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Wrangling for Resiliency

Dry and cracked soil
Cracks and soil clumps called “aggregates” form when saline-sodic, high-clay soil dries out. (Photo by Peggy Greb, D186-2)

The southwestern United States currently faces serious environmental challenges such as drought, crop loss, and wildfires. Learning to adapt to these extreme weather variations is more crucial than ever.  In response to this urgent need, ARS researchers with the Range Management Research Unit in Las Cruces, NM, collaborated with members of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub to develop a new set of innovative tools aiming at helping farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders plan accordingly.  These resources include:

  • An online dust mitigation handbook
  • The AfterFire toolkit, a post-fire resource for water managers
  • Urban tree adaptation workshop
  • Grass-Cast, a forage production forecasting tool, in collaboration with the Northern Plains Climate Hub
  • Drought Learning Network, co-launched by climate scientists and land managers
  • A library of decision support tools for beef cattle production and management

Ranging from easily accessible online resources to more hands-on workshops, these features will ultimately help inform stakeholders about the vulnerabilities associated with climate change and enhance their decision-making processes for the future.

Explore Other Discoveries

Adaptive Nutrient Management

ARS researchers in Temple, TX, employed adaptive nutrient management to determine preferred balances on farms.

Carbon Mapping on the Go

ARS researchers have developed a unique mobile system that assesses and maps out soil carbon to a depth of 30 centimeters (the plow layer) – all in real time.

Developing Biofuel Opportunities

ARS scientists are investigating ways to ensure agriculture can produce renewable fuels that will help diminish our carbon footprint.

Elephant Grass as Bio-Feedstock

Scientists conducted research on how farm management practices could maximize elephant grass’s utility as a bioethanol feedstock.

New Standards for Analyzing Soil Health

A new protocol addresses sources of variability and uncertainty in measuring microbial community composition and its connection with agricultural management and changing climate.

Take Your Alfalfa Out to Pasture

Beef producers in the western United States have been searching for alternatives to nitrogen-rich fertilizers .

To Save More Water, Plant Corn Later

A team of researchers and their partners have found another way to conserve water: late planted corn.