Research Goal I. Enhanced Capacity to Solve Problems Using System Research Approaches. 4




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Accomplishment Report

(2002-2006)


National Program 207, Integrated Agricultural Systems

Agricultural Research Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture


July 6, 2006


Table of Contents


Introduction 2

Research Goal I. Enhanced Capacity to Solve Problems Using System Research Approaches. 4

Research Goal II. Enhanced Economic Opportunities for Agricultural Producers and Rural Communities. 11

Problem Area A. Strategies to Reduce Production Costs and Increase Profit. 11

Problem Area C. Strategies to Expand Market Opportunities. 41

First Low-Soil Disturbance Organic Cropping System Designed and Tested in Pacific Northwest 43

Research Goal III. Protected and Enhanced Natural Resources on Farms 48

Peer Review Publications 52

Non-Peer Reviewed Publications 87

Book Chapters: 114









Introduction



National Program 207, Integrated Agricultural Systems


Participants at many USDA-ARS Customer Workshops have expressed the need for multidisciplinary systems research solutions to their problems. The meeting of this need was formally put into place with holding the USDA-ARS NP-207 Customer Workshop December 7-9, 1999 in Denver, Colorado. A range of customers and partners participated, including conventional and organic farmers, members of commodity organizations, USDA-NRCS, tribal representatives, farm equipment manufacturers, fertilizer dealers, and various advocacy groups, including the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Center for Rural Affairs.


The primary customer outcome from the Denver workshop was a list of specific attributes that ARS research should include when conducting integrated agricultural systems research. In brief, a philosophy for conducting research was outlined. Among the distinguishing features integrated agricultural systems research should emphasize were:


  • Stakeholders should participate in the research process from project design to completion,

  • On-farm research approaches should be preferred over experiment station plots,

  • A spectrum of agricultural approaches, management strategies, and philosophies should be included in the research,

  • Multiple factors should be considered at the same time,

  • Agricultural production should be viewed within a larger holistic system that also includes environmental, economic, and sociological components,

  • Information transfer should be facilitated through regular interactions of the researchers with customers and stakeholders,

  • Experiments should be conducted at scales greater than traditional projects,

  • Information should be incorporated from other National Programs that were perceived to not use systems approaches, and

  • Research results should be transferred by the researchers to clients, partners, and stakeholders to ensure relevant progress.


The resulting NP-207 Action Plan from the workshop input did not provide a specific research project outline, as found with the other ARS National Programs, but gave a few examples of systems research projects. In retrospect, this was a significant short-coming of the program planning process. However, structure was provided by way of recognized research components that have been regularly presented in the NP-207 Annual Reports. These have included: Cropping Systems, Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems, Site Specific Management and Precision Agriculture, and Decision Support Systems. The final organization of this Accomplishment Report is arranged around general classes to which the accomplishments are categorized based loosely on specific USDA Strategic Goals. Supporting the accomplishment statement was a listing of refereed publications accepted since 2002, and listings of proceedings papers, technical notes, and extension bulletins, reports in the popular press, or other notable records of the research.
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