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Agriculture Research Guide: Online Resources

This is a general guide to finding information on agricultural subjects including crops, soils, forages, farm management, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and sustainable agriculture (SARE).

Websites of interest

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center
Searchable database of over 30,000 references including articles, books, theses and dissertations, and unpublished studies. Many of the references are not cited in the Agricola database. Created and maintained by the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Agriculture Glossary - House committee on Agriculture
A Glossary of Agricultural Terms, Programs and Laws - A product of the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress at the request of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture

Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC)
Source of agricultural information in electronic form over an international network of networks. Agricultural information includes basic, applied, and developmental research, extension, and teaching activities in the food, agricultural, renewable natural resources, forestry, and physical and social sciences.

AGROVOC Thesaurus
AGROVOC is a multilingual structured thesaurus of all subject fields in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and related domains (e.g. environment). It consists of words or expressions (terms), in different languages and organized in relationships (e.g. “broader”, “narrower”, and “related”), used to identify or search resources. Its main role is to standardize the indexing process in order to make searching simpler and more efficient, and to provide the user with the most relevant resources. It was developed by FAO and the Commission of the European Communities, in the early 1980s. It is updated by FAO roughly every three months.

Aquaculture Network Information Center (AquaNIC)
AquaNIC houses or provides links to thousands of state, national, and international aquaculture publications, newsletters, visual media, calendars, job services, directories and specialty sections for species and production systems.

Aromatic, Herbal and Medical Plants
A guide to aromatic & medicinal plants, culinary herbs & spices.

CAST Documents
Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization composed of scientific societies and many individual, student, company, nonprofit, and associate society members. CAST addresses issues of animal sciences, agricultural ethics, food sciences and agricultural technology, plant and soil sciences, and plant protection sciences with inputs from economists, social scientists, toxicologists or plant pathologists and entomologists, weed scientists, nematologists, and legal experts.The primary work of CAST is the publication of task force reports, commentary papers, special publications, and issue papers written by scientists from many disciplines. Many of their publications are avaiable as a free PDF download. To get the download, in the purcahse box in the upper right, select online/downloadable from the drop-down list, then click 'Download Now', and the pfd will open.

CAT Alerts
The CAT Alerts offer pest and crop management advice for current conditions. The information is written by MSU faculty and Extension educators.

CropINDEX is an extensive alphabetical list of all common and scientific crop names held on this site, but does not include Famine Foods entries which are indexed separately. Use CropINDEX if you already know the name of the crop or species, or just want to browse.

The CropSEARCH locates crops by name, topic, uses, geography, commodity, author citations, etc; and locates any terms entered. Use CropSEARCH for keyword subject searching.

Current Research Information System
CRIS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's documentation and reporting system for ongoing and recently completed research and education projects in agriculture, food and nutrition, and forestry. Projects are conducted or sponsored by USDA research agencies, state agricultural experiment stations, land-grant universities, other cooperating state institutions, and participants in CSREES-administered grant programs, including Small Business Innovation Research and National Research Initiative, and the programs administered by the CSREES Science and Education Resources Development unit. CRIS is an application of the CSREES Information Systems and Technology Management unit.

Famine Foods Database
The Famine Foods Database describes unconventional food sources used in times of desperation or famine. This botanical-humanistic subject has had little academic exposure, and provides insight to potential new food sources that ordinarily would not be considered.

Farmland Information Center (An AgNIC Site)
The FIC is a clearinghouse for information about farmland protection and stewardship. It is a partnership between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and American Farmland Trust.

FDA Glossary of Pesticide Chemicals, June 2005

Glossary of Forage Terms
From the Forage Information System, a comprehensive resource for forage-related topics, including Extension, research, and teaching information.

Glossary of Technical Terms in Plant Pathology
On-Line Glossary of Technical Terms in Plant Pathology with a pronunciation guide.

Grain Milling & Processing (An AgNIC Site)
The site is devoted to milling and processing of cereal grains and their use in baking, animal feed production, and industrial applications. Grain Milling and Processing is created by Kansas State University Libraries in collaboration with the K-State Department of Grain Science and Industry and is a component of AgNIC.

Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management is a non-profit grant funded site that provides research-based information on how to responsibly handle wildlife damage problems. This site seeks to service the needs of four key constituency groups: homeowners, agricultural producers, professionals (both academic and industry providers) and policy makers, such as government agencies.
Users are encouraged to browse, read, download, save, print, and link to articles or documents found on this site, but are admonished not to re-publish, re-post, mirror, or otherwise re-distribute materials without the permission of the original copyright holders.

National Agricultural Law Center
The National Agricultural Law Center is the only agricultural law research and information facility that is independent, national and international in scope, and directly connected to the national agricultural information network. The Center has expanded the scope of its coverage to include food law as it recognizes the expanding scope of agricultural law and its convergence with food law topics. The Center is staffed by a team of law and research professors, lawyers, other specialists, and graduate assistants from the University of Arkansas School of Law Graduate Program in Agricultural Law.

Organic Agriculture in Michigan - 2006 Survey Report
From the Preface: This report is part of a collaborative project by Michigan State University (MSU) and the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance (MOFFA) to identify the opportunities for more Michigan fruit and vegetable growers to participate in the growing market for organic produce. It is the first status report on organic agriculture that presents data about Michigan’s organic agriculture community. The report is presented for use in the development of policy, research and extension priorities to support the growth and diversification of Michigan organic production and marketing. (In PDF Format, 36 pages)

Horticulture and crop science information from 46 different colleges, universities, and government institutions across the United States and Canada. This searchable site run by the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University provides access to over 260,000 pages of Extension fact sheets and bulletins from every land-grant university in the U.S. and several government institutions across Canada. Try this resource even for non-plant research queries as their "plant" filter is porous.

Sustainable Agriculture: Information Access Tools
Compiled by the National Agricultural Library, this is a list of resources on the history and current applications of Sustainable Agriculture.

Understanding Grass Growth: A Key to Practical Livestock Production
An online book from the University of Nebraska.

Websites abd Documents Pertaining to Soils

Agri-Briefs: Agronomic News items
Short articles on fertilizer use, soil health, and environmental and human impacts. Issued by the Potash & Phosphate Institute.

ATTRA Publications on Soils and Composting
NOTE: Many of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs.

Sustainable Soil Management
El Manejo Sostenible de Suelos
Drought Resistant Soil
Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases
Potting Mixes for Certified Organic Production
Pursuing Conservation Tillage Systems for Organic Crop Production
Soil Management: National Organic Program Regulations
Alternative Soil Amendments
Arsenic in Poultry Litter: Organic Regulations
Alternative Soil Testing Laboratories
Foliar Fertilization
Sources of Organic Fertilizers and Amendments
Farm-Scale Composting Resource List
Notes on Compost Teas
Manures for Organic Crop Production
Overview of Cover Crops and Green Manures
Rye as a Cover Crop
Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation
Worms for Composting (Vermicomposting)
Assessing the Pasture Soil Resource
A Brief Overview of Nutrient Cycling in Pastures
Nutrient Cycling in Pastures
Symphylans: Soil Pest Management Options
Soil Moisture Monitoring: Low-Cost Tools and Methods

FAR Research Projects
Each year the Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR) and IPNI support approximately 100 research projects across North America, and a similar number in other countries. While most studies are related to crop and soil nutrient management, FAR also supports a broader systems research mission that encompasses ecological, food quality and plant health issues. In most cases, FAR provides funding to initiate a project and helps researchers locate additional support.

Glossary of Soil Science Terms

List of Soil Surveys by State

NRCS Soils Website
“Helping People Understand Soils”
Soils is part of the National Cooperative Soil Survey, an effort of Federal and State agencies, universities, and professional societies to deliver science-based soil information.

Soil Health Information - The Worldwide Portal (An AgNIC Site)

Soil Microbiology Terms

Advances in agronomy

Biological Soil Crusts, USGS Canyonlands Research Station, Moab, UT
Biological soil crusts are the community of organisms living at the surface of desert soils. Major components are cyanobacteria, green algae, microfungi, mosses, liverworts and lichens.

Biological Soil Crusts: Ecology and Management (large PDF), United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management
(large pdf - 118 pages)

Ground-Penetrating Radar Soil Suitability Maps
Soil attribute data contained in the State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) and the Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) databases have been used to develop thematic maps showing, at different scales and levels of resolution, the relative suitability of soils for many GPR applications. Provides links to the national map and most of the individual states' maps.

How to Unravel and Solve Soil Fertility Problems
Author(s): Colin Asher, Noel Grundon and Neal Menzies
This book provides a way for farmers in developing countries to benefit from scientific knowledge on plant nutrition and soil fertility. Specifically, it will help farmers recognise and deal with shortages or excesses of chemical elements.
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. MN083

Relevance of Soil Testing to Agriculture and the Environment
CAST Issue Paper 15, June, 2000 (in pdf format)
This issue paper helps pinpoint factors that need to be considered as farmers and others use soil tests as a guide to protecting the environment while producing economical food. The issue paper provides perspective on the increasingly important role of soil tests, which farmers have long used in making crop production decisions.

Storing Carbon in Agricultural Soils to Help Mitigate Global Warming
CAST Issue Paper 14, April, 2000 (in pdf format)
The same farming practices that promote soil conservation can also decrease the amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere and threatening a global warming. Agricultural practices that conserve soil and increase productivity while improving soil quality also increase the amount of carbon-rich organic matter in soils, thereby providing a global depository for carbon dioxide drawn from the atmosphere by growing plants.

Pesticide Reseerch

Digital Repositories

Michigan State University