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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lionel J. (Bo) Beaulieu
The Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA) represents a concerted effort on the part of federal legislative leaders to rethink the manner in which agricultural research and extension programming are undertaken within the land-grant university system of our nation. For the first time ever, land-grant schools are being mandated to increase their energies in support of “multi” activities; namely, multiinstitutional, multidisciplinary, multifunctional, and multistate activities. The intent is to bring about greater efficiencies in carrying out the research and extension missions of our land-grant entities.
In this presentation, the key provisions of AREERA are outlined. These elements include: 1) the commitment of 25% of Hatch formula funds in support of multidisciplinary research involving another agricultural experiment station, Agricultural Research Service, or college/university that collectively are seeking to solve problems that concern more than one state; 2) the expenditure of Smith-Lever formula funds for support of multistate extension activities equivalent to 25% of these formula funds, or twice the level of resources devoted to such activities using FY97 funds; and 3) a directing of 25% of Smith-Lever and Hatch funds received by an institution in FY2000 for integrated research and extension activities (or twice the level of effort committed to such efforts in FY97). It is further noted that while 1890 and 1994 institutions are required to engage in multidisciplinary, multistate, and integrated research and extension activities, they are not compelled to meet the 25% goal outlined in the AREERA legislation.
Aside from the resources that must be devoted to certain activities within the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Extension Service, AREERA makes quite clear the need to actively engage stakeholders in giving shape to the priority activities of these land-grant entities. Moreover, it notes the importance of documenting the impact of the institution's research and extension investments on the priority concerns of its stakeholders. Among the key questions that will be employed to evaluate the quality of an institution's efforts are the following: Did the program address a critical issue? Did it address the needs of underserved and underrepresented populations in the state(s)? Did the investments result in improved program effectiveness and/or efficiency? Indeed, AREERA changes the landscape for many of the South's land-grant institutions. However, if efforts undertaken to date are any indication, the leadership and faculty of the region's land-grant system will successfully respond to the challenges that AREERA poses for them.
F.T. Izuno, R.W. Rice, and L.T. Capone
Situated at the northern end of the historical Florida Everglades is the 280,000-ha tract of land called the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). This land was diked, canalized, and drained in the early 1900s to encourage the production of primarily sugarcane, vegetables, sod, and rice on its Histosols. The phosphorus in drainage water from the EAA is believed to be causing undesirable changes to the ecosystem in areas subject to legislated environmental protection. Phosphorus (P) load reduction “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) are being developed and implemented in the EAA to reduce agricultural production impacts on the wetland areas. The BMPs can be categorized as fertilizer, water management, or particulate control related, and can be applied effectively across the EAA. Ten farms, representative of the EAA soils, rainfall, crops, farm size, geographic location, and water management practices, were used in the study. The farms were monitored under pre-BMP conditions for 1 to 3 years. By Jan. 1995, seven of the 10 farms were operating under project-designed BMP packages that included only the fertilizer and water management options. Depending on the method used for adjusting for hydrologic variability between years, calculated P load reductions ranged from 25% to 60% between 1994 and 1995.