DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION SYSTEMS AND WATER MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY FOR THE MID SOUTH
Location: Crop Production Systems Research Unit
Title: Integrated Agricultural Systems Workgroup
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 2, 2010
Publication Date: June 2, 2010
Citation: Sassenrath, G.F., Hendrickson, J.R., Archer, D.W., Halloran, J.M., Vadas, P.A., Huggins, D.R. 2010. Integrated Agricultural Systems Workgroup. Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Annual Meeting, CDROM.
Interpretive Summary: Agricultural production systems undergo dramatic changes as a result of key environmental, economic, social, political, and technological drivers. Understanding how these drivers impact production systems and result in development of the unique production systems present in the US today is important for understanding how to develop sustainable production systems. The Integrated Agriculture Systems workgroup is a group of scientists interested in identifying the key principles, criteria and indicators impacting agricultural production systems. The group collects information through focus groups with producers from throughout the US. The group has identified the importance of integrated agricultural systems, and the changes in environmental, economic, and social outcomes from shifts in extent and manner of integration between agricultural enterprises.
The Integrated Agricultural Systems Workgroup is conducting research to developing principles of sustainable integrated agricultural systems. The Integrated Agriculture Systems (IAS) workgroup hosts producer focused workshops to examine crop and animal production practices. At each workshop, several focus groups comprised of producers with different production enterprises are held to facilitate discussion between scientists and producers. The scientists interview agricultural producers to examine their production systems in detail and explore production practices, farm enterprises, and the management decision-making process. The focus groups move past the simple identification of production practices to understand the underlying rationale for producers’ decisions, discerning the primary influences that lead to implementation of particular production practices. The goals are to discover and organize principles, criteria, and indicators that exist universally across physiographic regions and provide insight into how and why agricultural systems develop as they do. The outcome of this work will be a regionally neutral set of common management principles for producers that reduce the risk associated with decision making and increase the sustainability of their production systems. We will use the work in a series of publications that provide a hierarchical treatment of the principles, criteria, and indicators of sustainable agricultural systems. This information will be useful in decision support tools for producers and agricultural resource managers.