The Arkansas Discovery Farms Program

Author(s): Daniels, M.; Sharpley, A.

Discovery Farms are privately owned farms that have volunteered to help with on-farm research, verification, and demonstration regarding farming's impact on the environment and natural resource sustainability. We currently have six Discovery farms at five counties of the State; including a poultry farm in Washington County, a beef cattle operation in Conway County, a rice-soybean and corn operation in Arkansas County, two adjacent rice-soybean operations in Cross County and a cotton farm in Desha County. We are currently collecting water use and water quality data from individual fields on each of these farms utilizing automated water monitoring stations. These stations include automated ISCO samplers equipped with rain gauges, pressure transducers in conjunction with edge-of-field H-flumes, pipes or weir flow structures. In Washington County, we are monitoring runoff originating immediately near poultry houses due to concerns with spillage during house clean out and dust accumulation from tunnel ventilation. We are also quantifying the nutrient and sediment remedial efficiencies of capturing runoff in a farm pond and an un-grazed filter strip. In Conway County, we are assessing runoff from pastures and the ability of a wetland to capture and assimilate nutrients. In Arkansas County, we are examining three eighty-acre rice fields with different water management practices, a corn field and runoff from 1,200 acres that drains back to an irrigation reservoir. In Cross County, we are monitoring a sixty-five acre rice field under conventional production and a twenty-three acre soybean field under conservation tillage. Finally, in Desha County, we are the effects of conservation tillage and cover crops on nutrient and sediment loss from three eight-acre fields in cotton. However, the Arkansas Discovery Farms program is not just about monitoring but just as importantly, engaging farmers to take ownership in environmental issues facing agriculture. This paper will discuss the development, guidance, principals and goals of the Arkansas Discovery Farm program.
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Technical Sessions

1 Best Management Practices #1
2 Delta Water Assessment
3 Flood Assessment & Mgmt.
4 Wetlands
5 Watershed Mgmt. #1
6 Non-Point Source Assessment
7 Modeling
8 Water Quality
9 Best Mgt. Practices #2
10 Delta Water Conservation
11 Sedimentation
12 Storm Water
13 Watershed Mgt. #2
14 Public Water Systems
15 Surface Water Assessment & Evaluation

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