Enhancement of the Stability of Southern Region Agroecosystems Through Profitable Transition to Sustainable Agriculture

1989 Annual Report for LS89-015

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1989: $121,989.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1991
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $67,500.00
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Keith Jones
Texas Department of Agriculture

Enhancement of the Stability of Southern Region Agroecosystems Through Profitable Transition to Sustainable Agriculture



Cooperators from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas including farmers, researchers, and marketing, financial and extension specialists are working on a transitional approach to low-input sustainable agriculture focused on IPM in onions, sweet corn, crucifer and other vegetables in whole farming systems. Informational searches are being undertaken by the Texas Department of Agriculture in collaboration with farmers, Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and Land Grant Universities in retrospective states. Research cooperators, including farmers, have been investigating various IPM tactics on small plots and will choose the most promising methods for larger on-farm demonstrations. Critical analyses by farmers help to ensure that the methods selected to lower inputs, sustain soil and other resources and maintain product quality, will also be practical for on-farm application. Inputs have been closely monitored and managed. TDA’s marketing staff and Oklahoma State University have been investigating innovative mechanisms of financing LISA farming systems. And information developed in this project is being distributed to producers and consumers.

Milestones for this project have been:

Initiation of some innovative demonstration research involving cover crops, economic thresholds for pests and weeds, alternatives to hard conventional pesticides, and slow release fertilizers.

Development of on-farm demonstrations of scouting schemes and appropriate pest controls, with producers being involved as peer participants in all stages including planning.

Documentation of action others are taking to establish alternative agricultural financing organizations and programs. (This will serve as a catalog of ideas and help identify principles upon which other organizations can build.)

Undertaking of several farm community focus groups to better understand existing financing infrastructure and needs.

Some insightful results from consumer and retail buyer-surveys into consumer attitudes.

In addition, some results form demonstration research have been reported and/or published. Also, cooperators have had several field days and farm tours. And a video, which will provide an overview and results of this project, is currently being prepared.

On the whole, this has been a project with extremely positive results. There have been spin-off benefits which include stimulation of non-vegetable grower interest in LISA, increased communication with other private and public entities which should be involved in LISA, increased networking above and beyond the scope of this project, increased knowledge about farming systems research and extension for some of the individual and organization cooperators, and a probable project in conservation and sustainable community development.