University of Arkansas Agriculture Professionals' Perceptions toward Sustainable Agriculture

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  • 1 Univ. of Arkansas, Horticulture, Fayetteville, AR 72701
  • 2 Univ. of Arkansas, Horticulture, Fayetteville, AR 72701
  • 3 Univ. of Arkansas, Ag Econ, Fayetteville, AR 72701
  • 4 NCAT-AT-TRA, Soil and Water Quality, Fayetteville, AR 72702
  • 5 Univ. of Arkansas, Entomology, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Interest IN and conversion to sustainable agriculture practices, such as organic agriculture, integrated pest management or increasing biodiversity, has been increasing for a number of years among farmers and ranchers across the United States In order to meet the needs of producers, university researchers and educators must adapt their program areas to reflect this change toward sustainable agriculture practices. Although consumers, producers, and extension workers have been surveyed regarding their attitudes and interests in sustainable agricultural practices, few surveys have examined sustainable agriculture perceptions among university agriculture professionals. The object of this study was to survey 200 agriculture professionals, including research scientists, classroom educators of the Land-Grant agricultural college and the Cooperative Extension service of a southern state with a traditional agricultural economy in order to determine their perceptions and attitudes toward sustainable agriculture and to gather information on current research and education activities relevant to sustainable agriculture. Seventy-eight questions were asked concerning professional incentives, personal and professional importance of topics under the sustainable agriculture rubric, current research and educational activities, and demographics. By conducting this research we hope to identify factors that are an impedance or assistance to future research and education to support sustainable agriculture. The survey findings will provide a foundation for directing and developing agriculture research and education programs for row crops, fruit, vegetable and livestock production.

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