Crop Sustainability

April 24, 2014

Michigan State University Extension encourages sustainability practices in farming. To learn more about sustainability efforts visit:

Useful to Usable (U2U) - Transforming Climate Variability and Change Information for Cereal Crop Producers, is an integrated research and extension project working to improve farm resilience and profitability in the North Central Region by transforming existing climate information into usable knowledge for the agricultural community. Our goal is to help producers make better long-term plans on what, when and where to plant, and also how to manage crops for maximum yields and minimum environmental damage. - Corn is essential in America. The highly versatile crop is an economic powerhouse, employing millions and producing food, feed and fuel. American farmers heavily invest their time, land and money in the crop's production: In 2011, 12.3 billion bushels of corn were produced in the U.S. alone. Global and domestic demand for corn continues to rise. However, there is increasing uncertainty about how long-term U.S. climate trends are impacting corn-based cropping systems and threatening agricultural investments. In response, farmers and scientists are seeking new ways to ensure continued crop productivity while also minimizing environmental impact.

This USDA funded project gathers data from 35 field sites and thousands of farmers in 9 Midwestern states, with the goal of creating a suite of practices for corn-based systems that:

  • retain and enhance soil organic matter and nutrient and carbon stocks
  • reduce off-field nitrogen losses that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution
  • better withstand droughts and floods
  • ensure productivity under different climatic conditions

Through the Extension and Education aspects of this project, we are working with farmers, teachers and students to connect them with project analyses and promote collaborative learning.

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