Integrating Vegetable, Poultry, and Cover Cropping to Enhance Resiliency in Organic Production Systems

Grants and Contracts Details


The goal of this three-state (Iowa, Kentucky, and California), four-year project is to elucidate the ecological, food safety, and economical impacts of integrating pastured chickens into a vegetable rotation. The focus will be on investigating changes in soil properties, crop performance, poultry health and meat quality, food safety, and farm profitability. The main research objectives that will be done at the University of Kentucky are to: 1) Evaluate vegetable growth, yield, and quality, cover crops, and bird performance in an integrated organic production system; 2) Determine the impact of integrated cover crop, vegetable, and poultry production on soil health indicators (physical, chemical, and biological properties, weed population, etc.) and pest management; 3) Quantify microbiological contamination in organic production systems (in soil, meat, and produce; 4) Conduct economic analysis of vegetable/poultry production systems and compare with existing practice of vegetable production while tracking changes in farmer perceptions over the course of the project; and 5) Involve stakeholders throughout the project. The project directly addresses the program goal of improving competitiveness of organic growers by conducting advanced on-farm crop, livestock, or integrated livestock-crop research and development that emphasize observation of, experimentation with, and innovation for organic farms, including production, marketing, and socioeconomic considerations (Priority 1). Also the project addresses Priority 6) For both plant and animal–based organic products: evaluate, develop, and improve allowable post-harvest handling, processing, and food safety practices to reduce toxins and microbial contamination, while increasing shelf-life, quality, and other economically important characteristics; and Priority 7) Examining optimal conservation, soil health, and environmental outcomes relating to organically produced agricultural products.
Effective start/end date1/1/20 → 5/31/24


  • Iowa State University: $285,000.00


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