December 1, 2010
Adaptive Management Working Group holds second annual meeting
It's important that growers and nutrient management planners follow this committee (officially known as the NEERA 1002 Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group) as it will be the center stage for discussions on incorporating more localized feedback into crop nutrient management planning.
Tom Morris, soil fertility specialist at the University of Connecticut, was instrumental in organizing this group, focused solely on adaptive management for improved nutrient management. It's made up of representatives from universities, government agencies, and private industry. Morris says the group, when it was created two years ago, had four objectives in mind.
Objective 1: Develop procedures to use adaptive management to improve the efficiency of nutrient use in the Northeast Region.
Objective 2: Develop and define the concepts of adaptive management so they can be incorporated into nutrient management planning standards and processes, such as the USDA NRCS 590 Standard for nutrient management (national and state versions), EPA and state agency nutrient management regulatory programs, Conservation Districts' nutrient management programs, and other agency guided nutrient planning.
Objective 3: Educate extension, NRCS, state agency personnel, agricultural service providers, and growers in the Northeast and in the US about how adaptive management can be used to improve the efficiency of nutrient use.
Objective 4: Develop a communications infrastructure to facilitate professional interaction and dissemination of information.
At its second annual meeting during the annual American Society of Agronomy meeting in Long Beach, California last month, participants were given an update to the progress on revisions to include adaptive management in the 590 practice code for NRCS and the timeline and process for finalization of the new practice code. (For those not directly familiar with NRCS, the 590 practice code is general umbrella to give the guidelines of what can be done for nutrient management.) All EQIP payments from NRCS must be in compliance with the 590 practice code. These revisions make it possible for future programming (including cost share to growers) to incorporate adaptive management if the specific methods are locally accepted.
An update on the four NRCS technical notes being developed to support adaptive management of N in corn was discussed. The first technote, focusing on a general concept of adaptive management has been in initial review. The next two tech notes will be soon in review and focus on evaluation tools and how to hold group meetings involving participatory learning. The fourth one will focus more on the steps involved. NRCS expects to finalize all four tech notes by March 2011.
Discussions on communication needs led to an agreement to create a series of webinars that will be posted on the NEERA website. We'll let you know in a future newsletter when these are available.