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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory » Research » Research Project #443072

Research Project: Designing and Developing the Cyberinfrastructure and Web-Based Decision Tools for Conservation Vegetation Management in Agriculture

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21660-005-065-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2022
End Date: Jul 31, 2024

Objective:
In order to make agriculture more precise and sustainable, farmers need site-specific recommendation systems to aid in their decision making. The overall goal of this project is to develop web-based decision support tools on conservation vegetation management including cover crops. Specifically, ARS will: Conduct human-centered design on decision tool to ensure tools that are both useful and usable. Homogenize and expand the currently available apps in collaboration with NRCS to build a National Conservation Vegetation Management decision tool. Create a robust product that is easy to maintain and expand in the future. Develop the ability to store user interactions and facilitate interactions with NRCS personnel. Construct web-applications that are both desktop and mobile compliant. Build geo-spatial module to the decision tool to enable recommendations that vary across a given field.

Approach:
A team of full-stack developers, designers, and applied domain experts will collaborate on the development of web-based tools for agricultural conservation management. Several design sprints will be initiated for select tools. After several iterations, the finalized designs will be provided to programmers. Back-end of all tools will be integrated to enable data sharing between apps by building an API network and shared databases. A geo-spatial module will be integrated for ingesting satellite and low-cost camera images or other spatial data layers to drive to responses. To ensure maintainability of the code base, "continuous integration/continuous deployment" pipeline will be implemented to ensure that the apps can be improved over time and that security is maintained as web protocols evolve. A uniform documentation system will be employed so that NRCS can choose to take over app maintenance if/when they choose.