Advancing the Sustainability of US Agriculture through Long-Term Research

TitleAdvancing the Sustainability of US Agriculture through Long-Term Research
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKleinman PJA, Spiegal S., Rigby, JR J, Goslee S, Baker J.M, Bestelmeyer BT, Boughton RK, Bryant R, Cavigelli M, Derner J.D, Duncan E, Goodrich DC, Huggins D, King K.W., Liebig M.A, Locke M, Mirsky S, Moglen G.E, Moorman T, Pierson FB, Robertson G.P, Sadler J, Shortle J.S, Steiner J, Strickland T, Swain H, Tsegaye T., Williams M.R, Walthall C.
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Start Page1412
Date Published11/2018
ARIS Log Number345374

Agriculture in the United States must respond to escalating demands for productivity and efficiency, as well as pressures to
improve its stewardship of natural resources. Growing global population and changing diets, combined with a greater societal
awareness of agriculture’s role in delivering ecosystem services beyond food, feed, fiber, and energy production, require a
comprehensive perspective on where and how US agriculture can be sustainably intensified, that is, made more productive
without exacerbating local and off-site environmental concerns. The USDA’s Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network
is composed of 18 locations distributed across the contiguous United States working together to integrate national and local
agricultural priorities and advance the sustainable intensification of US agriculture. We explore here the concept of sustainable
intensification as a framework for defining strategies to enhance production, environmental, and rural prosperity outcomes from agricultural systems. We also elucidate the diversity of factors that have shaped the past and present conditions of cropland, rangeland, and pastureland agroecosystems represented by the LTAR network and identify priorities for research in the areas of production, resource conservation and environmental quality, and rural prosperity. Ultimately, integrated long-term research on sustainable intensification at the national scale is critical to developing practices and programs that can anticipate and address challenges before they become crises.