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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fayetteville, Arkansas » Poultry Production and Product Safety Research » Research » Research Project #439520

Research Project: Improving the Economic and Ecological Sustainability of US Crop Production through On-Farm Precision Experimentation

Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

Project Number: 6022-63000-006-019-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 31, 2021
End Date: Aug 22, 2024

To allow NRCS to provide incentives to farmers that will increase, on a grand scale, the input use efficiency, profitability and sustainability of US crop production.

The purpose of the proposed research is not simply to run several hundred on-farm field trials. Rather, the purpose is to finish building and begin exploiting the vast potential of a human, computational, and institutional infrastructure for data-intensive farm management. The infrastructure will be used by farmers around the world, working with professional crop consultants and university extension personnel, to generate data conducting tens of thousands of on-farm trials every year. The infrastructure will be used by professional crop consultant and university extension personnel to help farmers interpret the analytical results of the analysis of their data. Finally, the infrastructure will be used by scientists to greatly increase understanding of how human management should respond to different crop growth and economic environments. Figure 2 illustrates the social results from superior crop management practices made possible by the research exploiting said infrastructure. The vector-function (f(x,c,z), g(x,c,z)) implicitly defines a set of possible social outcomes, shown as (water quality, yield) points in figure 2’s right-hand panel. Microeconomic theory predicts that because the nutrient runoff is a non-point source of environmental damage, the free-market economic equilibrium will result in a social outcome in the interior of the feasible (yield, water quality) outcomes set, at a point like A. But with intelligent public policy (including research policy) and better private information, a more socially efficient outcome, such as point B, may be reached. Ultimately, the aim of the proposed research will be to provide information necessary to help public and private decision makers move the US from a social outcome like A toward a social outcome like B. Specifically, the proposed project aims to develop the intellectual, physical, and institutional infrastructure that will provide empirically-based, practical advice to agricultural producers and policy makers on how to efficiently reduce crop nutrient losses into U.S. waterways and seas.