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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory » Research » Research Project #442392

Research Project: National Vegetation Planning Decision Support Tools for Conservation Land-use Planners and Farmers

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21660-005-058-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jul 15, 2022
End Date: Jul 14, 2027

The overall goal of this project is to develop web-based decision support tools on cover crop management practices used by farmers. Specifically, ARS will: Develop a Conservation Vegetation Management Decision Tool for NRCS and the public to use to make decisions on management of NRCS defined conservation vegetation practices including species selection, seeding rates, and implementation requirements. Economics, water and nitrogen management will be emphasized for cover crop management specifically. The tool will integrate the National Cover Crop Decision Support Tool within the overall Conservation Vegetation Management Decision tool. This includes: 1. Aligning cover crop specifications with the recommendations made by each of the four regional cover crop councils; 2. Providing consistency in cover crop practice through the use of authoritative data; and 3. Providing continuous updates, enhancements, and versioning in subsequent years of decision tools based on future fund amendments.

The suite of decision tools that are being integrated into a single conservation vegetation management tool will require extensive data verification to expand regional tools to cover the entire U.S. For expert-based tools, this will include weekly data verification meetings with domain experts from public and private sector. For process-based models this includes acquiring and structuring additional data for calibration for regions not yet captured. Furthermore, linking this data to soil and climate data is necessary for having national focused tools.