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Kurt B. Waldman, David S. Conner, John A. Biernbaum, Michael W. Hamm, and Adam D. Montri

construction and operation, with little discussion on how these measures interact. This study goes into greater depth on farm management, particularly how market and labor allocation decisions influence profitability. This study contributes to the literature by

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J.W. Prevatt, G.A. Clark, and C.D. Stanley

Three vegetable irrigation systems, semi-closed subirrigation (seepage), fully enclosed subirrigation (seepage), and drip irrigation, were evaluated for use on sandy soils with naturally high water tables to determine comparative irrigation costs for tomato production. Investment, fixed (ownership), and variable (operating) costs were estimated for each irrigation system. The investment costs of the drip irrigation system were significantly greater than those for the semi-closed and fully enclosed irrigation systems. The variable costs, however, for the semi-closed system were considerably less than those for the fully enclosed and drip irrigation systems. The semi-closed irrigation system, therefore, was determined to be the least-cost tomato irrigation system under present fuel cost and nonlimiting water supply conditions.

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Robin G. Brumfield and Margaret F. Brennan

The authors wish to acknowledge the Northeast Farm Management Committee for their participation in bringing together the resources to construct the comprehensive set of production budget information for this project. We also wish to

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John E. Ikerd

Farming operations must be environmentally sound and economically viable if they are to be sustainable over time. Thus, farmers of the future must balance environmental and economic concerns in making management decisions. An integrated farm decision support system, PLANETOR, has been developed to help farmers balance soil loss, water-quality risks, production efficiency, and profitability in the farm planning process.

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Gregory E. Frey, Tarik Durmus, Erin O. Sills, Fikret Isik, and Marcus M. Comer

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom-producing fungus. “Natural log-grown” shiitake mushrooms are favored by consumers and are often produced by small farmers and hobbyists in the United States. The tree species most often recommended as a substrate for shiitake is white oak (Quercus alba), which has many other economic uses. We tested two strains of shiitake in log substrates of three common, low-value tree species in the southeastern United States to identify potential alternatives to white oak. We found that sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) was a good substitute for white oak, both in terms of mushroom production and financial returns. Red maple (Acer rubrum) had less potential, with lower production and marginal financial returns, and ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima) was not a suitable alternative substrate. Of the two shiitake strains tested, a commercially available strain performed better than a naturalized strain that was isolated from an uninoculated log. Further research is needed to identify other potential alternative substrates and production techniques in the southeastern United States and other regions.

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Edmund M. Tavernier and Robin G. Brumfield

1 Associate Professor and Specialist in Agricultural Policy. 2 Professor and Farm Management Specialist. We wish to acknowledge the helpful comments of three anonymous reviewers and support from the Horticultural Research Institute and the

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Mike Murray

The British and Scotish public extension programs are currently “privatized,” after a decade-long process aimed at this objective. While the British system is owned by a private corporation, the Scotish one is still operated by a public entity. In both situations, information is not freely dispensed, but sold through a subscription process. For a fee, a basic level of service, including newsletters, production/marketing/farm management bulletins, and a limited amount of telephone time with disciplinary/commodity experts, is provided. For an additional fee, farm visits or problem diagnostic services can be secured. The government is one of the largest customers in both systems, funding major “public good” natural resource projects, rural reviatization projects, and agricultural sector job re-training programs. This has significantly impacted the way that information is obtained and delivered to primary producers. These issues, and their implications, will be discussed in this presentation.

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Robin Brumfield

Field–grown cut flower production, in general, is a low–overhead business. This is both good news and bad news. Good—because it doesn't require a lot of capital to get started in this business. Bad—because competition can develop rapidly, sometimes from marginal producers for whom profitability is a low priority. Thus, it is important for producers to know the costs of growing each product so that they can make profitable production and marketing decisions. A cost accounting program was developed to help producers calculate the cost of each crop. In addition, a series of benchmark budgets were developed for specialty cut flowers. These budgets are on the Rutgers University Farm Management Website (

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C. C. Singletary and G. R. Ammerman


Following World War II and particularly during the 1950’s, a technological revolution occurred in agriculture. Farming became big business and farm management became the key to a successful economic operation. The term agri-business occurred on the scene indicating that agriculture would need to become married to business to succeed. Recognizing the importance of business in agriculture, Mississippi State University developed a business option along with production and science curricula in each department. As of 1970, few students had elected the business option in the College of Agriculture. On the other hand, the College of Business developed from one of the smaller colleges in the university in the late 1950’s to the college with the largest enrollment in 1970.

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J.P. Mitchell, G. Colla, B.A. Joyce, L.M. Huyck, W.W. Wallender, S.R. Temple, P.N. Brostrom, E.M. Miyao, and D. Poudel

The Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) Project was established in 1988 to study the transition from conventional to low-input and organic farm management in California's Sacramento Valley. We evaluated the effects of these alternative farming systems on soil compaction, water-holding capacity, infiltration, and water storage in relation to tomato yield and fruit quality within the SAFS cropping systems comparison 10 years after it had been established. Soil bulk density (0-15, 15-30, 30-45, and 45-60 cm) was not significantly different among the farming systems. In situ water-holding capacity at 24, 48 and 72 h after water application was significantly higher in the organic system at all times and depths except 45-60 cm. Cumulative water infiltration after 3 h in the organic and low-input cover crop-based plots was more than twice that of the conventional system. The more rapid infiltration in the low-input and organic systems resulted in increased total irrigation needs, more water stored in the soil profile throughout the 30 days before harvest, and lower fruit soluble solids and titratable acidity in these systems relative to the conventional system. Yields were not significantly different in the organic, low-input, and conventional systems during either 1997 or 1998.