The Center for Integrated Analysis of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CIANR) provides a stable institutional focal point for collaboration that draws on the related expertise in several existing AgriLife Research organizations. The main objective of this center is to provide an institutional home for ongoing grant and contract research that focuses on the use of a jointly developed Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS), currently being used in three long-term United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded projects at Texas A&M University (Texas A&M).

The current collaborators involved in joint grant and contract activities are based in the Texas A&M AgriLife Blackland Research and Extension Center, the Texas A&M Spatial Sciences Laboratory and The Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M (AFPC). The collaboration of these AgriLife Research units with other international, national, state and local agencies has evolved over more than 25 years through a series of externally funded grants and contracts amounting to more than $100 million. The model components of the IDSS were developed to support decision-making in multiple federal and state government agencies.

Mission and Goals

The success of agricultural operations depends on the interaction of a number of externally and internally generated variables. Modeling the interaction of these variables in a quantitative framework requires the interaction of multiple interacting disciplinary approaches. The CIANR will bring together interdisciplinary teams that provide the ability to assess the production, environmental, economic and nutritional consequences of farming systems from farm to national and international levels of scale. Temporal outputs of the biophysical models can affect decisions made at the weekly, monthly, annual, and decadal scales. Products of this analysis are used to define best options for combinations of farming system inputs and outputs and to evaluate the consequences of government interventions, new crops, conservation practices, production costs, commodity prices, climate change, and other technologies at multiple levels of scale.

While there is a long and successful history of working together using this approach, the IDSS team lacks a recognized institutional home that would encourage and sustain the partnership that has developed through practice. The CIANR will fulfill this need by:

  • linking faculty from related parts of AgriLife Research in a framework that provides an integrated strategy for maintaining the viability of the IDSS
  • assuring focused and timely engagement with federal, state and industry sources of support
  • developing innovative funding proposals
  • sharing data and analytic results and integrating the products of analysis for a holistic view of options and alternatives
  • providing leadership to develop and report the products of integrated analysis
  • providing an institutional identity and visibility for the IDSS team
  • assuring continuity and integrity of operations for the team effort between funded projects