Some things wicked this way come

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), CFAES Dean Cathann A. Kress is hosting a presentation and panel discussion called “Converging on Wicked Systems Problems” on Monday, Nov. 18, in Columbus. The program, its flyer says, “will explore the application of transdisciplinary research and system approaches to solve grand challenges in our food, water, and energy systems”—challenges that include, for example, the climate crisis, food security, air pollution, and algal blooms.

Panelists from Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota

Speakers and panelists at the event will be Rolf Nordstrom, president and CEO of the Minnesota-based Great Plains Institute; Greg Soehnlen, president and CEO of Superior Dairy Inc., Canton, Ohio; and Lois Wright Morton, professor emeritus of sociology with Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The event runs from 1–3 p.m. at Ohio State’s Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, on the Columbus campus. A reception follows.

Admission is free and open to everyone, but registration is requested. Find out more and register to join us. You can watch, too, by livestream on the CFAES Facebook page.

What is the meaning of wicked?

A wicked problem, its Wikipedia entry says, is a “problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize.”

A wicked system, meanwhile, is “one that is made up of people, supported by technology, who appreciate that they are dealing mainly with … wicked problems,” according to a book chapter published by the ANU (Australian National University) Press. “This includes most human organisations.”

(Read how “wicked” the word has evolved.)

BANR’s 75th year

BANR, its website says, “is the major program unit of the (Washington D.C.-based) National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine responsible for organizing and overseeing studies on agriculture, forestry, fisheries, wildlife, and the use of land, water, and other natural resources.”

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