1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The primary purpose is to document conservation practices on organic dairy farms, examine farm-level economic ramifications, and establish research priorities relative to conservation practices applied to organic pasture and forage systems. A new initiative for conservation funding for organic farms has recently been established; however, there is very little research on pastureland conservation practices applied to organic farms. Thus, this joint effort between Tufts University and ARS will have significant economic and conservation implications for the forage and pasturelands of the U.S and will provide some of the first research information on conservation practices specific to pasture management on organic farms.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Tufts University will (1) Obtain pasture, forage, and farm management data related to conservation practices on organic dairy farms; (2) gather county-level conservation practice information from local USDA-NRCS offices; and (3) compile the data into a database to enable farm-level economic analyses of farm management and conservation practices related to organic dairy farms.
3. Progress Report
The database was quality control checked, summarized, linked with historical soil and cropping data, and organized into a geographical database. The database was integrated with existing production and cost information for organic farms to assess economic implications of conservation practice implementation, in addition to evaluation of the environmental benefits of implementation. Progress was monitored through regular email communication and one face-to-face meeting with the collaborator. A poster with preliminary results was presented by the university collaborator at the ASA-CSSA-SSSA meetings in November 2010. The manuscript is targeted for submission to a peer-reviewed in 2012.