Agroecology Analysis of Farming Systems: A Summer Course

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $18,303.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Mary Wiedenhoeft
Iowa State Univ

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: grazing - continuous, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: no-till, ridge tillage
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution, agricultural finance
  • Natural Resources/Environment: wildlife
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life

    Proposal abstract:

    This project has supported development and execution of an innovative, field-based “immersion” course that serves as a “prototype” for educators who seek to foster greater understanding of agro-ecosystems analysis and sustainability. The course has brought together 28 students, 10 faculty, and resources from eight institutions of higher learning. Students developed appropriate, multiple indicators of sustainability and then utilized their indicators of sustainability to critically analyze the sustainability of nine different farming systems. Students reported a very high level of satisfaction in the course and would recommend the course to another person (4.71 out of 5 on a Likert-type scale).

    Project objectives from proposal:

    * Train 54 students from several institutions, both land-grant and private, from the Midwest and other regions.
    * Increase students’ understanding by presenting Midwestern landscapes and their utilization by humans, in the context of history, landscape, and culture.
    * Increase in students’ understanding that farms are a part of an agroecosystem.
    * Students become more aware of farming systems that are different from the norm in their region.
    * Students develop appropriate, multiple indicators of sustainability.
    * To require students to critically analyze several different farming systems, utilizing their indicators of sustainability.
    * Development of students’ ability to work in groups.
    * Students take a more active role in their responsibility for learning.
    * Instructors from other institutions become more aware of interactive learning activities within Agroecology and agricultural production.

    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.