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UF Water Institute Faculty Fellow Michael Dukes receives John Deer Gold Medal Award ,

Michael Dukes, director of the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has been honored with the 2016 John Deere Gold Medal award. Dukes is nationally recognized as an expert in irrigation and water conservation.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers gives the award to recognize distinguished achievement in the application of science and art to the soil.

"It is a great honor to be selected by my peers for this prestigious award," Dukes said. "I look forward to continuing my work in helping create sustainable landscape practices that will impact not only Florida, but the world."

As a professor and UF/IFAS Extension irrigation specialist, Dukes conducts research on water conservation and efficient irrigation with a focus on landscape irrigation. His research is used to inform irrigation professionals, decision makers and other stakeholders on how to implement changes and manage landscape irrigation systems to maximize efficiency while maintaining aesthetically pleasing landscapes. His work is invaluable, said Wendy Graham, director of the UF Water Institute.

"Dr. Dukes is one of the leading experts in developing efficient irrigation systems and in translating new technologies into real world water conservation. His pioneering work in soil moisture sensing to improve water use efficiency and development of smart irrigation technologies for both agricultural and urban landscapes have shown significant water savings impacts," Graham said. "His strong interdisciplinary research and Extension programs are evidenced by his recent recognition as a UF Water Institute faculty fellow and this prestigious John Deere Gold Medal from ASABE."

Dukes has mentored and contributed toward more than two dozen graduate students and postdoctoral students who have entered the profession. His research team has developed and tested commercially available irrigation control technologies that control irrigation based on studies of the irrigated areas.

"Perhaps most importantly, we have documented hundreds of millions of gallons of water being saved that otherwise would have been wasted due to inefficient irrigation," Dukes said. "Use of these technologies is increasing and being adopted by builders and developers for landscape irrigation throughout Florida and other parts of the United States."

Dukes has published 96 peer-reviewed articles, was awarded the 2014 Irrigation Foundation Excellence in Education award and is a UF/IFAS Water Institute Faculty Fellow.

Dukes will receive the award at ASABE's annual meeting on July 20 in Orlando, Fla.

Source: University of Florida press release, Jun. 24, 2016