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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory » Research » Research Project #440511

Research Project: Economics of Mitigating Climate Change with Soil Health Practices

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21660-005-056-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: May 3, 2021
End Date: May 3, 2022

The objective of this project is to assess the economic costs and benefits (using partial enterprise budget analyses from long-term research projects) of implementing soil health practices (particularly, cover crops and no-tillage) in agriculture in the Northeast and North Central US. ARS scientists will also quantify changes in soil carbon to assess long-term management impacts on soil health.

The approach is to compile long-term data from 13 long-term agricultural research projects (duration, 6-58 years; mean 32) in the Northeast and North Central US that have agreed to share crop yield and management data for this project. All sites also have soil carbon data (as a measure of soil health) or are willing to share archived soil samples for ARS scientists to analyze for soil carbon. Using a standardized template, we will summarize findings and conduct economic partial budget analyses to assess costs and returns of soil health building practices compared with business as usual practices (e.g. no-tillage versus conventional tillage). The proposed work includes entering historic management records into the enterprise budget analysis template and processing and analyzing soil samples for soil carbon for sites with archived samples that have not yet been analyzed.