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Abstract

Asparagus plantings in the Bajio area of Mexico were managed to provide 2 harvest periods, i.e., 2 vegetative periods and 1 dormant period per year. Cumulative yields for a 5-year period were substantially higher from the plots harvested twice annually than those from a conventional spring harvest schedule.

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Edward P. Glenn

The delta of the Colorado River in Mexico historically contained 780,000 ha of riparian, marsh, and gallery forest habitat. Similar to other desert river deltas, such as the Nile and Indus, the lower delta of the Colorado River has been severely affected by the upstream diversion of water for human use. However, several large marsh areas of conservation interest still occur below the agricultural fields in Mexico. They are supported by flood water, agricultural drainage water, and municipal sewage effluent, as well as by seawater in the intertidal zone. The main anthropogenic marshes are the Rio Hardy wetland, maintained by geothermal discharge and Mexicali irrigation return flows in the western delta, and Cienega de Santa Clara, maintained by local irrigation return flows and by discharge of Wellton-Mohowk Valley drainage from the United States, imported via a 80-km canal to Mexico. These wetlands provide valuable habitat to resident and migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, mammals, and endangered species, including the Yuma Clapper Rail and the Desert Pupfish. Both wetlands are currently threatened by water management actions that do not take the wetland value of agricultural drainage into consideration. If agricultural drainage water and other available waste streams were explicitly managed to support wetlands, the Colorado River detla could potentially contain 50,000 ha or more of permanent, high-quality brackish wetlands below the agricultural fields.

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Mahdi Abdal and Majda Sulieman

Agricultural development in Kuwait faces many problems and obstacles, such as limitation of water resources for irrigation, soils conditions, climatic extreme (particularly during the summer periods), and trained labor. With these extreme conditions for agricultural development in Kuwait, there is a strong demand from the public and the government for agricultural activities, particularly in urban landscape and greenery. World travel has enhanced the public's desire for the beautification of the urban areas and has emphasized the importance of the urban landscape. Planning urban landscape and greenery for Kuwait depends on various variables and efficient management of limited resources. Irrigation water is limited in Kuwait, and the quality of water is deteriorating from over-pumping of underground water and increased soil salinity by over irrigation and lack of drainage. Efficient irrigation-water management can be improved in Kuwait with enhanced irrigation research and implementation of the recommendations of this research. Research topics can also include water evaporation, which is high in Kuwait, and the introduction of mulching materials to improve water irrigation efficiency. Most of the soils in Kuwait are sandy with limited organic materials and plant nutrients. Research in soil fertility and plant uptake of nutrients is essential for any agricultural activities. Introducing ornamental plants tolerant to drought, salinity, and heat is a continuous research component of urban landscape and greenery in Kuwait. Training local staff in basic agricultural activities and research development should improve resource management and enhance the greenery of Kuwait.

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Helene Murray, Donald L. Wyse, and Emily E. Hoover

Minnesota has a long history of strong citizen involvement in environmental, community development, economic development, and human rights issues. Therefore, it is not surprising there are many individuals, organizations, communities, and educational institutions in Minnesota actively involved in the sustainable agriculture debate. The challenge we face is how to help these strong forces work in collaboration to solve rural problem s.

In 1990 representatives of five community-based organizations and the U of M agreed to form the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) to be housed at the University and governed by a board of community and University representatives. The purpose of MISA is to bring farmers and other sustainable agriculture community interests together with University administrators, educators, researchers, and students in a cooperative effort to undertake innovative, agenda-setting programs that might not otherwise be pursued in the state.

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Matthew Rogoyski, Alvan Gaus, Thomas Mourey, Israel Broner, and Jeffrey Lakey

A novel way to capture long-standing agricultural experience and knowledge in the form of generative patterns is proposed. These patterns can be thought of as solution paradigm where the solutions are the essence of the patterns. A pattern does not provide a concrete solution to a problem but can be considered of as a worldview of the problem or a solution space. A pattern initiates and generates human cognitive behaviors that indirectly facilitate, elucidate, and solve a problem. An application of generative patterns to production agriculture is proposed. An individual pattern, as described here, associates a problem, its context, the forces affecting it, and a solution. A pattern recurring in production agriculture, the socalled uniformity pattern, is presented, and its horticultural example is discussed.

Open access

Edwin B. Oyer

Abstract

A recent World Bank report (8) classed over half (73 of 125) of the countries listed in its World Development Indicators as low-income or lower middle-income economies. Their per capita gross national products (GNP) are less than $1700, with a range of $80 to $1630. Agriculture contributes from 24% to 75% of their national gross domestic products, and a majority of their citizens live in rural areas although they may not be directly involved in farming. The adult literacy rate for these countries ranges from 5% to 95%. The authors state that “Agricultural production is a key factor in the development of most countries. In the poorest countries, it is critical.”

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Rick Bates

Global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS) technologies are at the cutting edge of an emerging agricultural revolution called site-specific management. Anticipated benefits are both economic and environmental because in this system, herbicides, fertilizers and other inputs are placed only where needed in the precise amounts required. The opportunities for site-specific management of crops, soils, and pests are innumerable. However, most students of agriculture and land resource sciences have little, if any, experience with the GPS and GIS technologies that provide these new opportunities. Beginning in 1995, efforts were undertaken to integrate GPS/GIS technology into the College of Agriculture curriculum. The process began with GPS/GIS training workshops for local and regional faculty. Key faculty modified curriculum within several departmental options and produced instructional modules for 12 different agriculture science courses. Experiential learning opportunities were developed and in some classes, farmer practitioners of site-specific management participated with students in identifying management problems and solutions. Instructional modules and active learning exercises were formally evaluated as to their effects on enhanced student decisionmaking skills and competency in GPS/GIS applications. Recently the new course LRES 357 “GPS/GIS Applications” was added to the curriculum and work is underway to place this course on-line.

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William C. Olien, Joe G. Harper, and Katherine Ashe

A Teaching Fruit-Garden Project was developed as a joint project between two classes in Horticulture and Agricultural Education to develop a teaching resource for college classes, area kindergarten to 12th grade (K–12) schools, and members of the community who were interested in fruit and edible landscaping. Our teaching goal was to develop a sense of involvement in course subject matter among students. The project was based on coordination of team activity, writing across the curriculum, and hands-on learning. Final product in the horticulture course was a proposal consistent with low maintenance; sustainable production principles, including choice of fruit species and cultivars; management plan; and a preliminary site plan. Final products in agriculture education were self-contained teaching modules for K–12 school teachers, including sample lesson plans, projects, and teaching materials. Students liked combining efforts between the two classes. They also liked the idea that their efforts contributed to an on-going service to the community.

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Dan James Pantone and Robert A. Young

A pesticide transport submodel has been incorporated into a distributed parameter simulation model. AGNPS (AGricultural NonPoint Source Pollution Model) can evaluate the effect of agricultural pollution sources on surface runoff. Six pesticide classes are used: herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, nematicides, plant growth regulators, and desiccants/defoliants. User inputs for the model include the time of pesticide application (preplant, preemergence, or postemergence), application rate, application efficiency, percent canopy cover, soil and foliar pesticide residues, soil and foliar pesticide decay, water solubility, foliar washoff threshold and fraction, incorporation depth and efficiency, and sorption coefficient. Areas of pesticide losses and accumulations are indicated in tabular and graphical outputs. Alternative management practices can be simulated, and therefore assist in the optimization of practices to reduce pesticide runoff.

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Constance L. Falk, Pauline Pao, and Christopher S. Cramer*

In January 2002, an organic vegetable garden on the New Mexico State Univ. (NMSU) main campus was initiated to expose students to organic production practices and agricultural business management. The project named, OASIS (Organic Agriculture Students Inspiring Sustainability), is funded by a USDA Hispanic Serving Institution Grant and operated as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture. Students enroll in an organic vegetable production class during spring and fall semesters to help manage and work on the project. The CSA model of farming involves the sale of shares to members who receive weekly allotments of the farm's output. The objectives of the project are to provide students with a multi-disciplinary experiential educational opportunity, to investigate the feasibility of small scale organic drip irrigated farming in the Chihuahuan desert, to demonstrate the CSA model to the local community, to trial vegetable varieties, and to provide a site where faculty can conduct research or student laboratory exercises. This is the first organic vegetable garden on the NMSU main campus, the first organic vegetable production class, and the first CSA venture in southern New Mexico. The project has grown about 230 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the first two years of production, and has grossed at total of $32,000 in revenues from both years on 2/3 of an acre of land. In the first year, 32 members purchased 18.5 full share equivalents, and in 2003, 69 members purchased 39.5 full share equivalents.