigation systems.

"His research on subsurface drip irrigation has greatly influenced field productivity in the Midwest and other areas of the world," a society announcement said.

More than 25 years ago, Lamm began to lead efforts at K-State in broadening the adaptation and adoption of subsurface drip irrigation technology for field crop production in the U.S. Great Plains and beyond. By the late 1960s, the Ogallala aquifer of western Kansas was declining. Years would pass before development constraints were instituted toward improving irrigation efficiency and water productivity to sustain the Ogallala.

In 1989, Lamm proposed to investigate the adoption of drip technology, which had been shown to reduce water use and improve or maintain crop yield and quality. His investigations resulted in the establishment of the first research plots at the Northwest Research and Extension Center in Colby.

"This research exemplified his tremendous developmental efforts in designing experimental procedures and protocol to accomplish its three-fold focus to enhance water conservation, protect water quality, and develop the appropriate SDI technologies for the region," the society's announcement said. "Lamm has been dedicated to providing SDI technology to irrigation producers and irrigation professionals."

He has created educational materials and presented information about subsurface drip irrigation at county and state meetings to help producers make informed investments. He has attended and given presentations at the annual three-state Central Plains Irrigation Conference and has been a co–principal investigator for multistate subsurface drip irrigation field day programs and site tours, and been an active Irrigation Association participant.

Lamm has authored or coauthored more than 315 refereed journal articles, national and international conference proceeding papers, and technical and trade publications. His research and technology-transfer efforts have extended to international presentations and consultations in Israel, South Africa, Spain, China, and Kazakhstan.

In his 35 years as a member of the society, he has been active in several committees, was proceedings chair of the Fifth International Microirrigation Congress, and served as chair of the Kansas section. He is currently associate editor for the southwest division.

Lamm was named Irrigation Association person of the year in 2012, and earned other American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers recognitions. He is a member of several other irrigation, soil science, and agronomy societies.