Resilient Economic Agricultural Practices (REAP) (Archival 2012-2014)
The world population is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, requiring 40% more production of plant and animal protein from our limited arable lands that must also produce fiber and biofuels, and provide wildlife habitat. Agriculture must address this complex multiple land use without compromising soil health, water, or air resources. Meeting these needs requires sustained long term research (~10 years) on land management practices across the varied U.S. landscape. This duration is necessary because of the time required for soil properties and processes to show consistently detectable soil health changes in response to land management decisions. Currently, six years of research has been accumulated by scientists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and their land grant university partners at locations in 13 states (IA, MN, NE, SD, ND, IL, IN, WI, PA, SC, AL, MD, CO) under Department of Energy Funds.
This project has been orphaned by loss of DOE’s Sun Grant program (2012), putting the continuation of these ongoing programs at risk roughly half way through their needed lifecycle. Thus an alternative funding mechanism is being established by the ATIP Foundation (Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership), at the request of USDA, to ensure uninterrupted continuation of this important research to sustain data development, collection and development of guidelines and tools needed to assess long-term effects of food, animal feed, fiber, and biofuels production on soil health.