Developing Organic Cropping Systems for Grain Production in Texas

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2017: $276,000.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2020
Grant Recipient: Texas A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Ronnie Schnell
Texas A&M University, Soil & Crop Sciences


  • Agronomic: corn, soybeans


  • Crop Production: cover crops, crop rotation, double cropping, nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Pest Management: competition, cultural control, mulches - killed, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    Texas ranks first in number of farms and third in total agricultural production in the U.S. However, the state lags behind in organic crop production. The low rate of adoption of organic farming for grain crops such as corn and sorghum has been a major bottleneck for expansion of the organic livestock sector in this state. The specific goals of this study are based on the interactions with farmers and other stakeholders in the region. Collectively, these discussions have shaped the goals and objectives of the project.

    The purpose of this project is to develop a research and education project for the expansion of organic cropping systems for feed grain production (corn and soybeans) in Texas. The specific goals of this study are based on our interaction with farmers and other stakeholders in the region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Conduct research and on-farm demonstrations in a partnership between scientists and stakeholders for greater understanding of the influence of cover cropping in no-till organic systems on soil fertility, weed dynamics, water yield relations and soil health.
    • Develop best management practices that optimize both agricultural profitability and ecosystem services in transitioning cropping systems (corn and soybeans).
    • Develop an educational and outreach program for efficient transfer of project results to the various stakeholders and organize training efforts on the certification process, farm plan development, environmental benefits, and best management strategies while transitioning to organic production.

    Through this project, we will address some of the critical needs of farmers and other stakeholders in Texas who plan to adopt organic farming.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.