Planning Grant: On-farm Demonstration of Low-input Farming
The methods of low-input, sustainable agriculture and the positive results of new research must be successfully demonstrated on actual working farms in order to be widely adopted. A process is needed whereby other farmers interested in changing their practices can see and learn from successful practical applications by farmers like themselves.
This is a proposal for a one-year planning grant to set up a program for on-farm demonstration of low-input agriculture in North Carolina. Farms would be chosen from each region of the state to reflect a diversity of agricultural enterprises, including horticultural crops, agronomic crops, and mixed farming. Because new methods may require new crops and markets or offer the possibility of premium prices, appropriate alternative marketing channels will be researched to assist farmers. An effort will be made to involve Extension personnel and vocational agriculture teachers working in the counties of participating farmers.
The proposal developed from this planning grant was accepted as LS 89-14.
(1) Plan and begin to implement a program for creating on-farm demonstrations of low-input farming systems at several locations throughout North Carolina. The on-site part of this project will be accompanied and enhanced by marketing and educational components.
(2) Demonstrate methods of facilitating the transition from conventional agriculture to alternative methods through emphasizing the on-farm demonstration of low-input methods, recruiting Extension personnel and Vocational Agriculture teachers for low-input presentations, and identifying consultants to advise the project demonstration and farmers in transitions to low-input agriculture.
(3) Develop a three-year project proposal, in conjunction with the participating farmers and those who have been identified as advisors and consultants.