The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced a $20 million grant will be used by a team of 10 universities and two USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) institutions to investigate how to keep Midwest corn-based cropping systems resilient in the face of future climate uncertainties.

The long-term projected outcome is to reduce energy, nitrogen and water use by 10%, while increasing carbon sequestration by 15% via agriculture and forest production systems.

Iowa State University researchers will coordinate a team of 42 scientists in nine states in the north central region. The region produces 8 billion bushels of corn, which is 64% of the annual harvest in the United States.

Researchers will begin collecting data on carbon, nitrogen and water movement this spring from 21 sites. Special equipment will be used to monitor greenhouse gas emissions at many of the sites. The team will integrate field and climate data to create models and evaluate crop management practices. Data will be collected and analyzed over the next five years.

Iowa State is the lead institution for the project. Scientists will also be participating in the research on behalf of Michigan State University, the universities of Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota, Lincoln University of Missouri, and Purdue, Ohio State and South Dakota State universities. Learn more at