Clark State College
Clark State College in conjunction with state and local NRCS will be investigating various practices to help develop sound recommendations for urban farming and invasive weed control. Urban farms are generally small in size with a focus on vegetable crops and make use of high tunnels. Due to their nature, this presents unique challenges such as salt accumulation, but also opportunities as high tunnels can extend the growing season. In regard to invasive weeds, honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.) is a non-native plant that is difficult to control. The goal is to remove the honeysuckle and then plant beneficial species and determine if the beneficial species can effectively prevent honeysuckle re-encroachment. The results of the projects will be shared not only with NRCS, but also students and industry.
Central Lakes College
Central Lakes College is focusing their project on integrating cover crops and grazing into traditional row crops to improve soil health. We have a 400 acre plot that is irrigated and has a row crop rotation that is being tailored to accommodate inter-seeding or fall seeding of crop mix. Beef cattle are brought in (approximately 200 head) for at least a 30-day time period each fall to graze cover crops and crop residue in a rotation type grazing pattern. Finally, we are using the Haney soil test at multiple sites on the plot to measure soil health impact and measure forage harvested by cattle to offset feed costs for producer.
Illinois Central College
The Illinois Central College wetland project is designed to study the effects of one edge of field practice for nutrient removal to help address the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) in Illinois. The NLRS intermediate goal is to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses from Illinois by 15% by 2025. Illinois is lacking solid, replicated data on in-field and edge of field practices that can reduce nutrient loss. This project is designed generate data for nutrient reduction from tile drainage water through a wetland. We will be able to use nutrient concentration and volume to generate nutrient removal data.
Ivy Tech Community College
The Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette project focuses on applied research projects to identify best practices with the use of cover crops. Working with Indiana NRCS, the use of cover crops was identified as a one conservation practice to utilize in addressing priority resource concerns. Utilizing state of the art equipment, Ivy Tech will be implementing cover crops through interseeded, aerial, and traditional post-harvest methods. Soil health data will be shared with NRCS and best practices will be taught to both students and producers through field days and in-class projects. Along with other recommended conservation practices this project will provide appropriate recommendations to improve soil health.
North Dakota State College of Science
The NDSCS and NRCS project at the NDSCS Kosel Family Agriculture Land Lab compares conservation practices including no-till and cover crops to conventional management across the 30-acre project. The base rotation is corn, soybean and wheat with additional crops added to the rotation when practical. Students, faculty and project collaborators collect agronomic and soils data through traditional testing methods and remote sensing. Additionally, a financial comparison of the side-by-side demonstration will be completed annually.
Northcentral Technical College
The Northcentral Technical college project, in partnership with our local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) representatives, focuses on installing conservation practices leading to improved soil health. The impact of each conservation practice will be shared with NRCS and taught to agriculture students and producers. Some of the conservation practices involved in this partnership include varied manure application strategies and varied cover crop planting types and timelines to improve soil quality.
Northeast Community College
This project is a collaborative effort between the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), biology faculty, agriculture faculty, and the farm management team. The goal is to develop a conservation plan, with the help of an NRCS partner, and implement the practices outlined in order to improve soil health and reduce nutrient infiltration. As these practices are put into place, soil health and water quality will be monitored by an intern as well as various biology and agriculture classes. The data gathered from the installation of conservation practices will be shared with the NRCS and the general public via field days.
Northeast Iowa Community College
Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) faculty and students are working with NRCS field office staff to implement a conservation plan, install practices on the ground, collect data, and help inform current and future producers. Research will include testing for soil health and the impact of crop rotations on healthy water, soil, and food sources.
Richland Community College
The Richland Community College collaboration project with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will utilize farmland on our campus to implement conservation practices, collect data, and train students and producers via field days on the best management practices related to soil health and soil conservation. The initiative will focus on the effects of cover crops on water quality, carbon storage, soil organic matter content, soil compaction, and overall soil health.