Krista Jacobsen

Professional Profile

Dr. Jacobsen's research focuses on evaluating effects of sustainable agricultural systems on soil quality and fertility in sustainable and organic farming systems, with an emphasis on soil carbon and nitrogen cycling.  An agroecologist by training, Krista and the members of her lab work from an interdisciplinary, systems perspective. This includes understanding not only the functioning of alternative horticultural systems but also considering the social and economic fabric within which these systems are woven.  For example, we may look at economic, human labor and energy requirements, and prefer to work in systems that are applicable to small-holder, local farmers in the regions we work in.  Current Jacobsen Lab projects include:
  • Improving our understanding of intensification in organic farming systems affects soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics, nitrogen leaching losses, and greennhouse gas emissions.   
  • Incorporating conservation tillage and cover crops into year-round, organic high tunnel production.
  • Testing new cover crops for high tunnel production in the Southeast.
  • Assessing energy use (energy returned on energy invested) in organic vegetable production systems.
  • Ongoing research comparing movable and stationary high tunnels for year round organic vegetable production.
The bulk of our research is conducted on the University of Kentucky (UK) Organic Farming Unit (UK OFU), a 20-acre USDA Certified Organic research and teaching facility on the UK Horticulture Research Farm in Lexington, KY.  We also work with local farmers throughout the Bluegrass Region and Eastern Kentucky. 
Krista is a native to southwest Iowa, but has called Kentucky home since 2009.  She teaches and advises in UK's Sustainable Agriculture Undergraduate Degree Program.  Her courses include Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture (SAG 101), Plant Production Systems (PLS 386, co-taught with Dr. Mark Williams), Agroecology (SAG 390) and a summer study abroad to Indonesia in Tropical Agroecology and Sustainable Development.