Upon reconvening back at Salon A at 3:45 PM where the general session was being held, Jim Cropper called upon Dr. Peter Kleinman to give a brief Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Report to the Consortium members. Peter announced the formation of the USDA Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) Network administered by ARS.
The Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit at University Park was one of the 4 pillars of pasture research within ARS. The other 3 research units were the Grazinglands Research Laboratory’s Forage and Livestock Production Research Unit at El Reno, OK, the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory at Mandan, North Dakota, and the South Atlantic Area Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit at Tifton, GA. This was extremely good news.
This, along with the research unit’s involvement in the Grazing Lands Conservation Effects Assessment Program in determining the effects of NRCS conservation practices on the environment and the grazing land resource, bodes well for the continuation of the research unit for some time into the future. This was heartening after the loss of two ARS research units in fiscal year 2012 that collaborated with the Northeast Pasture Consortium, Coshocton, OH and Beaver, WV.