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About NLAE
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Welcome to


     The National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment (NLAE) is a trans-disciplinary laboratory focused on integrating the fundamental principles in soil, water, and air into animal, cropping and watershed systems that leads to improved environmental quality, sustainability, and enhanced agricultural system efficiency.  The purpose of the NLAE is to develop innovative solutions to enhance the efficiency of agricultural systems and reduce their environmental impact.  Our mission is to integrate soil, water, and air processes into animal, cropping, and watershed systems to enhance agriculture and protect the environment. This integrated mission requires a blending of diverse expertise across a number of scientific disciplines in order to generate these solutions.

     The structure of NLAE consists of two research units, Soil, Water, and Air Resources and Agroecosystems Management. Within the Soil, Water, and Air Processes two research projects focus on the basic soil and air components of agricultural and environment systems; Biogeochemical processes affecting soil organic matter, structure, and environmental quality and Management of agricultural and natural resource systems for reduced atmospheric emissions and resilience to climate change. Three projects within the Agroecosystem Management Research Unit are: Enhancing animal production systems to increase natural resource utilization and reduce environmental impact; Cropping systems to enhance sustainability and environmental quality in the Upper Midwest; and Field and watershed management to enhance environmental quality.

     The 22 scientists within NLAE encompass a range of disciplines from biogeochemistry, soil physics, mathematics, chemistry, crop physiology, micrometeorology, animal nutrition, animal physiology, microbiology, watershed hydrology, agricultural engineering, agronomy, soil management, soil chemistry, and ecology. This diversity of scientific expertise within a single laboratory provides the foundation for the trans-disciplinary approach that allows this range of projects to be studied and the results to be generated.

NLAE is located on the Iowa State University campus.

National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment
1015 N University Boulevard
Ames, Iowa 50011-3120


Mission Statement


The mission of the laboratory is to generate information which addresses critical problems in agriculture and watershed management leading to the development of innovative solutions which increase the efficiency of agriculture systems and reduce environmental risk. Transdisciplinary teams address this mission through coordinated research addressing problems in abiotic and biotic systems that underpin agricultural and watershed systems.