LTAR Network Research


Food for the future: Understanding and enhancing the sustainability of agriculture


A network developing national strategies for the sustainable intensification of agriculture production

About LTAR Research

The Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network is designed to address national issues related to agricultural production, sustainability, off-site effects, and socioeconomic impacts on rural communities as affected by climate. More on the LTAR science plan can be found in our Shared Research Strategy.

What Is LTAR?

The Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network is a partnership among 18 premier long-term research sites across the United States.

LTAR was established to build the knowledge required for sustainable intensification of agriculture, increasing yields from the current agricultural land base while minimizing or reversing agriculture’s adverse environmental impacts.

Network research is organized around topics of sustainability of regional or national consequence, relying upon long-term databases, cross-site experiments, and computational modeling to tie experimental and monitoring conclusions from diverse locations to a broader vision of agriculture for the United States.

Why Is It Important?

Currently, most agricultural science in the United States focuses on improving productivity and efficiency. In contrast, the LTAR network has a multifaceted focus on satisfying increasing demand for agricultural commodities, protectingthe quality of the environment, and enhancing the quality of life in rural areas and the Nation as a whole.

What Is Expected?

The network is uniquely positioned to ensure sustained crop and livestock production and ecosystem services from the regional agroecosystems of the United States, and to leverage those local findings to support a national-scale transition to sustainable intensification.

Current Impacts

LTAR will provide information to producers, and policymakers at the local, State, and national levels regarding how innovation, incentives, and regulations may impact economic opportunity and the health of agricultural communities and landscapes.

Research Prioritization

LTAR network research will be prioritized around the following questions related to sustainable intensification.

  1. What factors drive agricultural productivity and its environmental impacts?
  2. What are the tradeoffs between productivity, quality, societal preferences, and ecosystem services?
  3. What are the barriers to sustainable intensification?
  4. How do we better target our use of resources?
  5. What technologies and management strategies are needed for agriculture to be resilient to extreme events (e.g., weather, disease outbreaks, pest infestations)?
  6. What scientific synthesis products are needed for decision making?

These concepts are incorporated in the following organizational chart:

LTAR Network - Sustaining US Ag

Agricultural Research Service