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Award Abstract #1313677

CNH: A Social-Ecological Analysis of Nitrogen in Agricultural Systems of the Upper Midwest

Division Of Environmental Biology
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Initial Amendment Date: July 22, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: July 22, 2013
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Award Number: 1313677
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Betsy Von Holle
DEB Division Of Environmental Biology
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: August 1, 2013
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End Date: June 30, 2016 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $1,462,073.00
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Investigator(s): Diana Stuart Diana.Stuart@nau.edu (Principal Investigator)
G. Philip Robertson (Co-Principal Investigator)
Jinhua Zhao (Co-Principal Investigator)
Sandra Marquart-Pyatt (Co-Principal Investigator)
Bruno Basso (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Michigan State University
Office of Sponsored Programs
East Lansing, MI 48824-2600 (517)355-5040
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Program Reference Code(s): 1691, 9169, 9278, EGCH
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Program Element Code(s): 1691


Nitrogen loss from corn farming in the Midwest is a major cause of water pollution and greenhouse gas emission. Focusing on farms in Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan, this project will address important gaps in our current understanding of the links between the decisions of corn farmers and the quality of water and air in the region. Researchers will refine previous work on nitrogen loss to take variability within farm fields into account, identify the factors that influence the decisions of farmers about fertilizer use, and develop an integrated, quantitative model that couples the natural dynamics of nitrogen cycling with the social and economic dynamics of farming.

Results from this project will help farmers and policy makers evaluate alternative ways to reduce water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from Midwestern row crops. A Nitrogen Roundtable will bring researchers, managers, and stakeholders together, and the project will engage K-12 educators to disseminate research results to the public. The model to be produced is expected to provide a new decision-support tool for more sustainable agriculture in the U.S.


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Stuart, D., B. Basso, S. Marquart-Pyatt, A.P. Reimer, G.P. Robertson, and J. Zhao. "The need for a coupled human and natural systems understanding of agricultural nitrogen loss," BioScience, v.65, 2015, p. 571.


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