Regional Farm and Research Center Matching System-FARMS
FARMS is an interactive environmental matching software program designed to help farmers locate agricultural research centers with growing conditions similar to their own. Farmers often use information from the research center geographically closest to them, not realizing that the research center may have different environmental conditions. Crop and soil recommendations from that research center may therefore prove unsatisfactory. Researchers can use FARMS to identify research centers with environments and research programs comparable to their own.
1. Expand FARMS program data from 48 to 143 research centers, from 13 to 22 environmental factors, and from 25 to 75 research programs
2. Modify FARMS program to facilitate subsequent additions of new research centers.
3. Improve user interface.
4. Update and publish FARMS program manual and software.
FARMS was originally developed in 1989 at Montana State University and included data for 13 environmental factors, 48 research centers and 25 crop or soil management attributes.
FARMS was expanded in 1992 to include 123 research centers, 22 environmental factors and 74 research programs. At the same time, the user interface was improved and a new output option was added. The manual was updated and is ready for review and subsequent publication. Given correct input data, FARMS can match any semi-arid farm or ranch with the most similar research center in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
FARMS (software) Version 1.3 was originally applicable to Montana conditions only. FARMS Version 3.3 will accelerate sustainable agriculture technology transfer over the Great Plains through a linkage of site-specific information and research centers.
One copy of FARMS Version 3.3 will be provided to each research center contributing data for the expanded program. Additional copies of the FARMS program will be available for $30 from Extension Publications, Culbertson Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717.
Dissemination of Results
The FARMS software and manual will be a Montana State University Extension Service publication and will be distributed through the MSU Extension Publications office. The network of AES and ARS research centers will be another route of information dissemination. One-page flyers describing the program will be distributed to county Extension agents and other interested groups and individuals. Presentations of the FARMS program will be made as opportunities arise.