Case Study 2: Arkansas –Red –White Basin in Arkansas
Location: The Arkansas Discovery Farm Program has edge-of-field monitoring sites located on farms in the Illinois, Beaver Lake, Point Remove-Lake Conway, Bayou Meto, L’Anguille River, and Middle Bayou Macon watersheds (8-digit HUCs). The University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture has partnered with other organizations who are conducting edge-of-field monitoring as part of the Mississippi Healthy River Basin Initiative (MRBI) including USDA-ARS, Arkansas State University and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to form the Arkansas Edge-of-Field Monitoring Network
Co-leaders: Mike Daniels and Andrew Sharpley: University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
Key Team Members: University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, NRCS, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Arkansas Farm Bureau and Producer led organizations such as the Arkansas Rice Federation, Arkansas Soybean Growers Association, Arkansas Corn Grower Association, Arkansas Cotton Grower Association, etc.
Focus: Edge-of-Field Monitoring of best management practice efficacy for nutrient and sediment reductions on both livestock and row crop farms and water conservation through improved irrigation techniques on row crop farms.
Typical Farming Practices: Row-crop agriculture includes irrigated corn, rice, soybeans, and cotton production. Rice and soybean are typically rotated while corn is typically rotated with Cotton. Rice and soybean are typically flood irrigated although where land leveling has occurred, soybeans are now furrow irrigated. Corn and cotton are typically furrow irrigated. Tillage ranges from conventional to conservation to semi-continuous no-till.
Agricultural BMPs: Row Crop practices include surface water management and drainage including
land leveling; conservation tillage; nutrient management including variable-rate fertilizer; water conservation through improved irrigation, tail water recovery, surface water impoundment; and cover crops. Livestock and Poultry agriculture include practices such as rotational grazing, filter strips, farm ponds as catchments, treatment of dust from ventilation fans in poultry houses and Low Impact Development techniques during construction of facilities.
Watershed Scale Approaches: Three-tier monitoring in the L’Anguille Watershed
State and Federal Grants Program: NRCS MRBI, NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants, EPA 319h funds, Commodity Board Grants from Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board, Cotton Incorporated, United Soybean Board, Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Board, Arkansas Natural Resources Conservation Commission Grant, State of Arkansas General Improvement Fund for Cotton Discovery Farms. Private Funding from Walton Family Foundation, Monsanto and Arkansas Farm Bureau
Grants to Support Case Study: NRCS CIG
Outreach and Education: The Arkansas Discovery Farm program through the University of Division of Agriculture has educational and outreach objectives. Arkansas Discovery Farms have conducted several tours for groups such as the Arkansas Joint House and Senate Agricultural Committees, NRCS National Chief Jason Weller, the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force, Walmart Sustainability Coordinators, United Soybean Board Sustainability Committee, United States Senator from Arkansas, the Honorable John Boozman, Farm Bureau, Four State Discovery Farm Tour, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, National Forage and Grassland Council.
Socio-Economic Factors: N/A