"Nutrient retention is a problem in the lower Mississippi River Valley," Liechty said. "One of the things we see with the bioenergy crops that we're looking at, cottonwood and switchgrass is they are really good at retaining nutrients."
Switchgrass stores carbon in its roots. Increasing carbon in the soil can potentially improve soil quality and crop productivity.
Liechty is looking at whether the plants hold enough carbon to qualify landowners for carbon credits.