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Sandra E. Branham, Mark W. Farnham, Shane M. Robinson, and W. Patrick Wechter

(var. capitata ), cauliflower (var. botrytis ), kale (var. acephala ), Brussels sprout (var. gemmifera ), and collard in the United States alone (U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2014). Collard is a leafy

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Mark P. Linder

Agriculture in the Classroom has become a major, positive force addressing the ag literacy challenge. In California, Ag in the Classroom began in 1980 when the San Francisco School District asked the California Farm Bureau to help develop ag education activities and materials for all grade levels. There is now an AITC effort in every state. Each state approaches Ag in the Classroom from the basis of its own needs and resources. The most successful state programs are a result of cooperation among agriculture, education, volunteers and government. The USDA serves as the communication link among states.

Major objectives of AITC include: 1) contribute to a population with a greater understanding of agriculture's importance to our economy and society, 2) promote awareness of career opportunities in agriculture. Activities and materials are offered in: Teacher Training, Student Program, Resource Materials and Special Programs.

When given the opportunity, educators realize the importance of agriculture to them and their students. They have found that infusing ag information into the lessons they teach adds an exciting dimension to classroom activities.

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Eva C. Worden

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is an alternative model of farming in which consumers become “members” of a farm, by contract, to receive a share of the harvest. Case study interviews were used to ascertain CSA grower perspectives, as indicated by sources of information and motivations. Like most organic growers, but unlike most conventional growers, few CSA growers have family background in agriculture. Common sources of information and strong informal communication were observed among CSA growers. Primary information sources include other growers, printed material, and conferences. Conventional sources of information used in agriculture, i.e., the cooperative extension system and formal agricultural education, appear to be underutilized and are ranked lowest in importance by CSA growers. CSA growers are motivated in their agricultural endeavors by multiple goals: marketing, education, community, and environment. Marketing was the most frequently cited primary goal, followed by education of consumers. For many CSA growers, the marketing motive is not solely monetary, but also philosophical, as a vehicle for achieving right livelihood and building an associative economy that redefines society's relationships to food and land.

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Gary T. Roberson

Precision agriculture is a comprehensive system that relies on information, technology and management to optimize agricultural production. While used since the mid-1980s in agronomic crops, it is attracting increasing interest in horticultural crops. Relatively high per acre crop values for some horticultural crops and crop response to variability in soil and nutrients makes precision agriculture an attractive production system. Precision agriculture efforts in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University are currently focused in two functional areas: site-specific management and postharvest process management. Much of the information base, technology, and management practices developed in agronomic crops have practical and potentially profitable applications in fruit and vegetable production. Mechanized soil sampling, pest scouting and variable rate control systems are readily adapted to horticultural crops. Yield monitors are under development for many crops that can be mechanically harvested. Investigations have begun to develop yield monitoring capability for hand harvested crops. Postharvest controls are widely used in horticultural crops to enhance or protect product quality.

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Laurie E. Drinkwater

Systems approaches to research can be used to study characteristics of agricultural systems that cannot be addressed using conventional factorial experiments. The goal of a factorial experiment is to break down a complex system in order to isolate and study specific components and identify cause-effect relationships. In contrast, systems experiments aim to understand how a complex system functions as a whole and thus requires that intact systems be studied. Two approaches have been successfully applied to agricultural systems research: 1) field station experiments where simulated cropping systems are established in replicated plots and 2) studies of intact agroecosystems using commercial farms as study sites. These two approaches have complementary strengths and limitations and have made significant contributions to our understanding of ecological processes in agricultural systems. The development of sustainable agroecosystems will be best accomplished using an integrated research approach combining systems experiments with appropriately designed factorial experiments.

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Gerardo H. Nunez

Experiential learning is an integral part of agriculture education ( Cheek et al., 1993 ). This teaching approach, which emphasizes the role of experience in the knowledge acquisition process ( Kolb, 1984 ), is regularly used in horticulture courses

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Jill Shore Auburn

The Internet has experienced tremendous growth recently. The number of users, the amount and diversity of information available, and exposure in the mass media have all grown rapidly. Several authors recently have asserted that the media reports are overblown and that Internet is not as useful as most reports portray. Agricultural professionals need to assess whether or not the cost of using the Internet (in learning time as well as money) will benefit them in terms of increased knowledge and productivity. This paper describes current use of the Internet to answer practical questions from research and education, using a survey and practical examples from sustainable agriculture.

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Annalisa Hultberg, Michele Schermann, and Cindy Tong

-sized farms. Between 2005 and 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Resource Management Survey reported that there were 30,449 specialized vegetable and melon [melon ( Cucumis spp.) and watermelon ( Citrullus lanatus )] farms

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Carol Miles, Lisa DeVetter, Shuresh Ghimire, and Douglas G. Hayes

Biodegradable plastic mulch was introduced in the 1990s as an alternative to PE mulch, which has been used in agriculture worldwide since the early 1960s to control weeds, conserve soil moisture, modify soil temperature, shorten time to harvest, and

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Kent D. Kobayashi

. This four-credit course includes three 1-h lecture sessions and a 3-h laboratory period each week. The TPSS 300 course typically consists of sophomores to seniors from TPSS, although students from majors in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human