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NCCC_OLD031: Ecophysiological Aspects of Forage Management

October 01, 2010 to September 30, 2015
Administrative Advisor(s):
James Kells (MICL) - Research
NIFA Reps:
Jim Dobrowolski

Statement of Issue(s) and Justification:

Forage crops have essential roles in US agriculture and society as a whole. They diversify crop production through on-farm and cash hay, silage, and pasture-based systems for beef, dairy, sheep, and goat production. They are also the nation's primary tools for broad-based environmental improvement, biofuel production, and future value-added industries such as carbon sequestration. Forages encompass a broad range of plant species that provide economical and nutritious feed for ruminant livestock, soil protection and improvement, fixed ("free") nitrogen for crop production and rotations, wildlife habitat, and biomass for renewable fuel production.

This committee serves as an essential mechanism of communication among forage crop scientists and grassland ecologists within and beyond the North Central region. At the annual meetings of the committee, detailed reports apprise each member of the most recent research developments of other SAES and USDA-ARS locations represented by the membership. Lines of communication are established which are used frequently, and collaborative research projects are generated. Thus, the total forage research program of the membership is coordinated and enhanced.


  1. Through well-organized annual meetings, provide a focused venue to a) review current research, b) identify emerging forage-related issues, and c) foster collaborative efforts to stimulate high-impact forage research on high-priority physiological, ecological, and management challenges and opportunities.
  2. Foster interactions and collaborations with other committees, organizations, and individuals working in related disciplines.
  3. Encourage professional and intellectual development among members, their staff and students.

Procedures and Activities

The committee will meet annually at a location proposed by the Locations Committee and selected/approved by the entire committee present. The meeting location will vary annually, and will be selected to provide an opportunity for committee members to view relevant forage-related activity at a different location from their 'home' research location.

The annual meeting will typically be a 1.5-day meeting including a half-day tour of local forage research and/or production activity and a full day 'sit-down' meeting. The sit-down meeting will include brief presentations of current research activities by each committee member, and discussion of research results and opportunities. This annual meeting may at times be in conjunction with another professional meeting, e.g. the annual conference of the American Forage and Grassland Council, to facilitate efficient travel.

Immediately prior to each annual meeting, each member will compile and share a summary document of their current relevant research as well as relevant research and publications from their state during the last year.

Collaborative research efforts will be initiated around selected topics of majority interest. One such collaborative study entitled 'Sustaining legumes in grasslands to reduce N fertilization: A multi-regional assessment' is already underway. This experiment will be initiated with 2009 and 2010 seedings by most committee members, and is expected to result in several high-impact applied research publications at state, regional, and national levels.

Expected Outcomes and Impacts:

Project Participation:

Include a completed Appendix E form

Educational Plan:

The committee members share a common goal to serve societal needs with their forage production and management research, extension and education activities. The research and Extension activities published by this committee's members ultimately anchor state and regional Extension programs by which research results are disseminated to producers, industry, advisors, and consumers. The output of this committee to forage scientists nationally and internationally ensures the efficient use of research results by students and colleagues across broad geographic regions to which they may apply, and by producers and the public through members with or without formal Extension appointments.


The committee will nominate and elect a new Chair-Elect/Secretary at every annual meeting via an annually-appointed Nominating Committee recommendation followed by an overall committee election. The elected Chair-Elect/Secretary will serve as Secretary at the following year's meeting, then as Chair the year after that. The overall committee will generally operate via three subcommittees appointed at each annual meeting: Nominating, Locations, and Resolutions committees. The committee will also continue to value the assistance, administrative leadership, and presence of an Administrative Advisor, currently Dr. Doug Buhler of Michigan State University.

Literature Cited:



Internal Linkages:

External Linkages:


s:/Douglas Buhler

Last Modified: 30-Nov-2009

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