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Sustainable intensification research topic of agronomy symposium

October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016-- Agronomists often face competing challenges of increasing yields to support an ever-growing population, while reducing environmental impact of food production.

The "Sustainable Intensification Research: Assessing Multiple Biophysical and Socioeconomic Outcomes" symposium planned at the Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, will address this important topic. The symposium will be held Tuesday, November 7, 2016 at 1:25PM. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

"Sustainable intensification production goals often appear clear and compelling, yet widespread calls for doubling production by 2050 are flawed and may lead to excessive focus on increasing output," says Mitch Hunter, Penn State University. "Sustainable intensification environmental targets, in contrast, are unclear and lack urgency. We argue that the goals must be recalibrated to provide equally quantitative and compelling targets for increasing production and improving environmental outcomes. Our analysis shows that, largely due to recent production gains, increases of ~30-70% above current production levels may be sufficient to meet 2050 crop demand. At the same time, aggregate environmental impacts must drop sharply to restore and maintain ecosystem functioning." He will propose changes to research and policy to help meet both sustainability and production goals.

UC Davis researcher Bruce Lindquist will present research on rice production systems. "Rice systems, which provide more calories for human consumption than any other crop on earth, have high greenhouse gas emissions and water use relative to other crops. Alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation management, which introduces aerobic cycles during the growing season has the potential to reduce both GHG emissions and water use - along with other benefits such as reduced grain arsenic concentrations and positively affecting mercury cycling." He will discuss how to manage water in rice systems to achieve these benefits along with high yields, based on research conducted in the US and Europe and meta-analysis results.

Other speakers include representatives from National Inst. of Agricultural Technology, Argentina; Field to Market, the International Rice Research Institute, University of Georgia, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
For more information about the Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance 2016 meeting, visit Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 26, 2016 is required. Visit for registration information. For information about the "Sustainable Intensification Research" symposium, visit

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, to arrange an interview.

American Society of Agronomy

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