Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area
The Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area aims to increase soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative practices that improve soil health. This Challenge Area will target research that includes, but is not limited to, promoting robust soil microbial communities, improving cover crop cultivars, developing improved agronomic practices, characterizing soil health-related ecosystem services, increasing social and economic tractability of soil health promoting practices, and enhancing the efficacy of Extension services.
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2016 Soil Health Webinar
FFAR Webinar: Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms - Dec. 2, 2016
This interactive webinar featured an introduction to FFAR, an overview of consensus reached during FFAR Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Convening Events, and an interactive discussion led by FFAR Soil Health Advisory Council Chair Dr. Douglas Karlen and FFAR Scientific Progam Director Dr. LaKisha Odom.
Open Funding Opportunities
There are no open funding opportunities at this time, but you may submit research to our general call for concepts.
National Cover Crop Initiative
We launched a collaborative, multi-partner research effort to improve soil health in the United States. The $6.6 million research initiative, made possible by a $2.2 million grant from FFAR, will promote soil health through the development and adoption of new cover crops across the United States. The initiative will bring together many collaborators, including representatives from the seed industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), three land grant universities, and an existing Legume Cover Crop Breeding Team, comprising another six land grant universities, ARS sites and a producer network. The focus of the initiative will be to identify cover crop species with the greatest potential to improve soil health and evaluate such species over a broad geography within three groups: small grains (wheat, rye, oat and triticale), annual legumes (hairy vetch, winter peas and clovers), and brassicas (turnips, radishes, kale and mustards). Read the press release or visit the National Cover Crops Initiative webpage.
2017 Seeding Solutions
FFAR awarded a $1 million dollar Seeding Solutions grant to the Foundation for Agronomic Research to quantify the impact of nutrient management practices on crop yield, soil health, nutrient use efficiencies, and nitrogen losses. The FFAR grant is being matched by the 4R Research Fund for a total $2 million investment in practical data for corn and soybean farmers, whose decisions about how much and when to apply fertilizer affect not only their own crop yields but also the long-term viability of their land and water quality in surrounding areas.
Specifically, researchers will study 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices, a management approach that focuses on precision: using the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place. Although many producers and policymakers seek to reduce negative downstream impacts of agricultural production, there is a lack of data to support best practice recommendations. Research is needed to document the implications of certain nutrient management practices for managing water quality while also maintaining or growing crop yields, maintaining soil health, and profitability. Learn more...