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.
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.
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
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.
“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
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.
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.
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
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.