UMaine to host Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference

Promoting engineering as it relates to agriculture, biology and related applications is the focus of a multiday conference to be hosted by the University of Maine.

About 75 participants are expected to attend the Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference (NABEC) from July 31–Aug. 3 on the Orono campus.

NABEC, part of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), is a community covering the northeastern United States and eastern Canadian provinces.

This year’s conference theme is sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.

UMaine faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students are expected to attend, along with researchers from other universities, as well as engineers and science professionals from the private sector and government agencies.

Although the majority of NABEC attendees are ASABE members; nonmembers also are welcome to participate.

UMaine President Susan J. Hunter is scheduled to deliver a welcome speech Monday, Aug. 1, followed by keynote addresses by Ed Ashworth, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture; and Habib Dagher, executive director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

The conference will include research presentations, a student poster competition, panel discussions and tours of UMaine facilities, including the Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

Trips also will be made to the Howland Dam fish bypass, where recent work was completed as part of the Penobscot River Restoration Project; and Exeter Agri-Energy, a renewable energy company that converts animal and food waste into heat and electricity, as well as other environmentally responsible products.

Balunkeswar Nayak, an assistant professor of food science at UMaine, is co-hosting this year’s conference with Dan Baumert, a state conservation engineer with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bangor.

“The conference provides a forum for the open discussion of all matters relating to the relationships among agricultural and biological engineers in a professional but relaxed setting,” Nayak says.

The annual conference began in 1925, according to the NABEC website. This year marks the sixth time UMaine has hosted. NABEC was last held in Orono in 1984.

More about NABEC, including registration and a conference schedule, is online. For additional information about the conference, contact Baumert at, 990.9555; or Nayak at, 581.1687.