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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Projects
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Multifunctional Farms and Landscapes to Enhance Ecosystem Services

Lead Scientist: Kathy Soder

Short Description: Our objective is to improve the productivity, sustainability, and profitability of northeastern grazing lands by developing the ecological and physiological bases for enhancing and exploiting grazing land biodiversity. We will accomplish this by conducting research at the individual plant, plant community, pasture, and regional scales. At the individual plant level, we will develop a rational basis for selecting species components of diverse forage plant communities in grazing lands by identifying plant functional groups. At the plant community level, we will determine how biotic and abiotic stresses affect productivity of diverse forage mixtures, and determine how biodiversity might mitigate the adverse effects on forage plants. At the field and farm scales, we will test model assemblages of forage species in grazed pastures to determine how plant diversity in grazing lands affects soil, plant, and livestock productivity. We will then develop key indicators of plant biodiversity for monitoring the status and condition of grazing lands at landscape and farm scales.


Managing Farms for Environmental Stewardship and Profit

Lead Scientist: C. Alan Rotz

Short Description: Our objective is to develop methods for maximizing the economic benefits of forage and animal production systems in ecologically sustainable ways. To do this, we are developing a method for predicting field-scale transformation and losses of phosphorus and nitrogen, developing a multiple plant species pasture model that describes environmental and seasonal effects on productivity and species composition, creating nutritional models and feeding strategies to improve animal productivity in pasture-based systems and using an Integrated Farm System Model to establish recommended practices for profitable and environmentally sound dairy and beef production.

Recent Accomplishments


Management and Conservation Practices to Improve Water Quality in Agroecosystems of the Northeastern Us

Lead Scientist: Ray B. Bryant

Short Description: Our primary objective is to identify key chemical and hydrologic factors controlling the loss of the nutrients phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) from agricultural land uses typical of the northeastern U.S. Specifically, our research will assess the fate of P, N, and carbon (C) applied to land as manure, fertilizer, and crop residues, describing chemical and physical interactions that control the transfer of P and N from soil to water and its subsequent transport in surface and subsurface flow in agricultural landscapes

Last Modified: 8/24/2017
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