We are an informal partnership working to improve how nutrients are managed to meet both production and environmental goals. We have two main branches or areas of work:

  • A collaboration of land grant university experts and other partners working to further develop and advance improvements to how nutrient recommendations are made – the concepts, processes, and tools for more fine-tuned management at the field and farm scale, and
  • Geographically-based projects in which farmers, farm advisors, and other partners are collaborating to use adaptive management to fine tune management on their own farms to use nutrients more efficiently to generate both economic and environmental benefits.

These two branches of the Adapt Network are united around the goal of using data to help farmers and their advisors make better decisions – decisions that improve efficiency, increase profit, and reduce the amount of nutrients lost to the environment.

Why adaptive management? 

Large swaths of America’s heartland grow the corn, wheat, soybean and other row crops that our nation and others depend upon for food, fuel and fiber. Farmers today have to incorporate many different variables when making decisions about farming operations, including ways to be more efficient for better profits, and ways to maintain or even increase yields while reducing loss of nutrients to air and water and soil erosion. In watersheds like the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, now more than ever, it’s imperative both economically and environmentally to be wise about nitrogen and phosphorus use. Adaptive management provides a way for farmers to gage whether their current operations are as efficient as they could be with nutrient inputs, and make adjustments if they are not.

What is adaptive management?

Adaptive management is different from traditional nutrient management because it is a dynamic process. Adaptive management is based on continuous, systematic assessment of how well practices are working based on data from a farmer’s own fields and on active involvement of farmers and their advisors in the learning process. This is a big change from receiving a recommendation and implementing it across your entire field and farm. And so there is a lot to learn not only for farmers fine tuning their own management, but also for the research and extension community in terms of how to define and implement adaptive management more broadly across a region or state.

PROJECTS: Through the Adapt Network’s on-the-ground projects, farmers are working with their advisors, scientists and others to use cost-effective tools to evaluate the effectiveness of their nutrient management practices. CLICK HERE to learn more.

RESEARCH AND EXTENSION: Through the Adapt Network’s research collaboration, land grant university experts and others are working together to develop the new approach to nutrient management needed if we are to meet both production and environmental goals. There is still much to learn, develop and define in terms of adaptive management, in particular the concepts of the approach and procedures to implement it. Collaborators are working together on these challenges so that adaptive management can be incorporated into nutrient management planning recommendations, standards and processes.


This website is designed to be a resource for farmers and their advisors interested in or actively implementing adaptive management on-the-ground and for extension, university, and other partners interested in participating in a dialogue about how to improve the process for making nutrient recommendations and guiding farmers in their management decisions.

We welcome your participation in this effort!


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