AU agriculture division secures grant to study gas emissions from poultry farms

Most greenhouse gas emissions from commercial poultry operations are related to the production of animal feed, and methods to reduce these emissions are the subject of a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to the Agriculture System Division of the University of Arkansas.

The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the Division of Agriculture, was asked to perform measurements of greenhouse gas emissions on farms that grow the two main components of food for poultry – corn and soy. The measurements will be used to quantify differences in practices such as conventional tillage and conservation tillage to develop value-added “climate-smart” products.

Kris Brye, a university professor of applied soil physics and soil science at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, will lead the emissions measurements, and Mike Daniels, a professor and soil and water conservation scientist at the Cooperative Extension Service, will lead an outreach and education component of the grant. The Agriculture Division’s program includes plans for a system to monitor and verify greenhouse gases that include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. It will also assess local market opportunities for direct sale and tracking of grain to broiler farms.

Arkansas is the third nation in the nation for the production of broiler chickens. The state harvested more than 3 million acres of soybeans and 830,000 acres of grain corn in 2021, according to the 2022 Arkansas Agriculture Profile. A 2020 life cycle assessment found that the production of animal feed contributed about 72% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with broiler production.

Under the USDA’s Partnership for Climate-SMART Commodities program, the Agriculture Division will be funded for at least three years to demonstrate the viability of growing more climate-friendly grains for sale to agricultural operations. poultry feed. SMART stands for Scaling Mechanisms for Agriculture’s Regenerative Transformation.

Project support includes funding for the creation of a further education program with postdoctoral and graduate students, as well as a Climate-SMART instructor and a technician from the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences of the Agriculture Division.

The project will take place on selected Arkansas discovery farms and the fields of other private landowners that produce soybeans and corn. The Agriculture Division’s Discovery Farms program engages farmers in conservation through collaborative research. There are about a dozen farms in Arkansas associated with the Discovery Farms program.

Mississippi State University is the lead partner on the grant titled “Developing Climate-Smart Grain Markets in the Mid-South through Diverse Partnerships and a Farming Systems Approach to Practice Integration to Reduce Disruptions.” greenhouse gas emissions”. Other partners include Alcorn State University in Mississippi, Southern Ag Services Inc. and Conservation Solutions.

The USDA says the Climate-SMART program will expand to 28 states and will aim to “catalyze a self-sustaining, market-based network to expand farmer access, adopt climate-smart practices at scale, and sustainably produce cereals and dairy products with verified products. and quantified climate benefits.

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