Saturday, 15 July 2006

Activities of the Southern Extension-Research Activity Group 17 (SERA 17) to Develop Science-Based Policies and Best Management Practices to Minimize Phosphorus Losses from Agriculture.

Forbes Walker1, Chris Gross2, and Jerry Lemunyon2. (1) Univ of Tennessee, 1505 Dunbarton Dr., Maryville, TN 37803, (2) USDA/NRCS, 2721 Ryan Place Dr., Fort Worth, TX 76110

In 1993 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Cooperative States Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) formed several Southern Extension-Research Activity (SERA) groups to encourage active exchange and participation between research and extension scientists from land-grant universities and government agencies. SERA 17 was the seventeenth such group and was formed for scientists interested in issues relating to phosphorus losses from agriculture. Since the inception of SERA 17, the group has been very active and grown to include scientists from across the United States, Canada and Europe. A major goal of the group has been to bring together a great diversity of disciplines to discuss the research and management needs related to the management of agricultural phosphorus and related water quality issues. The SERA 17 group now has over 75 members with expertise in disciplines ranging from soil science and maize genetics to hydrology and limnology. It has become a valuable informational resource for agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in addressing the need for Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent non-point source pollution of surface waters by agricultural phosphorus. Currently SERA 17 has several workgroups that focus on improving our understanding of phosphorus transport, modeling of phosphorus movement in the environment, standardizing techniques for soil phosphorus analysis, the development of fact sheets that summarize BMPs for reducing phosphorus losses from agriculture and consensus-based scientific issue papers for key topics involving agricultural phosphorus management and science based policy implications. The SERA 17 website ( showcases the major activities of the group. Copies of the group's publications and fact sheets are available for download free of charge from this website. This presentation will highlight some of the major work products and accomplishments of SERA 17.

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