(05/10/23) BOSSIER CITY, La. — LSU AgCenter agronomist Syam Dodla has received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant of more than $1 million to look at climate-smart ways to produce sugarcane and rice.
Dodla, who works at the AgCenter Red River Research Station in Bossier City, said there are many climate-smart conservation practices that have not been widely adopted in the southern region of the United States.
This lack of adoption is believed to be due to the perception of uncertain impacts on crop yields, he said.
With the grant, Dodla plans to evaluate the environmental and financial effects of adopting conservation practices and help underserved producers implement them.
He will study practices focused on optimizing and reducing nitrogen fertilizer application rates, improving soil health and reducing water usage and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing or maintaining yields.
“This project specifically targets the greenhouse gas reductions from sugarcane and rice systems that are mainly grown in the mid-South region of the U.S. using field-proven, climate-smart conservation practices evaluated by this project team,” Dodla said.
“We won’t be able to start the project this year because the rice planting had already started and was well on its way when we received the award,” he added.
The on-farm grants are funded by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to support more widespread adoption of conservation practices with active involvement of participating agricultural producers, Dodla said.
The project team will provide all the needed technical assistance for adopting the proposed climate-smart conservation practices along with incentive payments to producers in the form of cash (up to $10,000 per producer per year depending on the number of practices they adopt) and materials (fertilizer and cover crop seed for the demonstration area).
Syam Dodla. LSU AgCenter file photo
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture