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Ohio state leads $10 million initiative for climate - smart farming solutions

Ohio state leads $10 million initiative for climate - smart farming solutions

By Andi Anderson

A team of researchers, educators, and extension experts led by The Ohio State University has received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to advance climate-smart agricultural practices (CSAPs) and enhance the climate resilience of farmers in the Midwest.

The project aims to co-create solutions with farmers to improve water quality, carbon sequestration, and overall farm viability.

In the U.S., specialized farming methods have increased efficiency and productivity, but they have also led to issues like soil health decline, water quality challenges, loss of biodiversity, and greater vulnerability to extreme weather.

The new CSAPs aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance carbon storage, and improve resilience to climate change. Traditional top-down approaches to adoption have been slow, so this project will work directly with farmers to overcome barriers and innovate practical approaches.

“This is an unprecedented investment by the USDA in a farmer-led response to address water quality and carbon sequestration challenges in agriculture,” said Douglas Jackson-Smith, project lead and professor at Ohio State.

“We’ll engage farmers in Ohio and Missouri, allowing us to compare the impacts of climate variability on CSAP performance across different environments.”

The project is funded through USDA’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems program. Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president of agricultural administration and CFAES dean, emphasized the project's focus on discovery, translation, and sharing of knowledge to achieve impactful outcomes.

The USDA investment will foster enduring partnerships and drive innovation to support agricultural resilience.

In addition to empowering farmers to design and innovate climate-smart farming approaches, the project will train the next generation of students in on-farm research and community stakeholder collaborations.

“With this investment, we will spur innovation clusters where farmers identify and overcome logistical, agronomic, and economic barriers to using conservation practices,” Jackson-Smith said. “Farmer leadership through collaborative research and peer-to-peer learning networks is key to finding realistic solutions that work on the farm.”

Although led by Ohio State, the project will also involve partnerships with Central State University, the University of Missouri, Lincoln University Missouri, and Solutions from the Land.

These collaborations will help create a comprehensive approach to advancing climate-smart agriculture and ensuring the long-term sustainability of farming practices in the Midwest.

Photo Credit: usda

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Categories: Ohio, Education, Government & Policy

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