Source: OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Jul 1, 2024
Project End Date
Jun 30, 2029
Grant Year
Project Director
Jackson-Smith, D.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Non Technical Summary
A large body of scientific research has demonstrated how climate smart agricultural practices (CSAPs) can significantly improve the climate resilience of US farmers. However, adoption of CSAPs remains extremely low, and results from controlled trials have been difficult to reproduce on working farms. Building on extensive input from farmers and stakeholders, we will build a nested transdisciplinary platform where farmers, scientists, and partners will co-produce the knowledge required to accelerate the development and adoption of place-based CSAPs in Midwestern cropping systems leading to reduced GHG emissions and increased carbon sequestration, climate resilience, and farm viability. The core (Tier 1) is a network of local nodes in each state where farmers will lead the design and implementation of on-farm research to address critical knowledge and performance gaps. We will also engage key local actors (Tier 2) to identify the outcomes required to gain their support for farmer CSAP use. Finally, we will collaborate with national actors (Tier 3) to ensure our work can benefit efforts to reform policies and design market mechanisms to incentivize use of CSAPs and provide carbon sequestration and ecosystem services. We will work in Ohio and Missouri, major farm states with diverse biophysical contexts where the impacts of climate variability on CSAP performance can be compared across time and space. Our project will fully integrate research, extension and educational activities by facilitating peer-to-peer and experiential learning opportunities and increasing participation in STEM by underrepresented minority students at each tier of research activity. Farmerco-development of research designs, extension programs and resources will ensure greater ownership and trust in data and products developed by the project. We will also assess whether a deeply collaborative and farmer-led approach changes CSAP attitudes and behaviors.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
Overall Goal: To significantly accelerate the use of CSAPs leading to reduced GHG emissions, increased C sequestration, and greater climate resilience and farm viability.Overriding Objective: Build an integrated on-farm research, extension, and education network to co-produce knowledge, train an existing and future workforce, and innovate viable climate smart strategies for Midwestern farmers.Specific Objectives:Identify and fill the on-farm knowledge and performance gaps that limit the use of climate smart farming practices under working farm conditions (TIER 1).Identify and fill off-farm knowledge gaps related to the performance of climate smart farming practices to increase local support and use (TIER 2).Identify and fill knowledge gaps that hinder the design of national policy and market tools to reward farms who use climate smart practices (TIER 3).Use innovative extension methods and leverage emerging programs to disseminate findings to broader and more diverse audiences.Build a future workforce and increase participation in STEM sciences by underrepresented minority students and scholars through hands-on learning.Assess whether a farmer-led co-production of knowledge approach can change knowledge, attitudes and behaviors about climate smart farming practices.
Project Methods
We will use innovative co-production of knowledge methods to better integrate farmer and stakeholder observations and experiences into the assessment and improvement of CSAPs. Specifically, we will support three interconnected 'tiers' of collaborative activities: Tier 1 (on-farm), Tier 2 (local off-farm), and Tier 3 (national policy and markets). In each case, research and engagement practices will be designed to identify and overcome knowledge gaps and adoption barriers and facilitate the open exchange of ideas and experience. The project will provide the staffing and organizational infrastructure required to create and support a suite of fully integrated research, extension, and education activities.Tier 1 will use a participatory action research (PAR) model to design on-farm research to address critical knowledge gaps associated with CSAPs. Based on input from farmers and stakeholders during proposal development and our team's experience, we will initially focus on comparisons of four distinct CSAP treatments: (i) single- vs. multi-species cover crops (SSCCs & MSCCs); (ii) annual vs. perennial crops in rotation; (iii) use of manure as a substitute for fertilizers; and (iv) use of livestock grazing to increase economic viability of CCs and diverse rotations. We will focus on comparisons of treatments implemented at the whole- or split-field scale on participating farms. Field data collection will prioritize quantifying the above- and below-ground outcomes identified as most important to participating farmers and stakeholders, including crop yield and stability, soil health, soil carbon sequestration, pest pressure, livestock growth, and farm financial performance. We will collect drone imagery on a subset of fields to determine how and when remote sensing can be used as a proxy for direct field measurements of key outcomes to enable scaling up of project methods.Tier 2 will engage key local actors (landlords, consultants, agency staff, etc.) around one to two Tier 1 nodes in each state. We will conduct roundtable discussions to capture perceptions of the value and barriers to adoption of CSAPs, develop visualization tools to simulate the impacts of adoption of CSAPs on landscape scale measures of ecosystem services, and participatory design workshops to co-create visions and strategies for creating mutually beneficial and more widespread adoption of appropriate CSAPs in each region.Tier 3 will form a Policy and Market Advisors board comprised of representatives of public and private sector organizations who are actively working at the regional or national level to create new supply chain and ecosystem service payment systems that reward farmers for carbon sequestration, water quality, and biodiversity. This group will gather annually to discuss what specific information about performance of CSAP diversification strategies is required to design and implement efficient and effective policy and market interventions to support climate adaptation. We will also conduct a discrete choice experiment through a large scale farmer survey to determine the types and levels of market/policy incentives required by producers to motivate them to adopt CSAPs at impactful scales.Our extension program includes a series of peer-to-peer learning opportunities where participating Tier 1 farmers can host field days where hands-on experiential activities will be used to facilitate engagement and discussions with area farmers. We will conduct specialized workshops that target specific clientele (i.e., farm consultants, farm and environmental organizations, and conservation professionals) and present results at existing extension programs in each state.On the educational front, we will invest in collaborative partnerships to provide new opportunities for underrepresented minority (URM) students to gain hands-on experience and career training in climate smart farming systems and collaborative transdisciplinary modes of agricultural research and education. We will create an Undergraduate Integrated Internship (UII) program at Central State University and Lincoln University, two historically black colleges and universities to enable students to participate in a summer work-based learning experience connected to our three tiers of research, engagement, and extension activities. UII students will have opportunities to gain experience developing and implementing curriculum modules based on their summer internships for use with high school students in OH and MO school districts that do not have an agricultural curriculum.Finally, we will gather systematic data from project participants and periodic statewide farmer surveys to assess whether a farmer-led co-production of knowledge approach can change knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about CSAPs.To assess whether we are able to achieve our objectives, the project will employ an independent evaluator to develop an evaluation plan (Y1), conduct formative assessments (Y1 and Y3), and provide summative assessment on progress towards project objectives and outcomes (Y5). The evaluator's work will utilize data generated in this objective and directly capture feedback from project team members and collaborators.