Farmers in the United States use tractors equipped with computers in order to obtain specific information about the soil and other production variables in the area. This means that farmers can use fertilizer and pesticides selectively. This kind of precision agriculture leads to efficient production and less environmental damage. What's good for business is good for the environment as well, says soil scientist Professor Johan Bouma, a strong promoter of precision agriculture from the WAU
Societies try to prevent more damage to the environment by making adjustments to commercial production processes so that less emissions and waste products are produced. This idea is based on the theory of ecological modernisation, which suggests that economic growth can be combined with protecting the environment through improvements in the quality of the production process. Sociologist Gert Spaargaren, who defended his PhD thesis on this subject this week, states, however, that consumer behaviour is not taken into account by this theory. A number of ecologically sound products fail to be incorporated into consumers' lifestyles because they are unaware of them or do not use them in the correct way. Spaargaren now wants to study consumers' daily life in order to find out how their habits could be changed
Theo Vos, chairman of the WAU Executive Board for the past seven years, ended his career this week. Minister of Agriculture van Aartsen was the main speaker at his farewell party. Vos used his extensive network in the agricultural sector to extend the agricultural engineering programmes at the University from four to five years, and to initiate a discussion on Dutch agricultural knowledge systems which has led to the proposed merger of the WAU with the DLO institutes for agricultural research
The education specialist at the WAU is Bert Speelman. Chairman of Agricultural Engineering & Physics, Speelman fulfils a number of roles concerning the formation of WAU education policy. He is chairman of one education institute, chairman of the education advisory board and executive education manager on behalf of the University Rector. It is not always clear which committee Speelman is representing when he says we, but in practice it has not led to too much confusion as we can always ask which hat he has on at that particular moment.