The demand for food, fiber, land and water increases as the population increases creating challenges for farmers and producers. More intensive and effective conservation strategies will be needed to ensure that we fulfill these increasing demands while sustaining our resources and maintaining the integrity of our environment and the ecosystems.

In addition to these challenges, climate change will intensify the obstacles for conservation and production. The planned program will focus on determining the best management practice(s) (BMPs) and best available technology(ies) (BATs) of crop production (using horticulture or alternative crops) to improve their economic values while minimizing adverse impact to the environment in Mississippi.

In the effort to identify the agronomic requirements for high-income generating crop cultivars, different treatments and methods will be utilized, including: different cropping systems (rotation or multi cropping); fertilizer treatments; irrigation sources and application methods; staking and pruning techniques; as well as other management practices affecting the plant density.

Excess nutrient will be observed through plant nutrient uptake and fate and transport of leachates in the soil subsurface. Studies in these areas will advance the understanding of Soil, Plant, Water, Nutrient Relationships. Simultaneously, the study of irrigation methods and applications that can be impacted by climate change will also address Conservation and Efficient Use of Water and its impact to Watershed Protection and Management.

The cost and benefit of combinations of treatments and technologies will be assessed to identify which management practice is the most cost effective method that will also protect the environment, addressing Economics of Agriculture and Farm Management.

Concurrent research will be conducted to evaluate the integration of production practices in an efficient and effective manner using application of remote sensing and/or geographic information systems or other technologies to help better understand ways of Pollution Prevention and Mitigation.

The results of these studies will be disseminated to communities so that they have accessibility to information and have a better understanding of available technologies and adopt best management practice(s) that will support and maximize their production while protecting the environment.

At the same time, agriculture productivity is highly sensitive to climate factors such as temperature and rainfall that can cause drought, severe storms, and floods. Changes in climate may impact soil moisture and the quantity and quality of water supply that creates obstacles for crop production.

Factors that affect climate change include changes in land use such as conversion of forest land into commercial or residential may alter the hydrologic cycle; thus, impacting the quality and quantity of water resources and the quality of soil. The changes in water and nutrient availability will be a limiting factor that may offset any potential beneficial yield.

To address this issue, dissemination of information about Forest Management and Sustainability of Forest Resources will be conducted as part of planning and implementation of conducting a holistic approach in watershed management and to achieve sustainable agriculture production while protecting the environment.

Knowledge Areas

  • Soil, Plant, Water, Nutrient Relationships
  • Conservation and Efficient Use of Water
  • Watershed Protection and Management
  • Management and Sustainability of Forest Resources
  • Pollution Prevention and Mitigation
  • Economics of Agricultural Production and Farm Management