Elliott Campbell has already received nationwide attention for a recent study concluding that the United States could meet up to 6 percent of its energy needs with biofuels produced on “marginal” ag land.
“It’s been suggested that biofuels production on prime agricultural land could accelerate global climate change,” Campbell explained. “We looked at what we call marginal land – for example, farmlands in the Eastern U.S. that were abandoned as the center of agriculture shifted west.”
His research has already been covered in more than a dozen national media outlets, including Science Daily, Nature Reports and the Christian Science Monitor.
Campbell hopes to make a big difference for the world in yet another way in a two-semester Service Learning course this academic year. His students will be exploring how to combine environmental science, computer science and financial and marketing know-how to create an index crop insurance system that Kiva may be able to offer to farmers in developing countries. This innovative insurance would depend on objectively reported environmental data – for example, precipitation information from weather stations – instead of traditional claims that are inefficient to implement and difficult to verify in remote, rural locations.