Clark State Community College has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Community College Alliance for Agricultural Advancement and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“Clark State's suite of agriculture and food science programs offer a high-quality curriculum and outstanding internship opportunities,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “By joining this consortium, we will now be able to provide applied research opportunities as well. This practical research will allow our students to study soil quality, conservation and crop yield.”
The five-year MOU, neither fiscal nor funds-obligating, is in accordance with the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act. It encompasses organizations that share the common goal of ensuring quality education and training of field practitioners to enhance the natural resources stewardship in concert with agricultural productivity.
"The purpose of the MOU between the Community College Alliance for Agricultural Advancement and the Natural Resources Conservation Service was to create an active working relationship between NRCS and community colleges with very strong agricultural programs,” said Dr. James McKenney, consultant and alliance facilitator. “Currently, the colleges are engaged in a large ten-year soil health applied research initiative with NRCS and the National Corn Growers Association.”
Dr. McKenney said the initiative will benefit Clark State agriculture faculty, students and professional farmers through active and on-going real-time applied soil health research throughout the Midwest region. Each of the ten colleges participating in the MOU has a college farm or leased farm land to engage in applied soil health research with active engagement of students.
“Clark State, along with nine other regional colleges and over 100 individual farm sites, will work together to compare applied research results across the region to determine the best practices to promote higher productivity as well as the maintenance of healthy soil and water,” said Dr. McKenney. “World population continues to grow, but productive farm land remains in short supply.”
Dr. McKenney said the only way to feed a growing world population is to produce more with less without exhausting the very soil and water upon which so many depend. “Clark State has joined with other colleges and NRCS to make sure that Ohio farming is part of the solution and not the problem.”