Before Mike Daniels, professor and soil and water specialist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, started researching resource conservation at Dabbs Discovery Farm, there was no data available. Previously, experts had to depend on models. The research done at the Dabbs Discovery Farm provides valuable data that helps inform Daniels’ efforts in improving the industry’s resource conservation.
“Now we’re not just monitoring,” Daniels said. “We’re looking at different conservation practices and how that might make an impact.”
This farmer-led program is proving through data and documentation that farmers are being good stewards of the soil and water they work with. The Dabbs Discovery Farm itself has become an educational program that teaches those who haven’t been on a farm the challenges farmers face daily. Multiple groups have toured, but the largest impact has been on those who have never stepped foot on a farm.
“When people get out on the farm, they see the investment in trying to be good stewards,” Daniels said. “They realize the farmers aren’t haphazardly doing this. Their livelihood depends on two natural resources: soil and water.”
It is also showing farmers what is possible by recycling all of the water it uses. This practice of reusing the water is necessary on the Dabbs Discovery Farm due to the farm’s lack of groundwater. Daniels says this is likely to become standard practice because water is a precious commodity.
To learn more about the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board's checkoff-funded research, watch the full Field to Film: Featured Research video series here.