April 23, 2021
Division of Agriculture forage expert to serve as co-investigator for $1 million sustainability grant
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- $1 million grant to examine sustainable forage, grazing and other agricultural practices
- Division of Agriculture’s Dirk Philipp to serve as co-investigator
- Arkansas research examines water status, soil health and more
LITTLE ROCK — A forage expert with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will serve as a co-investigator for a $1 million grant project designed to promote sustainable agriculture throughout the Southeast.
Dirk Philipp, associate professor of forage agronomy for the Division of Agriculture, will serve as a co-investigator along with researchers from the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service and Mississippi State University.
The grant was issued by the Southern branch of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, or SARE.
Researchers with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), based in Butte, Montana, will serve as lead investigators for the project.
According to a press release from SARE, researchers with NCAT will use “a systems research approach to identify practical and regionally-appropriate methods of regenerative grazing that can be implemented across the Southeast. Systems research analyzes the problem as a whole by focusing on a broad array of factors rather than on a few isolated variables.”
For his part in the research, Philipp and other researchers in Arkansas will study specific aspects of soil and water health in the region.
“The overall objective of this research is to evaluate the effects of forage defoliation frequency and amount on soil water status, soil health, and above-ground biomass accumulation over the course of three growing seasons under controlled conditions,” Philipp said. “In addition, we will work with two cooperating farmers to demonstrate practices that in theory will lead to a more efficient land use while retaining soil health.”
Philipp’s part of the research will be conducted through the Division of Agriculture’s research arm, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. The Arkansas portion of the research effort will take place on an existing 12-acre plot where novel endophyte tall fescue is already thriving.
“Tall fescue is the prevalent cool-season perennial forage in the area and is, thus, well suited for our experiment,” Philipp said. “Each experimental unit will be approximately 0.15 acres in size and stocked with sheep during the grazing cycles.”
According to Southern SARE, the $1 million grant represents the largest research investment the program has made since it began in 1988.
The projected end date of this research is 2024.
To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.
To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: aaes.uark.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at ArkAgResearch.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service