OOS 29 - From Visible Next Steps to a Visionary Future: How Can Different Approaches to Agriculture Reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorus Losses Over a Decade or a Century?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
12A, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Noel Gurwick
Co-organizer: Karen Perry Stillerman
Moderator: Sandy Tartowski
This session will bring together diverse viewpoints and data sets that focus on the question: “What is the potential for reducing nutrient losses from agricultural ecosystems by 2020 and 2100?” Short-term resource needs and long-term earth stewardship require that farmers, environmental managers, and policy-makers take steps to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses from agroecosystems. Numerous best practices have been recommended for row crop agriculture, and precision agriculture has long been promoted as a way to achieve more efficient fertilizer use. Another school of thought argues that we must adopt ecological principles to reconnect and tighten biogeochemical cycles in agricultural ecosystems. Presentations will explore the data underlying these claims and assess the potential for different approaches to reduce nutrient export from both plant and animal-based agroecosystems, and from U.S.-based and international systems. The policy implications and time frame to implement changes at regional and national scales will be addressed. We will discuss the extent to which different approaches can be combined, and explore the apparent tension between best practice approaches and whole-system, revolutionary change can be reconciled by placing these approaches on a common time. The agriculture of the future could either improve or further degrade a range of ecosystem services. Evaluating the potential for U.S. agriculture to produce sufficient food while also supplying other ecosystem services requires bringing a wide range of ideas to the discussion. This session will include presentations on hydroponic systems that can limit nutrient loss, nutrient exports from U.S. livestock production – which may have eclipsed row crops as the main source of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution – and on approaches that have been explored in more depth outside of the United States. Each presentation will consider the policy and/or management implications of the data presented.
1:50 PM
Managing agricultural P to protect water quality - obvious priorities and obscure necessities
Michael Castellano, Iowa State University; Peter Kleinman, USDA Agricultural Research Service; Andrew N. Sharpley, University of Arkansas
2:10 PM
Sustainable nutrient management and agrobiodiversity in Africa
Mary Parr, NCSU; Sieglinde Snapp, Michigan State University; Julie Grossman, NCSU
2:30 PM
Nutrient loss from agricultural systems employing ecological approaches
Meagan E. Schipanski, The Pennsylvania State University; Jennifer B. Gardner, Cornell University
2:50 PM
Rising nutrient exports from U.S. livestock production and opportunities for reducing losses
Ed Fredrickson, USDA Agricultural Research Service; Sandy Tartowski, USDA-ARS
3:10 PM
4:00 PM
Adaptive Management and Other Lessons from the On-Farm Network
Thomas Morris, University of Connecticut; Suzy Friedman, Environmental Defense Fund; Tracy Blackmer, Iowa Soybean Association
4:20 PM
Policy opportunities for reducing nutrient losses from agriculture
Noel P. Gurwick, Union of Concerned Scientists
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