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
This project will document the frequency and extent (land area) of conservation practices on organic dairy farms, examine farm-level ramifications on the cost of implementation of these practices, and establish research priorities relative to conservation practices applied to organic pasture and forage systems. Data have been obtained from approximately 100,000 contracts issued under the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) on pastureland conservation practices throughout the eastern U.S. The next steps include quality control checks of the data, summary and analysis of the data set, and organization into a geographical database. Progress was monitored through regular meetings, conference calls, and emails.