L.W. Burger, M.D. McConnell, N. Meng
Mississippi State University,
Keywords: precision agriculture, conservation planning, decision support tool, geospatial, precision conservation, yield monitors, profit mapping, conservation economics
Summary:Precision agriculture technology provides a unique framework for identifying economic and conservation opportunities in production agriculture. By using precision agriculture in a conservation framework natural resource professionals can demonstrate the overlap between conservation eligibility and economic opportunity. This approach requires spatially explicit information on conservation eligibility and economics in addition to detailed data on farm inputs. Decision support tools can integrate these components and provide a user-friendly approach that allows agricultural producers to simultaneously optimize their conservation and economic objectives. We created a decision support tool that integrates these components and provides a user-friendly approach for agricultural producers to simultaneously optimize their conservation and economic objectives. This decision support tool illustrates spatial eligibility of on-farm conservation programs offered through the US Farm Bill, creates a profit map to identify unprofitable field regions, identifies field regions where conservation enrollment exceeds production agriculture, allows the user to design a conservation enrollment that fits their land use objectives, and graphically illustrates the economic outcome of user-defined conservation scenarios. This tool is intended to help agricultural producers and natural resource planners make informed decisions regarding the economic alternatives available through Farm Bill conservation programs.