Land & Life Video for May 22, 2015
LITTLE ROCK — We're proud to announce a new video series called "Land & Life." The bi-weekly series will cover a few, quick stories from around the state. You can always find more videos at Youtube.com/arextension. This week: Chesapeake Bay Water Quality, Discovery Farms Growing and 2015 Soybean Science Challenge Winner.
[Narrator] This week on Arkansas Land & Life: The Chesapeake Bay Commission credits Arkansas research for moving water quality forward in the U.S. The Discovery Farms program is expanding to four additional sites in 2015. And an Alpina High School senior wins the Soybean Science Challenge Award. When it comes to phosphorus management research, Arkansas is out front.
[Ann Swanson] "One of the reasons we came to Arkansas is Arkansas and Andrew Sharpley and his folks really are leading the way in terms of phosphorus science."
[Narrator] The commission negotiates environmental policy and law between the states on the bay shore and Congress. Swanson says clear and credible research is critical for effective environmental regulation. After hearing Sharpley speak on phosphorus management at a summit, Swanson said she and Rona Kobell, of the Chesapeake Bay Journal, wanted to see the research he and other Division of Agriculture scientists were doing in Arkansas. They toured two Arkansas Discovery Farms and learned how research efforts in Arkansas might be applied to the Chesapeake Bay region. Swanson said that Sharpley's summit presentation was a turning point in Maryland passing regulations for Phosphorus Management Tools, a system for reducing the impact of the nutrient on area streams.
[Ann Swanson] "When Andrew Sharpley got up on the stage and began explaining phosphorus, everyone - the farmers, the scientists, the non-profits, the legal negotiators like myself - we all got it," Swanson said.
[Narrator] Swanson said Maryland just passed new regulations that employ phosphorus management tools to better manage the nutrient.
[Ann Swanson] "We really do have Arkansas to thank for helping us understand what were the right moves to control that pollution."
[Narrator] Four locations are being added to an on-farm research program that enables Arkansas crop and livestock farms to monitor nutrient flow off their land ... all with an eye to improving water quality as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. Researchers are expanding the number of the Arkansas Discovery Farms to 13 by year's end. The program, conducted on privately owned farms, provides "edge-of-field" water quality monitoring and analysis.
[Mike Daniels] "Fertilizer is not cheap and if they're losing fertilizer at the end of the field we may be able to cut back or do something differently to keep those nutrients in place. So we're out here to help the farmer. "
[Narrator] Daniels said researchers would like to have at least five to seven years' worth of data on a farm before graduating from the program. Andrew Sharpley, a global authority on nutrient management and U of A Division of Agriculture professor, works the Discovery Farms program with Daniels. Sharpley said project equipment for each farm costs between 10- and 20-thousand dollars, plus 10-thousand per year annually in lab analysis, labor and travel. Funding for the four new farms comes in part through grants from the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.
[Mike Daniels] "We're out here to collect real data, so if we're a part of the problem, we can be a part of the solution."
[Narrator] Taylor Hensley, a senior attending Alpena High School won the award during the 2015 Southwestern Energy Arkansas State Science & Engineering Fair, held April 4 at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Hensley's 12-week project measured the effects of direct sunlight and shade on three rows each of cotton, soybeans and corn, all of which she planted for the project. Hensley noted significant differences in growth, calcium and chlorophyll production and soybean pod and bean mass between the shaded and unshaded groups. Hensley was awarded $300 at the regional level and $1,000 at the state level for her winning project. The cash awards were provided by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. The Soybean Science Challenge program, which began in 2014, is open to all Arkansas students enrolled in grades 9-12. Students and teachers have access throughout the year to online courses designed to support student research, as well as an understanding of the science and challenges of soybean production. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is your R&D for life. For more information on these and other programs visit UAEX.edu.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service