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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

1 - Partnering
2 - Surface Carbon
3 - Compaction
4 - Surface Nitrogen
5 - Deep Nitrate
6 - Pasture-Crop Rotation System
7 - Technology Transfer


Our systems research projects strive to understand how interactions among critical components influence overall productivity, environmental impact, and economic returns.  We rely on expertise of cooperators from other ARS locations, universities and other government agencies. The Alternative Cover Crop And Tillage Systems project has cooperators from The Georgia Conservation Tillage Alliance, Fort Valley State University, the ARS Crop Protection and Management Research Laboratory in Tifton, GA and the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, GA. The No-till Following Pasture project relies on expertise from the University of Georgia. And the Appropriate Tillage Systems For Integrating Winter-Grazing Of Stocker Cattle has cooperators from Auburn University, the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and the ARS Soil Dynamics Research Unit in Auburn, AL.



In an effort to identify agricultural conservation practices that sustain or improve water quality and farm profits in the Southeastern USA, a group of producers, researchers and educators (WATER/FAIR) joined efforts to assess stream nutrient concentrations relative to land management practices and economic impacts in two typical Southern Piedmont watersheds (Rose and Greenbrier Creek watersheds). Project participants include: Local farm producers, Clarke/Oconee Cattlemen’s Assoc., three Univ. Of Georgia departments (Crop & Soil Sciences, Bio. & Ag. Engineering, Ag. Economics) and two North Carolina State Univ. departments (Crop Sciences and Animal Sciences). Additional partners include local wholesale and retail feed enterprises.

The WATER/FAIR team has been working together since 1996. In 1998, the group led by J. Phil Campbell, Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center Scientists obtained funding from USDA SARE to initiate Phase I (described above). Phase I (from May 1998 to February 2002) results gathered from 20 farm-fields indicated that stream-side fields managed for hay or forest had significantly lower nitrate and dissolved reactive P concentrations in both stream base and storm flow than stream-side fields managed for pasture alone. Subsequent producer meetings redirected the goal of WATER/FAIR. While water quality remained a high priority, the team also realized that these practices should also allow conservation practices to be profitable thus furthering the possibility of long-term sustainable farming practices. In August 2004 WATER/FAIR Phase II will begin. Its focus will be to evaluate crop/forage rotations which will serve the Southeastern US market for beef production, "horse quality forage", and poultry feed in agronomic, economic and environmental terms. Cooperative extension in both Georgia and North Carolina are full partners with the task of technology transfer.


In 2003 while at a Georgia Conservation Tillage Association meeting Team Conservation Tillage came together and decided to put their efforts together at the Sunbelt EXPO. The team partners include: USDA ARS’s J. Phil Campbell, Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center and Conservation Systems Research Team, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, University of Georgia (Cooperative Extension, Agricultural Pollution Prevention Program, College of Agricultural Sciences and Environmental Sciences), Auburn University, Georgia Conservation Tillage Alliance, and Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources. The team demonstrated the effectiveness of conservation tillage to improve soil quality, reduce fuel costs, improve producer profits, increase wildlife, capture more rainfall, and improve water quality to over 1000 people.




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Last Modified: 7/16/2004
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