Lincoln, Neb. -- More than 400 people from 25 nations are expected for the 2011 global Water for Food Conference May 1-4, which will explore how to solve the challenge of growing more food with limited water to feed the world's growing population.

The conference will feature more than 60 speakers and panelists from agriculture, industry, universities, governments and nongovernmental organizations. Sessions are built around the theme "Paths to Solutions." This is the third year for the conference, which is designed to foster international dialogue on key issues related to the use of water for agriculture. It provides opportunities to learn from speakers with extensive experience and perspectives from diverse cultures.

The conference is hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The conference will be at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, 313 S. 13th St. Online registration, schedule and speaker information are available at the conference website:. Registration is $250 and space is limited. Those who can't attend can follow the conference on the website. Once the conference starts, the site will feature links to live webcasts of selected sessions as well as news stories, a conference blog and Twitter feeds.

Plenary presentations, panel discussions, case studies and specialized technical sessions will be featured. Speakers include internationally recognized experts on a range of issues related to water, agriculture and food security.

A keynote dialogue on water and food issues will feature Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and representatives from two development organizations who work with the foundation. Joining Raikes will be Kebede Ayele of International Development Enterprises in Ethiopia and Soumen Biswas of Professional Assistance for Development Action in India.

Other featured speakers will include: Anil Jain, managing director, Jain Irrigation Ltd. of India; Anders Berntell, executive director, Stockholm International Water Institute; Pasquale Steduto, principal officer, United Nations/FAO Water; Andras Szollosi-Nagy, rector, UNESCO-IHE; and Julia Bucknall, sector manager, Water Department, World Bank.

A panel of industry leaders moderated by John Briscoe of Harvard University will offer their perspectives on water for food challenges. Panelists will be Mogens Bay, chairman and chief executive officer of Valmont Industries; Carl Hausmann, managing director of global government and corporate affairs for Bunge Ltd.; and Kerry Preete, senior vice president of global strategy for Monsanto Co.

A panel of agricultural producers with diverse backgrounds will discuss their challenges with water issues. Five agricultural producers from Australia, California, Kenya and Nebraska will share their views.

The conference includes two case study sessions: "Securing Water for Agriculture: California's High-Stakes Challenge" and "Pathways to Greater Food Production: Lessons from Ethiopia."  Technical session topics are: "Quantitative Food Security: Yield Gaps, Water and Nitrogen Productivity," "Maximizing Water Use Efficiency in Agriculture" and "Evaluation of Aquifer Resources in Sub-Saharan Africa."