What is an Arkansas Discovery Farm (1M pdf)

Discovery Farms are privately owned farms that have volunteered to help with on-farm research regarding farming’s impact on the environment. On these farms, we are quantifying the benefits of conservation practices on soil and water quality. Most importantly, the Program is empowering farmers to proactively address environmental concerns.

ARDF Guiding Principles

The Arkansas Discovery Farm Program strives to identify on-farm conservation issues and potential solutions to agricultural sustainability challenges. Its’ main goal is to document sustainable and viable farming systems that remain cost-effective in an environmentally sound manner, based on on four cornerstones; 1) sound science, 2) unbiased research, 3) stakeholder driven transparency, and 4) strong partnerships.

ARDF Expectations (2M pdf)

The Arkansas Discovery Farm Program is a science-based effort to monitor, demonstrate, and validate approaches to achieve environmental and agricultural sustainability on real, work¬ing farms in Arkansas. The role of a Discovery Farm is to determine, through collaboration, with farmers, scientists and natural resource managers, how to implement management recommendations and to determine impacts to the operation of the farm and natural resources.

Arkansas Discovery Farm Methodology

State-of-the art equipment is used to monitor soil and water quality as influenced by farm management and conservation practices. An overview of the field methods used insure scientific integrity is provided along with a breakdown of the analytical processes that soil and water samples undergo.

Discovery Farm Protocol - 2015

“Arkansas Discovery Farms: documenting water quality benefits of on-farm conservation management and empowering farmers.” This paper published by by Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica in 2015, provides an overview of the current Discovery Farms around the State of Arkansas and discusses the Program’s guiding principles, research objectives, and preliminary findings.

Gully Prevention

Gully repair is expensive and labor intensive. Understanding the forces behind their formation can inform management decisions that will prevent their formation. This bulletin addresses gully formation and offers preventative measures a land owner can take safeguard against their formation as well as highlighting strategies for repair if gullies have already formed.

Benefits of Soil Organic Matter

The amount of organic matter found in soil is a good indicator of a soils physical, chemical, and biological condition. Building up the content of soil organic matter provides many agro economic benefits. As it takes many years to increase soil organic matter, it is beneficial to implement management strategies that enhance the preservation and creation of soil organic matter.

Manure Testing (1M pdf)

Numerous livestock producers rely on surface application of livestock or poultry manure to satisfy nutri-tional requirements of pastures and hay meadows. Thus, manure testing to determine the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus, along with other essential plant nutrients in your manure can help its effective use as a fertilizer as well as limiting the risk of nutrient loss in runoff waters that might ultimately impair the use of receiving waters.

Soil Testing (1M pdf)

Pasture and crop productivity is dependent on a soil’s ability to provide adequate nutrients for plant growth. Soil testing gives producers the information needed to insure that crops will have the nutrients needed to achieve desired yield goals. It can also possibly save money by reducing unnecessary applications.

Additional Publications