Ecosystems Biology Program

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AR1K: Sustainable, Profitable Agriculture through Research

This farm in Arkansas may soon be the most scientifically advanced farm in the world. (Credit: Jay McEntire)

 
 
Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, working with the University of Arkansas and Glennoe Farms, are bringing together molecular biology, biogeochemistry, environmental sensing technologies, and machine learning, to help revolutionize agriculture and create sustainable farming practices that benefit both the environment and farms. If successful, we envision being able to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and enhance soil carbon uptake, thus improving the long-term viability of the land, while at the same time increasing crop yields.

Through its pilot project in 2017, the team established a large-scale field research site which has produced providing extensive datasets and actionable insights for future land management strategies. The role of microbes in the health of the soil is at the center of this research.

  • Decreased Economic Risks: Revolutionize agriculture and create sustainable farming practices that benefit both the environment and farms.
  • Reduction of Inputs: Diminish the need for chemical fertilizers and enhance soil carbon uptake, thus improving the long-term viability of the land.
  • Improved Value of Crops: Provide farmers with methods for tracking sustainability practices that can lead to increased marketing opportunities.
  • Auxiliary Value Streams for Farmers: Data-driven farming practices allow farmers to quickly attribute positive and negative factors and uncover additional opportunity.