Chad Higgins, an Oregon State University agricultural engineering professor, stands beneath a 30-foot steel tower in the middle of a hazelnut orchard a few miles southwest of Amity, and points up to a jaw-like contraption that looks like it should adorn the side of a spaceship.

These sensors, he says, will measure water that evaporates from the ground and the trees into the air from a 15-acre portion of the orchard.

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