Integrated Strategic Plan for Sustainable Agriculture
1. To establish goals, objectives, standards and guidelines for developing sustainable agriculture in the College of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez.
2. To design and develop an initial Integrated Strategic Plan for Sustainable Agriculture.
3. To motivate the integration of the three units of the College of Agricultural Sciences by creating a team to design and develop the ISPSA. This team will include representatives from the teaching, research, and extension groups at the College of Agricultural Sciences.
The University of Puerto Rico’s College of Agricultural Sciences (UPRCAS) initiated the development of its Integrated Strategic Plan for Sustainable Agriculture (ISPSA) in December 1997. The Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences designed a team of ten faculty members to lead the development of the strategic plan. This team, led by Dr. Hipólito O’Farrill-Nieves, includes representatives from the teaching, research, and extension groups at the College, and has been designated the Committee for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA). A graduate student specialized in planning was brought into the CSA, a move that has been helpful to its strategic planning process. Also, the recruitment of this graduate student has initiated linkages between the College of Agricultural Sciences and the UPR Planning School.
In 1998, two scientists nationally known for their expertise in areas related to sustainable agriculture participated in our strategic planning process. These were Dr. Aref Abdul-Baki, a plant physiologist from the Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland, and Dr. Charles A. Francis, professor of agronomy and Director of the Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Abdul-Baki visited the UPR College of Agriculture and presented the seminar “Advances in Sustainable Agriculture: Research and Perspectives.” Dr. Charles A. Francis presented the seminar “Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture” (“El Diseño Agroecológico de una agricultura sustentable”). Both scientists had the opportunity to interact with the CSA, the faculty of the UPRCAS, county agents, and farmers. Dr. Abdul-Baki and Dr. Francis assisted the CSA in establishing the preliminary goals, objectives and action plan for the ISPSA.
The goal of the CSA for 1999 was to develop the first draft of the strategic plan in order to use it as a guide to receive the input of farmers, county agents, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture (PRDA), and other stakeholders of the UPR College of Agricultural Sciences. In the first semester of 1999, the CSA had four meeting sessions with 16 growers, five county agents, and 18 undergraduate students to give them the opportunity to participate in the development of the first draft of the strategic plan.
On June 24, 1999, the CSA presented the first draft of its strategic plan at the Puerto Rico Sustainable Agriculture Conference, held at the UPR Mayagüez Campus. Also, in 1999, four members of the CSA visited the University of California at Santa Cruz and Davis to share ideas about the implementation of extension, research, and teaching programs on sustainable agriculture. The CSA will use these experiences to develop the ISPSA.
In FY 2000, the CSA had three regional meetings to interact with farmers, county agents, students, faculty members, the NRCS, the PRDA, and growers. The first draft of the ISPSA was presented and discussed with the 25 attendees to these regional meetings. Also, this year three members of the CSA visited the “Universidad Autónoma Chapingo” in Texcoco, Mexico, and attended the Alternative Agriculture Expo 2000 in Sioux City, Iowa. These trips brought to CSA members the opportunity to share ideas about the implementation of extension, research, and teaching programs on sustainable agriculture. The trip to Mexico generated a cooperation agreement between our College of Agricultural Sciences and “Universidad Autónoma Chapingo”. The comments and information gathered this year helped CSA to validate relevant issues that must be addressed, and the systems approaches, interdisciplinary efforts, and multi-institutional partnerships that are necessary to develop sustainable agriculture in Puerto Rico. A revised version of the plan will be distributed again for comments. The final version of the ISPSA will be submitted in March 2001, to S SARE.