Exploration of the Ethical Basis for Agricultural Sustainability

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $26,772.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $8,331.00
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Robert Zimdahl
Weed Research Lab, Colorado State University

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: manure management
  • Education and Training: extension, focus group
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement, wildlife
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures


    Five workshops were held in Colorado with a total of about 130 Cooperative Extension personnel, growers, and other participants. One workshop was held in Santa Fe, NM with 35 attendees. Each workshop included an introduction to ethics, the challenges of achieving agricultural sustainability, the group’s description of the characteristics of a sustainable agricultural system, and discussion of the ethical reasons for decisions in a case study that was distributed to the group.

    Project objectives:

    1. To provide a three- to four-hour educational workshop designed to explore the ethical foundation (the reasons for ethical choices) of views of sustainability held by Colorado State University and the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension specialists, Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel, invited farmers, and invited agricultural community group personnel.
    2. To increase participant’s awareness of the issues involved in agricultural sustainability (e.g., saving family farms, manure disposal, pesticide use) and to present and discuss the ethical foundation of the views presented.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.