Research and Economic Development, Office of


Date of this Version



University of Nebraska–Lincoln Office of Research and Economic Development (2010). Proceedings of the 2010 Water for Food Conference. Lincoln.


Copyright 2010, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. All rights reserved.



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In Memoriam

$50 Million Gift from Robert B. Daugherty Foundation Funds Water for Food Institute

On April 20, 2010, the University of Nebraska announced a $50 million founding gift commitment from the Robert B. Daugherty Charitable Foundation to support the global Water for Food Institute, a research, education and policy analysis institute focused on the efficient use of water in agriculture.

NU President James B. Milliken said the gift will enable the university to become a global resource for developing solutions to the challenges of hunger, poverty, agricultural productivity and water management. “By 2050, the world’s population will increase by 40 percent and demand for food – produced with finite amounts of land and water – will double,” Milliken said. “We have the experience and opportunity to build a global center in Nebraska, leveraging the knowledge and resources of the University of Nebraska and other leading institutions to help alleviate human suffering and food insecurity.”

Milliken praised the vision and commitment of Robert B. Daugherty, founder of Valmont Industries, who created the most successful irrigation company in the world and remained committed to the efficient and sustainable use of water to feed a growing world population. “Bob Daugherty was a true pioneer and visionary,” Milliken said. “He helped transform production agriculture and was a leader in addressing one of the most critical challenges facing the world.”

When the gift was announced in April, Daugherty said, “I have great faith in the University of Nebraska and its ability to make this institute a place where the best minds come together to find solutions that will improve the quality of life for people around the world through the strategic and responsible use of water.”

The Water for Food Institute is committed to helping the world efficiently use its limited fresh water resources to ensure the food supply for current and future generations. The institute will offer research, education and policy analysis on the efficiency and sustainability of water use in agriculture, the quantity and quality of water resources, and human issues that affect the water decision-making process.

Issues surrounding water for food have long been, and continue to be, a focus of University of Nebraska research. The knowledge and capabilities developed in Nebraska can be shared and applied globally, and Nebraska can, in turn, learn from its regional, national and international partners, Milliken said.

The water for food institute is governed by a board of directors: James B. Milliken, president, University of Nebraska, chairman; Mogens Bay, chairman of the board, Robert B. Daugherty Charitable Foundation, and chief executive officer, Valmont Industries; and Jeff Raikes, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.