Research

Dense urban areas use up more energy, water and food resources than they can produce themselves, forcing them to rely on external sources. But a team of researchers, including our Dr. Matt Liebman, is imagining bold new ways to make Midwestern cities more self-reliant.

The Sustainable Cities Research Team recently received a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a framework for analysis of food, energy and water systems for greater Des Moines, which includes the city and the surrounding six-county area, and to formulate scenarios that could result in a more sustainable city. The team includes scientists from a wide range of disciplines at Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and University of Texas at Arlington.

Integrating perennial crops into corn and soybean rotations doesn’t consistently increase the ability of soils to store carbon, according to a new study that defies expectations for how diverse cropping systems affect carbon sequestration.

A new study that examines the genetics behind the bitter taste of some sorghum plants and one of Africa’s most reviled bird species illustrates how human genetics, crops and the environment influence one another in the process of plant domestication.

More than 80 farmers, academics and members of the agricultural supply chain met in Des Moines, Nov. 25, for an Iowa Smart Agriculture Initiative forum co-sponsored by Solutions from the Land and Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They met to explore and assess the impacts that extreme weather events and changing climatic conditions are having and are expected to have on the state's number one industry — and how the agricultural sector can contribute to addressing these issues.

The forum was coordinated by a  work group co-chaired by Iowa corn and soybean producer Ray Gaesser, a past chairman and president of the American Soybean Association, and Daniel J. Robison, Endowed Dean's Chair of Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Science and a co-chair of the Iowa Conservation Infrastructure Initiative.

Massive networks of drains, pipes and tiles that enable food production on much of the world’s most productive cropland are due for expansion and replacement to meet the demands of agricultural intensification and climate change. How that infrastructure is updated will have enormous consequences on food production and the environment, according to a new study.

The Iowa Crop Improvement Association has pledged $1.5 million to Iowa State University’s feed mill and grain science complex.

Iowa Crop Improvement Association’s gift was announced earlier this month, during the groundbreaking ceremony for the $21.2 million project, which will be located on university-owned land south of Highway 30 in Ames. 

The Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University has funded 16 new water quality and nutrient management projects for 2019-2020.

“I am pleased to announce the latest round of projects represent more than $2.03 million in funding for water quality research,” said Matt Helmers, Iowa Nutrient Research Center director and professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State. “The new grants bring the total number of projects funded fully or partially by the center to 92, a total of more than $10.7 million invested in nutrient-related water quality research since 2013.”

Iowa State University scientists are working toward a future in which farmers can use unmanned aircraft to spot, and even predict, disease and stress in their crops.

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