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Welcome To IPICL

Improving Production with Integrated Livestock System (IPICL) focuses on the Northern Great Plains of the USA, where the foundation of the region’s economy is cattle and crops including corn, soybean, wheat, barley, and hay crops. IPICL is a USDA-funded research and extension project funded to focus on increasing the diversity of farm production systems that will conserve soil resources, increase the resilience of farm operations, moderate risk against a changing climate, and improve nutrient cycling, ensuring sustainable food production and maintenance of the farm-based communities and livelihoods of the region.

The goal is to help producers understand that an integrated crop-livestock system will alter nutrient cycling and improve soil resilience by altering the microbial community structure and other soil properties, and improve crop production. A team of 26 scientists across the three states with various expertise will be conducting research on identifying the impacts on nutritional quality of grazing crops, livestock nutrition and stocking densities, crop performance, soil health assessment, impacts on soil quality and GHG emissions associated with integrated crop-livestock system.

Project Objectives

Objective 1. Ecosystem Services from ICL Systems. Determine environmental and sustainability benefits of ICL systems at multi-state scales using existing sites.

Objective 2. Crop and Livestock Performance in ICL Systems. Evaluate the relationships between livestock and forage characteristics in ICL systems leading to design of integrated systems that optimize livestock production while considering environmental impacts.

Objective 3. Adoption of ICL Systems. Characterize the social and economic environment for implementing an ICL system based on robust focus group and survey research across multiple stakeholder typologies.

Objective 4. Economics involved in ICL Systems. Scale-up ICL systems for improving crop production, and potential impacts on greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes, soil health parameters, and LCA using state-of-the-art models from field to larger scales.

Objective 5. Education and Outreach. Share knowledge and provide outreach on environmental sustainability of ICL systems to landowners, producers, high school agricultural education and science teachers and students, NGOs, government representatives, and other stakeholders.

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