SARE and ARS: North Central Region
The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) conducts interdisciplinary research to enhance profit and stewardship on American farms of all sizes. SARE researchers are invited to participate in several ongoing research projects around the country.
USDA-ARS Systems Projects in the North Central Region That Could Benefit From SARE Partnerships
Ames, IA, Jerry Hatfield, National Soil Tilth Laboratory. The laboratory has primarily research responsibilities in ecosystem services of conservation production systems. Conduct basic soil quality, chemistry, and watershed management research, but also have a systems research component including organic agriculture. Have made major contributions to sustainable management of corn stover removed for ethanol production and the development of a soil quality assessment framework that gives credit to conservation systems that utilize cover crops. They are contributing significantly to USDA Risk Management Agency and NRCS in delivery of Farm Bill programs. Newly developed collaborations with Iowa State University Center for Rural Sociology and Corvallis, OR ARS in the development of a social-economic health component for the USDA Economic-biophysical Effects Optimization Model. There are lots of opportunities for expanding economic and social science collaborations. New research developing in measuring the ecosystems service value of organic production systems. For more information, see National Soil Tilth Research Laboratory or contact Jerry L Hatfield, (515) 294-5723.
Morris, MN, Sharon Weyers, North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory. Research is aimed at developing new practices and dynamic systems that optimally enhance productivity, profitability, energy efficiency and natural resources stewardship for traditional and emerging farming systems in the upper Midwest. Research is conducted within a diverse assemblage of conventional, organic, grassland, pasture, and bioenergy production systems with a significant on-farm component. Physical, chemical and biological aspects within these systems are examined by an interdisciplinary research team, including soil erosion and landscape restoration; soil quality, fertility and biochemistry; carbon sequestration and trace gas production; and productivity, adaptation and alternative use of traditional or alternative crops. Impacts of management strategies, such as tillage, crop rotations, manure application, residue removal, cover cropping and living mulch use, are incorporated. Research has multiple implications for global climate change, renewable bioenergy, land use management and sustainability. There are numerous opportunities for collaborations in economics, social science, and landscape studies with GIS/geostatistical approaches. For more information see North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory or contact Sharon Weyers, (320) 589-3411.
Mandan, ND, Jon Hanson, Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory. Are primarily involved in looking for ways to diversify existing Northern Great Plains production systems to increase profitability and decrease risk of economic loss. Special emphasis is on the integration of livestock components into cropping systems (collaboration with Watkinsville, GA). Has one of the five ARS economists who does risk of economic loss, and strategies for transiting to lower risk systems with stochastic modeling of weather risks. There is close collaboration with the ND State University to include rural sociology and economics. Close ties to University of North Dakota. For more information see Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory or contact Jonathan D Hanson, (701) 667-3010.
Brookings, SD, Ken Dashiel, North Central Agricultural Research Center. This project is in the process of re-looking their long term research mission (is not an NP-216 project.). They have primarily been involved in basic soils and entomology research, but looking for a greater systems orientation. New funding for bioenergy development and environmental impact research has been received. They are already tied into South Dakota State University for support in precision management research. The project could benefit greatly by including social science research components including economics. South Dakota is projected to be a net importer of corn this next year because of ethanol production, so sustainable rural-based energy production is of great importance. The laboratory is also looking at organic agriculture and other low-input strategies for soybean-based systems. For more information see North Central Agricultural Research Center or contact Kenton Dashiell, (605) 693-5201.