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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Food Systems and Human Health: Understanding Influences on Food Security, Food Access, and Diet Quality

1) Program Participants: food delivery through Senior Food Boxes, Surveys to assess food security, food access, healthy food consumption, and program perceptions and experiences; 2) Program Staff/Producers: Interviews with key
informants (i.e., program staff and producers/farmers) to assess program efficiencies, program challenges, and ideas for addressing those challenges.

Management and Environmental Factors Affecting Nitrogen Cycling and Use Efficiency in Forage-Based Livestock Production Systems

This work will focus on both nitrogen management and grazing management to maximize sustainability and profitability. For example, the addition of legumes in pasture provide a free source of nitrogen to companion grasses while simultaneously enhancing feed quality. While it is known that legumes can reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental nitrogen fertility, these dynamics are not well studied in the specific context of stockpiling. Stockpiling avoids late summer grazing in order to create a reserve for October-December grazing.

Land Use and Management Practice Impacts on Soil Carbon and Associated Agroecosystems Services

Soils support crop productivity and provide important ecosystem services (such as filtering water and providing a potential sink for greenhouse gases). One of our primary goals for Multistate Project NC1178 is to assess management effects (e.g. crop residue, tillage, cover crops) on soil organic carbon, environmental footprints (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, water quantity, soil erosion, input use efficiency), and productivity. For example-- how do different cropping systems influence soil organic matter composition?

Biology, Etiology, and Management of Dollar Spot in Turfgrasses

Managed turfgrass areas (golf courses, lawn care companies, sport facilities, others) are vastly important for businesses in the New England economy. Intensively managed areas on golf courses, in particular, are challenged by abiotic and biotic (mostly by fungi) stresses that require monetary investment for maintaining optimal appearance. Dollar spot disease (caused by plant pathogenic fungi) is one of the most economically challenging pathogens, requiring repeated chemical inputs annually to maintain acceptable playing surfaces.

WC1 Hybrid Co-receptor/Pattern Recognition Receptor in the Immune Response to Pathogens of Domesticated Animals

Animal health is of great importance, in agricultural, food security, general economic and public health terms. The diseases that our lab investigates (e.g. tuberculosis, anaplasmosis, Johne's disease, leptospirosis, and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV)) cause billions of dollars in losses to U.S. agricultural producers. In addition, tuberculosis,anaplasmosis, leptospirosis and Johne's disease are zoonotic diseases, in which animals can serve as reservoirs and vectors of often fatal diseases for humans.

Improving Forage and Bioenergy Crops for Better Adaptation, Resilience, and Flexibility

As the global human population continues to grow and climate change alters weather patterns and intensifies stress on agricultural systems, we need to find new ways to sustainably increase production agriculture. We focus on grasslands because they are important for global food stability and as a vast ecosystem (66% of agricultural areas are grass lands) have serious global climate implications.

Novel Species Interactions: Effects of Invasive Plants on Butterflies, Birds, and Soil Biota

A focal species of this work is the widespread invasive biennial plant, Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) which disrupts nativeplant-fungal interactions in Northeastern deciduous forests of North America. Unique plant chemicals exuded by the roots ofgarlic mustard disrupt symbioses between native plants and mycorrhizal fungi that live on their roots (Stinson et al., 2006), alterthe diversity and composition of the soil microbiome (Barto et al., 2012; Anthony et al.

Development and Physiology of the Stomatal Complex in Grasses

Water is an increasingly scarce resource for agriculture thus engineering plants that use water efficiently is a primary goal forscientists. A recent approach in achieving water-efficient crops is to breed or engineer plants that can rapidly open and close their stomata in changing environments (Lawson and Blatt 2014, Raven 2014). During the day, plants may become shaded or enjoy a sudden but transient increase in sunlight as sun angles change (or are reflected) or as clouds and/or other obstacles block the sun.

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