We gratefully acknowledge the help of the following individuals who assisted with the development of the Iowa State University Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture (GPSA) and GPSA documents: Matt Liebman, Ricardo Salvador, Lorna Michael
Heather Friedrich*, Curt R. Rom, Jennie Popp, Barbara Bellows, and Donn Johnson
Interest IN and conversion to sustainable agriculture practices, such as organic agriculture, integrated pest management or increasing biodiversity, has been increasing for a number of years among farmers and ranchers across the United States In order to meet the needs of producers, university researchers and educators must adapt their program areas to reflect this change toward sustainable agriculture practices. Although consumers, producers, and extension workers have been surveyed regarding their attitudes and interests in sustainable agricultural practices, few surveys have examined sustainable agriculture perceptions among university agriculture professionals. The object of this study was to survey 200 agriculture professionals, including research scientists, classroom educators of the Land-Grant agricultural college and the Cooperative Extension service of a southern state with a traditional agricultural economy in order to determine their perceptions and attitudes toward sustainable agriculture and to gather information on current research and education activities relevant to sustainable agriculture. Seventy-eight questions were asked concerning professional incentives, personal and professional importance of topics under the sustainable agriculture rubric, current research and educational activities, and demographics. By conducting this research we hope to identify factors that are an impedance or assistance to future research and education to support sustainable agriculture. The survey findings will provide a foundation for directing and developing agriculture research and education programs for row crops, fruit, vegetable and livestock production.
Carol Miles, Lisa DeVetter, Shuresh Ghimire, and Douglas G. Hayes
the end of the season without compromising soil quality or the environment could be an asset for sustainable agriculture. It is worth noting that if biodegradable mulch enters the plastic recycling stream it will contaminate the recycled feedstock
Daniel Drost, Gilbert Long, and Kimberlee Hales
Funding for this study was provided by the Utah Dept. of Agriculture, Salt Lake City, and Utah Agricultural Experiment Station journal no. 5042. The cost of publishing this paper is defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under
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.
Richard R. Harwood
Our farm operations will face an array of challenges over the next decade that are increasing both in scope and intensity. Global markets, global supply, competition for water, land costs driven by the value of non-agricultural use, complexity of regulation, and consumer concern over what they perceive to be safe food are among the many challenges to farm enterprise sustainability. We will have to “contain” our soil, nutrients, crop and animal residues and production inputs within our field boundaries and in the upper layers of soil. We must do all of this while increasing productivity (achieving ever-higher nutrient and crop residue flow) and being cost-competitive. Many exciting advances are being made in engineering as well as in crop genetics. The most far-reaching, however, will be the contributions that will come from other parts of the biological revolution. The science of production ecology is helping us to better understand the myriad of biological and biogeochemical processes that we deal with daily. We are moving toward management of the genetics of pest populations. We will purposefully manage the diversity and amounts of crop residues in our fields which, in turn will control the populations of plants and animals in our soil. We will manipulate the incorporation and release of nutrients from organic fractions in our soil for containment and nutrient recycling. Our nutrient and chemical inputs will be targeted and largely supplemental rather than the direct mainstay of our production. If our production is to be a sustainable part of the landscape we must be seen to provide a high level and quality of hydrological and biodiversity services as part of our management of green space. The more advanced farms have pieces of this future in place now. Numerous examples will be presented from current research, focusing heavily on crop/soil interactions.
While enrollment is dropping in many commodity-based curriculums, one key program area of interest to many students is sustainable agriculture. Some land-grant universities are initiating undergraduate and graduate programs, or concentrations in Sustainable Agriculture, to meet this student demand. Many smaller colleges (for example, Delaware Valley College, Slippery Rock Univ., and Warren Wilson College) are also offering a focus in this area as well. These programs often include an experiential learning component through internships and other hands-on activities. Examples of some of the courses being offered include Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture, Agricultural Ecosystems, Sustainable Agriculture Processes in Plant Horticulture and Animal Husbandry, and Fertility Considerations in Regenerative Agriculture. In this presentation, I summarize ongoing programs nationwide, and discuss the impact these programs are having on student enrollment.
Marvin L. Baker
In North America, cultivation of Mayhaws (Crataegus opaca L.) is rare; most commercial harvest is taken from the wild. Crataegus opaca is distributed in northeast Texas, east Texas and southeast Texas along the flood plains of the Angelina and Neuches rivers and their watersheds. Mayhaws are difficult to define due to unusual factors relating to reproduction, including apomixis, or the development of an embryo from cells other than sex cells. Mayhaws are valued for economic use as food, medicine and ornamentals. Since the hawthorn has shown extremely low toxicity in every animal tested, the discovery of isolated constituents thru research has caused pharmacological interest. A small orchard plot of selections with ripened fruit measuring larger than 2.5 cm up to 3.1 cm with bright red or pink color is being established for selecting possible cultivars for medicinal or food uses.
Five Crataegus opaca selections were collected due to showing spurtype, large fruits and thornlessness. Yearly production of fruit was noted for five years (even after late freezes) while selections grew in Taggert's Flat, Neuches river bottom, Angelina County. Seedlings are being grafted for further evaluations and uses in sustainable agricultural ecosystems.
M.S. Schroeder, N.G. Creamer, H.M Linker, J.P. Mueller, and P. Rzewnicki
There is an increasing demand for education in organic and sustainable agriculture from undergraduates, graduate students and extension agents. In this paper, we discuss highlights and evaluations of a multilevel approach to education currently being developed at North Carolina State University (NCSU) that integrates interdisciplinary training in organic and sustainable agriculture and the related discipline of agroecology through a variety of programs for undergraduate students, graduate students, and extension agents. These educational programs are possible because of a committed interdisciplinary faculty team and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a facility dedicated to sustainable and organic agriculture research, education, and outreach. Undergraduate programs include an inquiry-based sustainable agriculture summer internship program, a sustainable agriculture apprenticeship program, and an interdisciplinary agroecology minor that includes two newly developed courses in agroecology and a web-based agroecology course. Research projects and a diversity of courses focusing on aspects of sustainable and organic agriculture are available at NCSU for graduate students and a PhD sustainable agriculture minor is under development. A series of workshops on organic systems training offered as a graduate-level course at NCSU for extension agents is also described. Connecting experiential training to a strong interdisciplinary academic curriculum in organic and sustainable agriculture was a primary objective and a common element across all programs. We believe the NCSU educational approach and programs described here may offer insights for other land grant universities considering developing multilevel sustainable agriculture educational programs.
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.