Extension and Ag Research News


Discovery Farms Program Launched in North Dakota

A new project will assess the environmental impacts of a typical farm or ranch.

North Dakota has launched the Discovery Farms program to answer questions about the environmental impact of typical farm/ranch management systems.

A Discovery Farm is a working farm or ranch. Its operators are cooperating with local, state and federal natural resource managers to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of various production practices in reducing environmental impacts while maintaining farm profitability.

The Discovery Farms program is a cooperative effort of the core farms, North Dakota State University Extension Service, North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, North Dakota Department of Health and U.S. Geological Survey.

Intensive monitoring of runoff from cattle feeding areas on each Discovery Farm will document any environmental impact from typical livestock management practices.

“If there are impacts, the most exciting part of this program is that the producers will be asked to come up with ideas on how to deal with the issues,” says Ron Wiederholt, NDSU Extension nutrient management specialist in Carrington.

Whatever practice or facility alteration the producers agree upon will be installed and monitoring will continue to see if it is successful. Monitoring will take place on the farms for at least seven years.

Four livestock operations from across North Dakota volunteered to participate in the project. A steering committee of their peers from the majority of North Dakota farm, livestock and commodity organizations selected two of them to be the state’s core Discovery Farms.

The selected participants are Kim and Denise Amann and their sons, Cody and Dusty, who operate a farm near Dazey, and Doyle and Patsy Johannes and their son, Matthew, whose farm is near Underwood.

“Very little of this type of environmental quality data has been collected on real-life operating farms/ranches across the country,” Wiederholt says. “North Dakota is the second state besides Wisconsin to implement this type of data collection. North Dakota is very fortunate to have the caliber of producers who are willing to cooperate with this project step forward.”

Monitoring equipment is being installed at each site this fall and data collection will start with next spring’s snowmelt.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Ron Wiederholt, (701) 652-2951, ron.wiederholt@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.