Coupled Systems

Crop, livestock, and bioenergy enterprises can be more tightly coupled using wastes and byproducts from one enterprise as inputs for another. Science gaps in how to integrate these enterprises hinder the transition toward more resilient and productive food and energy systems, especially to build healthy soils, deliver clean water, and provide quality habitat for wildlife and other forms of biodiversity. C-CHANGE work in this area focuses on:

  • Identifying, learning from, and promoting innovative farms and businesses
  • Testing integrated crop, livestock, and energy systems
  • Quantifying the value of diversity and complexity
  • Removing barriers to integrating crop, livestock, and energy systems

The Coupled Systems’ effort is lead by Matt Liebman.


[PHOTO] Robert Brown



“I see change in how agriculture contributes to society, providing not only food but also energy, chemicals and materials while removing and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.”

— Robert Brown, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering, Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering, and Director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University.


Success Story

We develop technologies that convert biomass into fuels, chemicals, and materials that improve people’s lives and the environment. For example, in this study we created a slow-release fertilizer that can be used to fuel crop growth AND improve water quality.

Highlighted Publication

Cropping System Diversity Effects on Nutrient Discharge, Soil Erosion, and Agronomic Performance
Natalie D. Hunt. Jason D. Hill, Matt Liebman

Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 3, 1344-1352, Publication Date:January 4, 2019, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02193