Katie Barnett, ’21, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Certificate(s): Materials Science and Engineering

I worked with three other interns to assess how different farming practices affect crop yield by collecting data samples from five farms located near Princeton’s campus. Each farm uses different farming techniques and we compared crop productivity using the data we collected. We used remote sensors, soil samples, insect collection, aerial surveys conducted by drone, and tracked crop sales and plant health to measure the productivity of each farm. These data also helped us track the health of the fields during the summer. The project also evaluated Princeton’s agricultural land to determine the economic and environmental benefits of transitioning from conventional farming to more sustainable practices. The field was divided into sections and different weed- and pest-control methods were used to test which plot produced the greatest yield and exhibited the best overall health. The impact of deer on crop yield was measured by cordoning off half of the plots with an electric fence, which proved to be very beneficial to crop development.