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USDA Funding Research on Climate Change, Agr Production

Flowering canola field (ARS)

(Agricultural Research Service, USDA)

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded three grants to study the effects of climate change on agriculture and forest production. NIFA Director Roger Beachy made the announcement today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.

A research team led by Dr. Tim Martin, of the University of Florida in Gainesville, will receive $20 million over five years to study climate change mitigation and adaptation as it relates to southern pines, particularly loblolly pine, which makes up 80 percent of the planted forest land in the southeastern U.S. The team of 12 institutions will establish a regional network to monitor the effects of climate change and use the information to develop genetic breeding programs to breed plants that can adapt to changes in climate.

Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode, from the University of Idaho in Moscow, will receive $20 million over five years to monitor changes in soil carbon and nitrogen levels and greenhouse gas emissions related to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change in the region’s agriculture, which produces 13 percent of the nation’s wheat supply and 80 percent of its specialty soft white wheat for export. Eigenbrode’s team includes researchers from the University of Idaho, Washington State University, Oregon State University, and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

The researchers will also determine the effects of current and potential alternative cropping systems on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon, nitrogen and water-levels, as well as energy budgets and local and regional farm income impacts, using models and replicated field trials.

Dr. Lois Wright Morton, at Iowa State University in Ames, will receive $20 million over five years to lead a team from 11 institutions in nine states that will estimate the carbon, nitrogen and water footprints of corn production in the Midwest. Producers in this region represent 64 percent of the grain corn and 37 percent of the corn silage in the U.S. The team will then evaluate the impacts of various crop management practices when various climate models are applied.

The project will also develop an education and outreach program called I-FARM.  This interactive tool is expected to help the team analyze the economic, agronomic, and social acceptability of using various crop management practices to adapt and mitigate to the effects of climate change.

Read more: Long-Term Impacts of Biofuels on Land Analyzed

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