Report on formation of a North American Regional Division of the Association for Farming Systems Research/Extension (AFSR/E)


Material Information

Report on formation of a North American Regional Division of the Association for Farming Systems Research/Extension (AFSR/E)
Physical Description:
6 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Harwood, Richard R
Association for Farming Systems Research/Extension
Michigan State University
Place of Publication:
East Lansing
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Agricultural systems   ( lcsh )
Sustainable agriculture   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Statement of Responsibility:
Richard R. Harwood.
General Note:
General Note:
"September 21, 1992."

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 641989932
lcc - S494.5.S95 H37 1992
System ID:

Full Text

Report on formation of a
North American Regional Division of the
Association for Farming Systems Research/Extension (AFSR/E)

TO: David Norman
George Axinn

FROM: Richard R. Harwood
Michigan State University
September 21, 1992


R. Harwood was asked by David Norman and George Axinn prior

to the September 13-18, 1992 12th annual symposium to facilitate

discussion during appropriate sessions of the symposium.


The discussions were open to all, without regard to AFSR/E

membership, country of residence or interest area. In all

sessions more than half of the participants were long-term AFSR/E

participants from North America (NA). Several student members

actively participated. Consensus was reached on most major

points, all of which were summarized on flip charts posted in the

discussion rooms. Reports were made to the assembled AFSR/E

global group. The process was open and highly participatory.

This summary deals with the several topics that were subject

of extensive discussion.

The need for NA organization

For 12 years U.S. institutions have coordinated annual

FS/AFSR/E symposia with global participation. The needs of North

American scientists were at least partially met through these

meetings, their published proceedings and the many publications

evolving from the AFSR/E network. The majority of AFSR/E members

have been North American. With the globalization of AFSR/E,

regional organizations are organizing and growing in their

activities. As the symposium leaves NA, and possibly convenes

less frequently, a vacuum is seen likely in NA without more

frequent and active involvement.

Secondly, the North American needs are not being adequately

addressed through global meetings. Global meetings are primarily

structured for interchange of ideas among active participants in

FSR/E. It is their only forum for doing so. They do not provide

a forum for education nor inclusion of those not actively working

and familiar with the voluminous literature. Such persons

wanting to learn of AFSR/E through participation in global

symposia become frustrated and are invariably dissatisfied with

the process. Global meetings cannot and will not meet these

needs at a global level, as they must serve a different purpose.

There is also a growing need to network more broadly with the

increasing number of organizations in NA that are using a systems

approach. Knowledge transfer and adaptation from the global

forum and between North American groups is essential to reduce

the current reinventing of the wheel.

North American needs for networking

*Educational at the university level

-provide contacts, materials for instruction

-orient faculty

-orientation, training for graduate students

*Farmer groups, NGO information flow multidirectionall)

-many new farmer research groups forming

-NGOs have broad social mandates--will add dimensions to


*Provide a broad multidisciplinary forum--(not now available)

*Influence direction of NA research toward systems (help to add

momentum to systems research movement)

*Provide a purposeful blend of international and domestic (Much

discussion took place on this issue, but no consensus was

reached). AFSR/E (global) definitely does not have enough

North American coverage. Forum probably should be at least

half North American for 1993. The NA committee should

discuss and offer guidelines.

*The collaborative dimension should be broadened to include a

greater representation of farming systems-involved

institutions and disciplines.

*The AFSR/E/NA must be a stand-alone body, linked to societies

(disciplines) and groups, but not dominated by any single

discipline or philosophy.

Objectives for NA annual meeting and other activities

*Reach and include a broad NA constituency

*Encourage interaction among systems-oriented people

*Demonstrate what AFSR/E has to offer

*Document role and value of international-domestic

information transfer

*Further participation in systems science

*Expand the horizons of AFSR/E by enhancing NA input

*Offer training-workshops on interdisciplinary approaches

*Create a systems mandate back to institutions

Form of NA organization

*Create an interim steering committee for 1993.

*Accept University of Florida offer to host a NA symposium

in October of 1993.

*For 1993--will not have stand-alone status, but will

operate as a Division of AFSR/E.

*Will not have dues-paying membership, but will encourage

continued paying of dues and maintaining individual

membership in AFSR/E (at least through October 1993).

*Have modest expansion of a NA mailing list, with mailings

(and communication costs) advanced by University of

Florida and covered as part of the registration fee for

the Fall 1993 symposium.

Steering Committee

The following guidelines were set forth for an interim

steering committee: (to serve through October 1993)

*Chairperson should be from University of Florida

*At least half of membership be AFSR/E members

*Should represent range of disciplines


-grower groups

-NGO (ex-Rodale, Center for Rural Affairs)

-Centers for sustainable agriculture

-Countries: U.S., Canada, Mexico (if Mexico has


Membership (as nominated)

AFSR/E members

Anita Spring (Chairperson) accepted

Ray William accepted

Peter Hildebrand accepted

Chuck Francis not yet contacted

Josh Posner not yet contacted

Sandra Russo not yet contacted

Neal Flora not yet contacted

Adrian Johnson (Canada) accepted

Institute for Alternative Ag. person not yet contacted

Center for Rural Affairs person not yet contacted

Three farmers:

Practical Farmers of lowa person

California farmer group (Liebhardt/UCD contact)

Florida Farm Bureau farmer

Possible contact in Mexico:

Dr. Herminio Navarro

Colegio De Postgraduados

Monticello, Mexico (for Mexican FSR network)

Charge to the Steering Committee

1. Make contacts to complete committee membership.

2. Continue the evolution of the NA organization, with

recommendations on structure, purpose and function to

the October 1993 symposium.

3. Provide strategic guidance for the 1993 symposium.

Provide input on structure, focal areas and

participation to a University of Florida-organized

symposium committee.

4. Make recommendations and start contacts for a 1994

symposium venue.

5. Confirm (or replace as desired by the committee) the

representative to the Global AFSR/E Board. Chris

Andrew was selected to represent NA for the September

18, 1992 Board meeting.

6. Assemble a NA mailing list (using the Michigan State

and Arizona lists as a starting point).

7. Survey NA members on interests and needs as deemed


8. Report to an assembled NA regional membership at the

October 1993 symposium.

Attendees at discussion sessions

(This list is not complete, as some individuals came in and

out or attended only briefly. It should not be implied that

every person endorses this entire report. There was much debate

on some issues. This report does represent broad consensus.)

Chris Andrew George Axinn John Caldwell

Michel Cavigelli Abby Eaton Tim Eisenbeis

Tim Finan Tim Frankenberger Barry Grace

Richard Harwood Peter Hildebrand Adrian Johnson

Sue Ellen Johnson Harold McArthur David Norman

Josh Posner Mike Powers Anita Spring

Lisette Staal Martha Tomechek John Weise

Stephan Weise Ray William