|CRIS 1932-21630-004 Alignment with REE Research Area Priorities|
Our multidisciplinary team develops productive and persistent pasture systems that are resilient to climatic variability. We design ruminant production systems for small-acreage farms that accommodate the soil, plant and animal resources capable of adapting to within and among year weather patterns, and we determine how the management systems used influence carbon and nitrogen cycling and sequestration.
Food safety is impacted by resident microbial populations within livestock intestinal tracts. The microbes can be introduced to surroundings during grazing and food processing. We determine how grazing management systems influence microbial species occurrence and transport in the soil-plant-grazer continuum and design management practices to minimize eventual movement to ground water.
Children’s Nutrition / Health
Children’s health (and subsequent adult health) is influenced tremendously by dietary nutrient balance, with childhood obesity being a major concern from a national health and well-being standpoint. Our research on pasture systems ensures production of human dietary components that are excellent natural sources of balanced protein, essential fatty acids, and critical vitamins and minerals required for healthy child development.
Global Food Security
Global food security depends on production systems that either enhance environmental quality or minimize negative impacts, especially on marginal land resources. Our research emphasizes systems that improve small-acreage farm productivity and sustainability within the Appalachian region, reducing risk through multi-cropping silvopastoral practices (e.g. combination of wood, forage, livestock, understory crops). The technology we develop is applicable to hill-land environments in other regions with similar resource and climatic features.
We cooperate with USDA-ARS at