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S. Shukla, C.Y. Yu, J.D. Hardin, and F.H. Jaber

Continuous monitoring of hydraulic/hydrologic data for managing water for horticultural crops has been a challenge due to factors such as data loss, intensive resource requirements, and complicated setup and operation. The use of state-of-the-art wireless spread spectrum communication technology and wireless data acquisition and control (WDAC) systems for agricultural water management is discussed in this paper. The WDAC technology was applied to a research project where lysimeters were used for water quantity and quality studies for vegetables. Two types of WDAC networks, master–slave and peer-to-peer WDAC networks, are discussed. The WDAC system linked the wireless dataloggers to a network to make real-time data available over the Internet. The use of WDAC made it possible to collect real-time data and control the experiment (e.g., frequency of data collection) remotely through the Internet. The WDAC system for the lysimeter study was compared to a commonly used manual system with regard to potential instrument damage, data loss, ease of data collection and analyses, and total cost of monitoring. The advantages of the WDAC include: reduced equipment losses from natural disasters (e.g., lightning), improved equipment maintenance, reduced data loss from faulty equipment, higher project personnel efficiency, and real-time involvement by a dispersed team. The total cost of the WDAC system ($65,750) was about half that of the manual system ($130,380). The WDAC system was found to be an effective tool for agricultural water management projects.

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M.E. Garcia and C.R. Rom

AGRI 1203 “Introduction to Plant Sciences” is a college core requirement for students in the College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences. One of the objectives is accomplished in part by writing a scientific research-review paper (term paper) on a subject of the student's interest. After several semesters of assigning the term paper, it was apparent that students had extensive variation in experience and skills in writing and documenting references. A SOLO was created so that students could develop and practice techniques in reading, understanding, summarizing, and documenting references in a research paper. The SOLO is a self-instructional exercise consisting of three parts: l) a statement of learning objectives, 2) activities on how to achieve the objectives; and 3) exercises to measure mastery level of the exercise's objectives. The SOLO and student and instructor evaluations of the SOLO will be presented and discussed in the poster.

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Carlos L. Ballaré and Ana L. Scopel

Our understanding of how plants use light signals to detect and respond to the proximity of neighbors has increased dramatically over the last few years. At the same time, the explosion of biotechnological techniques has opened a variety of opportunities to manipulate the photosensory systems of cultivated plants. Therefore, the idea is beginning to emerge that plastic responses of cultivated plants to population density could he deliberately changed by engineering genotypes with altered photomorphogenic behavior. This talk will provide a review of recent developments in the area of seedling photomorphogenesis, which will be used as a platform to evaluate the realism of current models of plant competition and the agricultural implications of interfering with plant photophysiology.

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Theodore M. DeJong, Kevin R. Day, James F. Doyle, and R.S. Johnson

This paper describes a moderately high-density orchard training system (1000 trees/ha) developed at the Univ. of California's Kearney Agricultural Center for peach and nectarine trees grown on standard rootstocks. This two-leader system was developed to increase production during the early years of the orchard while minimizing specialized management operations during orchard maturity. Early selection of two primary scaffolds oriented perpendicular to the tree row is recommended during the first season of growth. During subsequent years, summer and dormant pruning requirements are similar to the standard open-vase system grown in California. Because of the uniform and relatively simple tree structure, individual scaffolds, rather than whole trees, can be used as functional units for crop load management.

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Carol A. Miles

Sales of organic foods are one of the fastest growing segments of Washington state's food industry. In response to grower demand for information on organic and sustainable production practices, Washington State University (WSU) created an Extension Agricultural Systems position. This position has been instrumental in helping WSU gain the trust and recognition of organic growers. The position enabled WSU to demonstrate that it has a commitment to organic and sustainable research and extension activities. This paper describes the key activities of this position: 1) finding out research needs, 2) on-farm research approaches, 3) formation of regional research programs, and 4) creation of the WSU Food and Farm Connections Team. Grant funded on-farm research, interdisciplinary teams, and extension publications have been major emphases of the position.

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Forrest T. Izuno, R.W. Rice, and L.T. Capone

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Journal Series No. R-05548. The work reported in this article was supported by grant funds by the Everglades Agricultural Area Environment Protection District. The cost of publishing this paper was

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Beth Holtzman

The challenges facing horticultural production in the Northeast are many: Pests that are increasingly resistant to conventional controls; eroding profitability; increasing consumer concern about residues in food and water supplies.

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program is working to find solutions to these problems. SARE-supported research is developing practices that will help reduce producers reliance on pesticides and other purchased inputs while maintaining farm profitability.

In the Northeast, SARE has provided about $5 million in grants since 1983 to about 50 projects. Many focus on horticultural crops, such as apples, small fruit, sod and ornamental plants. Some strategies developed through SARE projects are already being adopted at the farm level.

Last year, the program allocated $1.461 million to 16 projects. This year, the Northeast Region expects to distribute a similar or slightly lower amount of grant funding. In addition, the region established a new $100,000 farmer mini-grant program to promote adoption of sustainable practices and in novations on the farm.

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Raisuddin Ahmed

Transformation of developing, subsistence economies into commercial and industrialized societies accompanies a declining share of agriculture in the gross domestic product (GDP). However, the shares of high-value products like horticultural, livestock and fish products increase with the decline of low-value products like cereals. This process of transformation is generally endogenous to various forces of supply and demand and, therefore, its pace can be influenced by policies. The forces in the demand side include income and income parameters of domestic consumers, and the ability to exploit foreign demand through exports of horticultural products. On the supply side, a large number of factors constrain the production of horticultural products. Agro-ecological constraints are country-specific. Technological backwardness, lack of quality control and standardization, weak marketing infrastructure including risk insurance, comparative advantages and institutional weakness in linking with world markets and exploiting economies of scale are some of the fundamental problems confronted by most developing countries. Export of horticultural products from developing countries is perhaps the most crucial factor that can impact the process of transformation mentioned above. Macro-economic policies that maintain a stable incentive structure for exports are important. But policies that respond to the constraints in the channel linking farmers in developing countries to supermarkets in the developed world are perhaps more important. Developing countries currently share only about 27% of world trade in horticultural products. More than 80% of this trade is, however, shared by only 31 developing countries. Barriers to entry into the developed market by new exporters of horticultural products are enormous. Whether the emerging forces of globalization under the auspices of WTO would make the entry problem more difficult or easier for vast majority of the developing countries is an open, but critical, question.

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Damian M. Parr and Mark Van Horn

In the mid-1970s, University of California, Davis, students concerned about the environmental and social consequences of modern agriculture were interested in exploring the practice and theory of “alternative” agriculture. These students organized to create new educational opportunities to address needs that were not being met by the existing curricula. These student-initiated opportunities emphasized interdisciplinary analyses of agriculture and field-based experiential learning; they included student-organized courses and the development of the Student Experimental Farm (SEF) as a site for student education, research, demonstration, and extension projects. Over the next three decades, the SEF developed diverse experiential educational projects, classroom and field-based courses focusing on sustainable and organic agriculture, and several departments and programs offered additional, related courses and curricula. In 2004, an interdisciplinary curriculum committee within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences began to develop an undergraduate major in sustainable agriculture. A team of faculty and students within the committee conducted a broad stakeholder survey of agricultural practitioners, academics, students, and alumni to help inform decisions regarding what content, skills, and experiences to include in the curriculum. The survey findings reinforced the original curricular and pedagogical themes articulated and acted upon by students 30 years prior. The proposed curriculum is aimed at integrating disciplinary and interdisciplinary coursework in natural and social sciences, significant on- and off-campus experiential learning, and an emphasis on professional and interpersonal problem-solving and communication skills. Educational theory supports these diverse educational approaches and is useful in helping design courses and curricula in organic and sustainable agriculture.

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Emile A. Frison, Wanda W. Collins, and Suzanne L. Sharrock

1 Director. e-mail: 2 Agricultural Research Adviser. e-mail: 3 Scientific Assistant. e-mail: Viewpoints are published in HortScience to provide Members of the American