Re-carbonizing Row Crop Farms

Corn field with cover crop

Engaging the Integrated Erosion Tool (IET) to define Soil Conditioning Index (SCI), understand impacts of climate on modeled cropping systems plus improve farmer profitability 

The 2019 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Liaison, Justin Mount, is working with the Midwest Climate Hub to improve producers’ understanding of universal crop system planning tools, ultimately helping producers become more resilient. The goals of this work are to:

  • Provide universal crop system planning tools based on the Integrated Erosion Tool (IET) simulation results to assist farmers with improved cost benefit analysis related to changes in crop rotation and management systems on water and wind erosion, water use efficiency and crop productivity.

  • Improve understanding of the interactions relative to inputs and outputs of process-based, event-driven models for consistent risk-based resource assessment and conservation planning for crop systems.

  • Explain Soil Condition Index (SCI) and why SCI is a core foundational soil health metric to help annual row crop farmers be more financially resilient.

  • Illustrate the interaction of soils and climate, including improving soil health impacts on climate and the impacts of changing rainfall on soil properties.

Integrated Erosion Tool (IET)

A primary focus of Justin’s work will be utilizing the IET.

  • IET was developed to directly meet NRCS’ business goal to deploy information technology which effectively supports and aligns delivery of conservation technical assistance.

  • NRCS Planners will utilize IET to work with agricultural producers to document, create and evaluate sustainable cropping systems to address natural resource concerns on croplands.

  • IET is a web-served, digital map based, farm field-level natural resource management alternatives analysis tool for estimating:

    • Wind and water induced erosion

    • Soil condition trends

    • Air quality trends

    • Energy use (fuel per acre)

    • Climate impacts on cropping  system (risks in extreme events)

    • Natural rainfall capture and hillslope runoff quantities

    • Soil evaporation and plant transpiration

Justin Mount is a fifth-generation farmer from southernmost, IL where he grew up raising beef cattle plus directed field and forage crop production. Justin has worked with the NRCS for 15 years in four distinct locations and is currently a Natural Resource Specialist on detail to the USDA Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, IA. Justin is a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), has a B.S. in Plant & Soil Science from University of Tennessee, a M.S. in Forestry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is currently pursuing another Master’s degree in Integrated Resource Management at Colorado State University. For more information on his work, or if you have questions regarding the Integrated Erosion Tool (IET), please email justin.mount@usda.gov

Future Presentations

2019 Sustainable Agronomy Conference - Omaha, NE, July 11, 2019,  8:05 a.m. - 8:35 a.m.

Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conferences (AM/PIC) - Ft. Wayne, IN, September 11, 2019, 9:30 a.m - 11:30 a.m.

Annual Agronomy Conference: South Dakota Agri-Business Association - Sioux Falls, SD, December 11th, 2019, time TBD

Future Webinars

NRCS Science & Technology Webinar - May 28th, 2019, 2pm Eastern Standard Time.  

  • CUEs in soil and water can be earned

  • This webinar will be available on-demand in the S&T Library (June 2019).

Past Presentations

Re‐Carbonizing Row Crop Ag Lands:  Evidence‐based management strategies to increase soil carbon  and promote financial resilience for farmers

More information on the IET can be found at the links below.

An Introduction to IET (Video)

IET

IET Connect (for USDA staff, contact Justin if denied access)