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Alan Franzluebbers

USDA Professor

Williams Hall 3218

Publications

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Grants

Date: 09/30/20 - 8/31/23
Amount: $159,602.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

This project will be a subcontract with Virginia Tech as part of the Conservation Collaboration grant program at NRCS. At NCSU the Amazing Grazing Program will conduct a two-year educational program to enhance the adoption of adaptive grazing management and grazing plan development. To start the project we will hold a training at NCSU on the principles of pasture ecology and adaptive grazing management for extension agents and soil and water conservation staff. Following this initial training, five local training programs for farmers will be conducted and the agents and other agency supporters participating will help with instruction. There will be four one-day sessions at each location about one month apart. Workshop participants will receive a kit of temporary grazing supplies, and homework between sessions will involve using those supplies with support from local agency advisors. Each session will have a different focus, with the final session used to finalize a grazing plan for each farm participating. Soil analysis support for this project and the carbon farming training (wihch will be another subcontract with VA Tech from the NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation) will be provided by Dr. Alan Franzluebber's lab in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

Date: 04/01/21 - 3/31/23
Amount: $55,399.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

Numerous farmers across the South are exploring the option of converting their traditional cow/calf operations to pasture-based finishing systems. While pasture-raised beef is touted for its increased healthfulness, we lack knowledge on how its consumption impacts the metabolic health of consumers. The goal of this work is to use a systems approach to detail the transfer of >500 biochemicals and phytochemicals from the forage/feed consumed by pasture-raised and feedlot-fed animals, to their beef, and into the body of consumers; an approach we describe as ‘from farm to table to us’. This knowledge is vital to producers as market growth and opportunities to partner with local whole-sale aggregators is ultimately dependent on consumer demand for a healthful product. Using a systems approach, we will first compare dietary biochemical richness of pasture- versus conventionally-raised cattle (Objective 1). Second, we will determine the biochemical richness of pasture-raised versus conventional beef (Objective 2). We will then compare metabolite and inflammatory profiles of adults consuming pasture-raised versus conventional beef to provide insight into consumer health (Objective 3). Findings will be shared (Objective 4) with producers, aggregators, and consumers. Producing a potentially more healthful product can result tremendous in “brand building” opportunities for pasture-based producers across the South to improve profitability whilst benefiting human health.

Date: 03/01/22 - 2/28/23
Amount: $99,616.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

On-farm demonstrations will be conducted on beef cattle farms across North Carolina as part of a multi-state effort to demonstrate and evaluate the practice of Bale Grazing. Bale Grazing involves placing round baled hay on pasture at a low density during the autumn in anticipation of winter feeding needs. Once winter feeding commences electric fence is used to limit cattle access to only a few bales at a time. Typically farmers use metal bale rings to protect hay during feeding that are moved by hand to the next set of bales exposed to the cattle. The project will identify 4 farmers to participate in the first year and will conduct a background soil analysis. They will then be advised as they place the hay and continue with the hay feeding plan. As the program evolves 2 additional farmers will be selected during each year 2 and 3, and efforts with all farmers will continue for the four year project. Soil changes on the pasture used for this practice and on control land not treated in this way determined will be used to document benefits or cost to soil health and subsequent forage production. Educational workshops will be conducted at each of the cooperating farms at least once during the project.

Date: 09/01/20 - 8/31/22
Amount: $100,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The backbone of the FSRU will continue on: replicated plots of farming systems managed with farm-scale equipment. Within that context, new research questions have emerged. This research involves measuring outcomes never before measured or nesting new subplots within the experimental framework. From the social sciences, we can ask how these systems interact with sustainability in the real world. How do farmers weigh the choices in selecting farming practices from these various systems? What factors play roles in farming practices that cannot be captured in an experimental protocol? In this proposal, we have attracted researchers new to CEFS who have fresh ideas on relating this experiment to the sustainability issues of our time. Most of these questions were never envisioned when the experiment was first designed. From research on which farming systems emit the most greenhouse gases, to work on how land tenure affects the ability of farmers to adopt sustainable practices, the new research projects run the gamut of disciplines.

Date: 09/01/19 - 8/31/22
Amount: $100,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The backbone of the FSRU will continue on: replicated plots of farming systems managed with farm-scale equipment. Within that context, new research questions have emerged. This research involves measuring outcomes never before measured or nesting new subplots within the experimental framework. From the social sciences, we can ask how these systems interact with sustainability in the real world. How do farmers weigh the choices in selecting farming practices from these various systems? What factors play roles in farming practices that cannot be captured in an experimental protocol? In this proposal, we have attracted researchers new to CEFS who have fresh ideas on relating this experiment to the sustainability issues of our time. Most of these questions were never envisioned when the experiment was first designed. From research on which farming systems emit the most greenhouse gases, to work on how land tenure affects the ability of farmers to adopt sustainable practices, the new research projects run the gamut of disciplines.

Date: 09/01/18 - 8/31/22
Amount: $599,020.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The goal of the project is to increase the number of beginning farmers and ranchers successfully and profitably raising meat through either pasture-based or silvopasture systems by providing them and their families with novel land acquisition strategies in partnership with land trusts, solar farms, and existing landowners, while also equipping new farmers with targeted knowledge, skills, decision-making tools, and the market and buyer connections that have been identified as needed for these producers to operate profitably and be successfully. CEFS’ NC Choices (www.ncchoices.com), working comprehensively to support the meat value chain since 2002, is uniquely equipped to not only identify needs of beginning farmers, in part through their statewide surveys of all registered meat handlers in the state, but to deliver this comprehensive program addressing those identified needs. For this project, we have assembled the necessary partners and subject matter experts, identified key choke points for beginning farmers, and are proposing high- impact solutions that offered together will insure success. This comprehensive support, including introducing and adapting a Meat and Yield Price Calculator and Meat Suite to expand their markets, will result in 250 beginning farmers who will receive training, decision-making, and market development tools plus 15 new cohort farmers who will enter into model land-share agreements with land partners. Finally, through resource development and training to aid CES agents in serving beginning farmers and via the national conference of land trusts to be held in North Carolina in 2019, we ensure that this project will have statewide and national impact.

Date: 09/01/18 - 8/31/20
Amount: $100,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

The backbone of the FSRU will continue on: replicated plots of farming systems managed with farm-scale equipment. Within that context, new research questions have emerged. This research involves measuring outcomes never before measured or nesting new subplots within the experimental framework. From the social sciences, we can ask how these systems interact with sustainability in the real world. How do farmers weigh the choices in selecting farming practices from these various systems? What factors play roles in farming practices that cannot be captured in an experimental protocol? In this proposal, we have attracted researchers new to CEFS who have fresh ideas on relating this experiment to the sustainability issues of our time. Most of these questions were never envisioned when the experiment was first designed. From research on which farming systems emit the most greenhouse gases, to work on how land tenure affects the ability of farmers to adopt sustainable practices, the new research projects run the gamut of disciplines.

Date: 09/30/14 - 2/28/19
Amount: $995,710.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

In this project the team will work on 6 private farms and 3 research stations to implement diverse forage systems and track changes that occur in soil health and other ecosystem services. We will work with each cooperating farm as they develop and implement a comprehensive forage systems plan. Measurements of soil health and other key indicators will be conducted first during a baseline period, and then after the first step of renovation using annual crops for grazing.

Date: 09/01/16 - 8/31/18
Amount: $100,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

The Long-Term Farming System Research trial (FSRU) at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) was initiated in 1999 and comprises more than 200 acres with 5 different systems replicated 3 times. The objectives for initiating this trial 16 years ago were to research: 1) how the various systems impact long-term sustainability of soil and water resources, 2) whether some systems are more resilient to perturbations in weather, input and market prices, and 3) how the systems impact biodiversity, wildlife, pest dynamics and the ecological services of farmland. Our study is designed to provide a better understanding of how different systems interact with and impact the natural resource base and economic viability of farms, as well as identify alternative approaches with potential for synergistic effects, such as diversification, access to direct markets, and environmental conservation. Over time the FSRU systems experiment has become irreplaceably unique for several reasons. First is the comprehensive nature of the systems being studied and their relevancy in the South. Second, the scale (200 acres) and large plot size gives us the ability to study important production system dynamics (e.g., insect and disease management) that others cannot, making our results more relevant to producers. We are also a model of inter-institutional collaboration with involvement of various departments and colleges at each 1890 and 1862 Land Grant university, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and NGOs as diverse as Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and the NC Farm Bureau. Our systems experiment has also integrated outreach at every level with farmer involvement in both research and educational programming. The CEFS collaborators remain tightly engaged with farmers. Many of the core faculty are extension specialists and maintain advisory groups that guide our work. Historically, long-term trials have had difficulty in maintaining political support. Enthusiasm for long-term research tends to become overwhelmed with the emergency of the moment. Our new projects are one effort to address that issue. By using a long-term platform to answer questions of immediate urgency we are building support within our institutions.

Date: 01/01/16 - 12/31/17
Amount: $14,000.00
Funding Agencies: NC Cattlemen's Association

Forage system demonstrations will be implemented at three state-owned farms and six private farms in North Carolina. This is part of the NRCS-CIG project entitled "Soil Health on Pasture-based Livestock Farms in the Southern US". Establishment of demonstrations will involve forming a local advisory team, developing a forage system plan, and doing baseline soil measurements.


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