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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Office of International Research Programs
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The Office of International Research Programs (OIRP) is the main contact for international activities in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).  Working with the ARS Office of National Programs, our OIRP Regional Specialists work to engage strategic international partnerships that can enhance the productivity, effectiveness, and impact of ARS National Programs, as well as further the goals of the United States government.

Food Security


International Partnering

Scientists Speak on International Collaboration

ARS Celebrates World Soil Day

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ARS International Action

ARS Celebrates World Soil Day!

World Soil Day, declared in 2013 by the 68th United Nations (UN) General Assembly as an official annual event for December 5th, recognizes and reminds us of the critical role of soils to feed and sustain us. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), has a deep understanding of the importance of soil in the everyday lives of Americans, not only to maintain our food supply and a healthy, sustainable environment, but also the role of soil in addressing complex issues such as antimicrobial resistance. ARS scientists are able to bring, not only their own expertise to address the problem, they have the credibility and support of ARS to develop international collaborations to bring the best and the brightest available minds, and global resources together.

We asked three of or ARS scientists working internationally on soils, to describe their international collaboration projects, and explain how and why international collaboration impacts their research.




Not your grandma’s nutrient recycling – Designer Biochar

Jeff Novak, ARS Research Soil Scientist, Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research Unit (Florence, SC) and Kurt Spokas, ARS Soil Scientist, Soil and Water Management Research Unit (St. Paul, MN) are looking into using leftovers from biomass sources like wood chips, plant residues, manure and other agricultural wastes to help trap (sequester) carbon so it may be recycled as a soil nutrient. This helps to increase soil fertility, and can reduce carbon escaping to the atmosphere where it contributes to greenhouse gas.

Read Dr. Novak’s responses to questions about his research, and the impact of the international collaborations involved.



Soil Bacteria and Limiting Antibiotic Resistance

Dr. Lisa Durso, ARS Research Microbiologist, Agroecosystem Management Research Unit (Lincoln, NE) is coordinating a collaborative research project with partners in Canada and Mexico to better understand antimicrobial resistance in soils. The effort is unique among international efforts to address antimicrobial resistance in that limited targets are selected for testing using simple, inexpensive, and readily available tools in a ‘crowd-sourced’ approach. A key component of her work is collaboration and sharing data across locations, and plant or animal species expertise.

Read Dr. Durso’s responses to questions about her research, and the impact of the international collaborations involved.


Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems – Getting the Big Picture of Soil Health

Dr. Alan Franzluebbers, ARS Plant Physiologist, Plant Science Research Unit (Raleigh, NC) truly had an international collaboration evolution to find himself working on soil health in Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems (ICLS). Several connections and shared presentations at international research gatherings dating back to 2007, spawned relationships that led to three special issues in scientific journals to describe ICLS around the world. Understanding the interactions between livestock, plants, and soil are critical to understanding, managing, and sustaining soil health, and ultimately crop production whether it be pasture for grazing animals, or crops for harvesting and sale. The network of collaborators continues to grow, and fostered joint meetings for the International Symposium on Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems, and the first World Congress of Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forestry Systems in 2015.

Read Dr. Franzluebbers’ responses to questions about his research, and the impact of the international collaborations involved.



Last Modified: 9/21/2017
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