At a 2010 trip to the Al Sulaiteen Farm in Qatar, from left: Dr. Mohamed Al Maslamani, Dr. Mahendra Shah, Catherine Mater, Paul Pawlowski, Nancy Hamilton, Abdullah Salem Al Sulaiteen, Mark Edlen and Ron Adams.
Three Mile works with far less water than it used to because of agreements it signed with environmental groups over declining salmon runs in the Columbia River. Just as Qatar is water-poor, Three Mile managers have had to innovate to use every drop of water they are allotted as effectively as possible. “It costs approximately $60 to $70 in pumping costs per acre foot. Water is money,” says Three Mile general manager Marty Myers. It costs as much as six times that amount to desalinate water in Qatar.
Three Mile has achieved enormous productivity through the use of GPS-guided tractors, remote-controlled pivot drip-irrigation sprayers, and other devices; its lush fields stand in stark contrast to the scrappy land surrounding it.
Al-Thani was so impressed with what he saw, he insisted that delegates from Oregon go to Qatar and visit with Fahad Al-Attiya, chairman of Qatar’s food security program, and others. Three months after Al-Thani’s visit, a group of academic, industry and government leaders set off for Doha.