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Sunflower River Basin Research and Extension Project

  • A man and woman, both wearing baseball hats and facemasks while carrying buckets, collect water samples from a flooded corn field.
    Taking Samples
  • A wetland bird roosts in a recently harvested and flooded corn field.
    Supporting Wildlife
  • A group of migrating shorebirds soar across a field.
    Migrating Shorebirds
  • A person walks down a row of a flooded agricultural field toward another person standing in a turnrow.
    Fall Flood on Corn Fields

Is your production operation located in Mississippi?

Want to earn an additional $10K annually?

Enroll about 100 acres across five fields over three years and receive $100 per acre each year.

Four agricultural producers* will be selected as partners in this research and Extension project, to gain new understanding of research-based practices to improve their own operations and to benefit other producers in their region.

Fill out this form to apply!

Portions of Mississippi counties—Bolivar, Coahoma, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Sharkey, Sunflower, Warren, Washington, and Yazoo—are highlighted to show the locations of the Sunflower River Basin eligible to participate in the research and Extension study.
Sunflower River Basin Study Area map

Eligibility Requirements*

  1. Enroll five similar-sized fields.
  • located in Sunflower River Basin
  • rotating between corn and soy production
  • sized approximately 20 acres each
  • leveled with pipe and pad systems already in place
  • plumbed for surface water irrigation (with a tailwater storage pond or adjacent to a bayou or river)
  1. Allow access to research partners monitoring the site.
  • stormwater samplers and water level logs at outflow pipes
  • weather station installed on property
  • bird surveys every 7–10 days
  • routine soil sampling
  • sediment core sampling
  • aquatic insect sampling
  • farming data for the enrolled fields, including inputs, water use, labor, yield, etc.
  1. Host and participate in one field day each year, to be held in a covered area or barn. MSU Extension will facilitate the event, where other producers will visit the field site and learn about the practices.

On participating acres, researchers will examine the effects of different fall/winter strategies for managing shallow-water habitats to improve:

  • soil health
  • production yields
  • wildlife habitat
  • nutrient runoff
  • soil runoff

Results that identify and quantify the economic realities and the environmental benefits will be shared with producers through coordinated Extension efforts. A farmer-to-farmer peer network will be developed to promote practices and secure funding for continuing implementation of shallow-water habitat management practices in the Delta.

For more information, please fill out this form or contact Project Director Jason Hoeksema at dwindbirds@gmail.com.

Ecosystem Services and Farm Activities chart

An aerial photo shows five evenly divided parcels of land marked, from top-left: Control, top-middle: Passive Flood, bottom left: Winter Flood, bottom middle: Fall Flood, and bottom right: Fall-Winter Flood. A surface water source is identified on the right of the parcel.
Projected Acreage Parcels Aerial Map

Corn growing begins in April, and harvest prep is complete by October or earlier. Soy growing begins in May, and harvest prep is over by November or earlier. Shorebird migration occurs from mid-July to mid-December. Early ducks begin arriving in August, and winter ducks leave by April. Denitrification efforts, to reduce nitrogen runoff in surface water, peak from September through November, and soil conservation efforts, to reduce sediment runoff, begin in September and continue into February. Prep planting begins in February and ends in April.

A potential conflict occurs from February until March, when winter ducks, soil conservation, and prep planting may overlap. Another conflict is possible from late August to early October when harvest prep, shorebird migration, duck migration, denitrification, and soil conservation efforts all may overlap.

The active flood timing for a fall flood treatment is from September through mid-November, and the duration of the active flood in winter flood treatment is from mid-November to the end of January. The fall and winter flood active flood time and duration is from September through January.

Portions of Mississippi counties—Bolivar, Coahoma, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Sharkey, Sunflower, Warren, Washington, and Yazoo—are highlighted to show the locations of the Sunflower River Basin eligible to participate in the research and Extension study.

Sunflower River Basin Research & Extension project application form

Fill out the fields below and submit the form to be considered for the Sunflower River Basin Research & Extension project.

First and Last Name
Add phone number in this format 123.456.7890
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