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Opportunities to Participate On-Farm Experiment

Posted by Blythe Howell | February 3, 2021
“On-Farm Trials help producers improve the health of their operations while at the same time helping NRCS build data to show the benefit of innovative conservation systems and practices applied on the land,” NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton says. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service just awarded a $4 million grant to the fifteen-state Data-Intensive Farm Management project (https://publish.illinois.edu/data-intensive-farm-managment/) to work with participating farmers to improve fertilizer and seed management efficiency for cotton, corn, soy, and wheat producers in the United States. The funding is provided through On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials), a component of the Conservation Innovation Grants program first authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.

The program titled, “Improving the Economic and Ecological Sustainability of US Crop Production through On-Farm Precision Experimentation,” will focus on developing a data-intensive crop management system from on-farm precision experiments. Farmers will use these tools to conduct site-specific, data-based evaluations of the agronomic, economic, and environmental impacts of site-specific nutrient use (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, micronutrients, lime) and seeding rate strategies. The project is specifically recruiting producers in Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington.

The Data-Intensive Farm Management project is led by University of Illinois agricultural economist David Bullock. The extension effort in this project is being led by Washington State University Farmers Network. “The great thing about this award is that it gives us funding to make sure that every year we can increase the profits of participating farmers and their crop consultants,” Bullock says. “We think that the field trials we will be running are truly revolutionary, but we need interested farmers and crop consultants to contact us right away so we are ready to go in spring 2021.” Washington state farmers should contact Keith Curran, associate director of Washington State University Farmers Network, at keith.curran@wsu.edu to express their interest.

To kick off the project, Washington State University Farmers Network will be hosting a series of live webinars from Feb 8-11 to discuss tools available for farmers and consultants to conduct on-farm research. These will include designing on-farm research trials, public data sources, data collection using sensors, automated data analysis, as well as a farmer’s experience of variable rate applications using sensors and drones. To register, please visit the WSU Farmer’s Network website.

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For more information, please contact haiying.tao@wsu.edu or keith.curran@wsu.edu.

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