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.
Jill Shore Auburn
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
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
Michael R. Evans, Brian E. Jackson, Michael Popp, and Sammy Sadaka
use the biochar products as root substrate components. Materials and methods Various agricultural by-products common to the southeast United States were collected and used as feedstocks for the production of biochar products. The feedstocks included
Mike Schnelle, Scott Palmer, and Jim Criswell
Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture field inspectors are rarely horticulturists. Yet, they are often expected to provide inspections and suggestions to nursery, greenhouse, and garden center operators. Because of their lack of formal training in ornamental horticulture and related fields, Oklahoma State Univ. extension faculty set out to provide training in horticulture, entomology, and plant pathology-type issues. Results of statewide training workshops will be discussed, including, but not limited to, specific topics such as plant identification and culture, phytotoxicity in the greenhouse and nursery, and worker protection standards. Last, evaluation feedback regarding inspectors' interest for future training workshops will be addressed.
Norman E. Borlaug
Throughout the long history of the development of civilization, agriculture has carried a disproportionate responsibility for improving the well-being of mankind. Although Americans have the best food buy in the world, spending a far smaller proportion of their income on food than do citizens of any other country, there is currently a furor in the urban press and from Washington over the increase in food prices. Urbanites, who are now in the great majority, fail to understand the farmer's production costs, and they fail to consider the costs all along the food chain from farm to supermarket.
Marc W. van Iersel, Geoffrey Weaver, Michael T. Martin, Rhuanito S. Ferrarezi, Erico Mattos, and Mark Haidekker
Controlled environment agriculture, including greenhouses and indoor production facilities, is becoming an increasingly important part of the global food system. Totally enclosed, indoor vegetable growing facilities were developed in Japan beginning
Kent Cushman and Crofton Sloan
A circular garden, divided into eight sections or “slices,” was established for the purpose of demonstrating agriculture to youth. Each section of the garden represents a form of agriculture associated with the consumption of pizza. Soybeans were planted to represent oil, wheat to represent flour, vegetables to represent tomato sauce and vegetable toppings, herbs to represent spices, and pine trees to represent paper and cardboard products. A dairy cow, beef cow, and pig were fenced within separate sections to represent cheese, beef, and pork, respectively. The idea originated in Madera, Calif., from Thank-a-farmer, Inc. and was used with permission. The garden is an ongoing cooperative effort between research and extension personnel of Mississippi State University, local county officials, and area schools. The project has garnered support from the Mississippi Cattle Industry Board (start-up and maintenance funds), Heritage Vinyl Products (fencing), D.P. Fence Co. (construction), and Dominoe's Pizza (pizza lunches for the youth). We anticipate at least 1000 school children to visit the “Pizza Farm” each year, and we expect the community to continue to support and take pride in this project.
Robin G. Brumfield
Since World War II, U.S. agriculture has reduced production costs by substituting petrochemicals for labor, often resulting in overuse of agricultural chemicals. Among the adverse results of chemical overuse are increases in certain pests, groundwater and surface water contamination, and surface water run-off. There is a growing perception that consumers bear the risk of pesticide use and farmers reap the profits. For farmers, the short-term risk of losing a crop that is already planted may take precedence over the long-term risks of such things as the pests developing resistance to pesticide, environmental damage, and applicator health risks. Alternative farming programs such as ICM and organic farming allow farmers to reconcile short-term risks and long-term benefits. Before farmers adopt an alternative system, they must be convinced that economic benefits from the alternative farming program surpass the costs incurred. Few studies have compared the cost of producing organic produce vs. using conventional production systems. One study found that net returns were slightly higher in ICM and organic systems that conventional ones. This is because of lower costs when using ICM systems and price premiums for organic crops. These results suggest that there may not be any trade-off between economic efficiency and environmentally friendly farming practices. If the society desires better environmental quality, it will be ready to pay premium price for the organic or ICM-grown vegetables. In a free-market system, farmers will use the market signals in the form of price, and they will produce accordingly.
Carl W. Campbell
During a 30-year career of research, extension, and teaching in tropical fruit production, I participated frequently in international agricultural activities in countries of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean region. In 1988, I retired from the Univ. of Florida to begin a “second career” as a freelance consultant in tropical fruit production and crop diversification, working for a variety of governmental and private organizations. This presentation contains suggestions for horticultural scientists who wish to become involved in consulting in international agriculture. First, decide the kind of work you wish to do and what your area of specialization will be. Choose work for which you have enthusiasm. Get training in basic as well as applied science. It is good to have a “day job,” at least at first, as you establish a reputation in your specialty. Become proficient in the languages of the regions where you wish to work; also carefully study the cultures. When you participate in an international project, work hard and prepare good reports of your accomplishments. As your career progresses, consider carefully whether or not you will become a full-time consultant. It is a demanding way to make a living, but it can also give much satisfaction and greater independence than one finds in many other kinds of work.