Researchers will model economic and ecosystem (air and water) impacts of diverse landscape scenarios across the agricultural value chain to develop evidence-based policy recommendations, quantify sustainability metrics, and establish conditions required for economic vitality. We do not assume that diversification is economically superior to the current corn/soybean system. Instead, we will develop a flexible farm-level economic decision model to determine the conditions under which more diverse farms can be economically viable and what tradeoffs would be necessary for farm operators to diversity their rotations in various ways.

Through extensive on-farm sampling, we will characterize the conditions and extent of impacts on those indicators of various degrees of diversification. Most important, Diverse Corn Belt data will not be collected and evaluated in the typical “silos” of conventional research, but across disciplines.