Evolution and Advocacy of Farming Systems
Meeting the challenge in the highly diverse small farm sector.
Peter E. Hildebrand^
The number of smallholder farmers is still increasing on a global scale.
These limited resource households that represent nearly a bilhon people struggle
to survive on a daily basis. Yet the development community has mostly failed
to provide means to help them improve their livelihoods. Farming Systems
Research and Extension, FSRE, practitioners have been working with and
advocating for these marginalized people and their heterogeneous livelihood
systems for about 40 years. This paper relates a personal history of this
approach as it relates to participation and advocacy.
Key Words: smallholder, diversity, advocacy, Sondeo, ethnographic
linear programming, farming systems
For many years I have been identified with smallholder
farmers. But it was not always this way.
How did I get into this smallholder business?
Growing up on the plains of eastern Colorado in the 1940s,
I experienced the U.S. agricultural revolution in which power
changed on family farms from the use of horses to tractors and
farm size began to grow accordingly. These larger farms became
more specialized as farmers converted pastures, no longer needed,
into crops. In the 1950s most of my college education in
agriculture was based on the "get big or get out" philosophy
prevalent at that time. Larger farms produced more per person so
were considered more efficient. Simultaneously during this time in
the U.S., industry and services were expanding so there was a
ready market to those people who were leaving agriculture. I was
firmly entrenched in this philosophy during my first two
professional jobs in agricultural economics and farm management
at Texas A & M and Colorado State universities.
In 1964 I took a two-year absence from Colorado State to
work in West Pakistan (now Pakistan) with an engineering firm on
irrigation and reclamation projects covering roughly one million
acres each. Although I did not work directly with the smallholders
^ Peter E. Hildebrand is Professor Emeritus of Food and Resource Economics,
and of Interdisciplinary Ecology as well as Director Emeritus of International
Programs in Agriculture and Natural Resources, at the University of Florida.
of the Punjab, I began to appreciate their livelihood struggles, and
that these were different from families on commercial farms.
The beginning of the perspective
Having been bitten by the "development bug" I went to
Colombia in 1967, first for one year with US AID and then four
years with the University of Nebraska program. During the second
and third years while working for the national agricultural research
and extension organization, ICA, I began to appreciate why small
farmers were unable to adopt "improved" technology. I realized
that smallholders were not the "social problem" I had earlier
thought. Rather, we were the problem. The technologies we were
creating (the research arm) with the anticipation of transferring it
(the extension arm) to the smallholders (the potential adopters)
were mostly not something the smallholders wanted or could use
(Hildebrand and Luna, 1974). Over the last two years of a five-
year stay in the country I began to conduct agronomic and animal
trials on the ICA experiment station in Palmira (Gallo and
Hildebrand 1971), and on-farm research and extension directly
with smallholders, looking for something they could use and would
want. My first on-farm trial was in southern Colombia with egg-
laying Khaki Campbell ducks (Gallo et al. 1971) to improve
nutrition of smallholders and their children.
In 1972 the University of Florida asked me to go to El
Salvador with their program there. My task was to create an
agricultural economics department in CENT A, the agricultural
research and extension organization of that country. This was a
similar task I had while with the University of Nebraska in
Colombia. Because most of the smallholders in El Salvador
planted crops in association with other crops, rather than as sole
crops conventionally used by mechanized farmers, we began
looking at what we called intensive multiple cropping technologies
specifically for smallholders (Hildebrand and French 1974;
Hildebrand 1976). This was a very successful program that
interested both smallholders and large land holders. The larger
farmers liked what we were doing because they could see that if
the smallholders could do it, there would not be so much demand
for their land in land reform programs. The smallholders liked it
because they could see they would not need more land. At the end
of the two years we had 600 multiple cropping, on-farm trials on
smallholder farms scattered throughout the country.
Maize, beans and radishes in a multiple cropping trial in El Salvador, 1973
Focusing on smallholders
The Rockefeller Foundation became interested in what we
were doing in El Salvador and in 1974 they hired me as a member
of their field staff to go to Guatemala to work with the Instituto de
Ciencia y Tecnologia Agricola (ICTA), the agricultural research
(and promotion) organization in that country that had been created
with support of the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations and US AID
to develop and promote^ technology specifically for smallholders.
There I was charged with creating the Rural ^S'oc/'oeconomic
Department. Most of the time I was the lone economist in the
group, but I did have agronomists, sociologists and
anthropologists. To my knowledge, this was the first time three
social sciences had been integrated into an agricultural research
and extension organization in a developing country organization
(Hildebrand and Ruano 1978; Hildebrand 1979a, Gladwin 1981).
In large part because of the influence of the anthropologists
in the group in ICTA we created the Sondeo (a Spanish term
meaning sounding out) methodology (Hildebrand 1981a). This
was one of the first forms of rapid rural appraisal, RRA. The
Sondeo in its many mutations is still widely used (see e.g. Barham
et al. 2004). It is a conversational form of survey that does not
have statistical requirements. Not only were social scientists
involved in the Sondeos, but we also incorporated agronomists and
plant breeders from other ICTA programs.
^ Guatemala had a separate extension organization, DIGESA.
To provide additional economic information, we also
initiated record keeping with smallholders (Ortiz et al, 1977,
Busto Brol et al. 1977, Godinez and Chinchilla 1978, among
others, and Hildebrand 1979b) so we had excellent information on
how they were producing their crops. Even though most of the
smallholders did not write or keep records themselves, by visiting
them every two weeks, we were able to obtain very accurate
ICTA technician getting farm records from a collaborating farmer.
Based in large part on the work we had done in El
Salvador, we also were able to achieve institute-wide, on-farm
research with smallholders (Hildebrand and Cardona 1977,
Hildebrand et al. 1977, Hildebrand 1979c).
On-farm sorghum trial in eastern Guatemala, 1977.
By 1977 we were working with women farmers, having
realized that not all farmers were men! This occurred, not because
the agronomists, anthropologists nor I recognized this fact, but
because Maria E. Chinchilla, the female sociologist on the team
did. She and a Rockefeller Foundation Post-doc anthropologist
(Christina Gladwin) even organized field days specifically for the
women farmers. We also began to look at the livestock on these
farms instead of just the crops so we were looking at the whole
farm instead of just the men and the crops (McDowell and
Field day for women at the ICTA Labor Ovalle station, 1978.
By 1979 we had created what we called an index of
acceptability to evaluate the acceptability of a technology as
assessed by the small farmers on whose land and with whom we
were conducting on-farm trials (Chinchilla and Hildebrand 1979,
Hildebrand and Chinchilla 1979). This index measured an
additional quality of the technologies ICTA was testing in on-farm
trials specifically and actively evaluated by the smallholders,
themselves (besides yield per ha, the traditional agronomic
measure of quality). We used the percent of farmers who used the
technology on their farms the year following the year it was in a
trial on their farm and the percent of the relevant crop on which
they used it. With experience, we calculated that if at least half of
the farmers used it and the index was at least 25 (% area x %
farmers x 100), the technology was acceptable for the smallholders
with whom we were working. If only, say 10% of the farmers
used it the following year, even if they used it on large part of their
crop, then that was a subset of farmers for whom it was acceptable,
but for most of the smallholders it was not. We searched for the
differences between these groups to help us identify what later
would be called a recommendation domain (Wotowiec et al. 1988).
If a large proportion of farmers used it the following year, but on
only a small part of their crop, we felt they were interested, but not
yet convinced so continued to test it on their own.
On-farm trial, Santa Rita, San Marcos, 1979
It was during this time that the term 'Farming Systems'
began to be applied to what we were doing and ICTA and its
methodology was being evaluated by several agencies, including
US AID (McDermott and Bathrick 1981). Besides looking at farms
as systems, the term implied working with and for smallholders. I
guess this was what is being called advocacy. At the same time,
'farming systems' projects began to proliferate around the world
(Shaner et al 1982) because it was a relatively easy means to obtain
donor funding heavily based on our work in Guatemala.
Globalizing advocacy for smallholders
In 1980, following a seven-month Rockefeller Foundation
study leave at the University of Florida (to which I had been
contracted while in El Salvador, but never before in residence) I
accepted the challenge of the vice president for agriculture and
natural resources to create what he called a world class farming
systems program. I have been at UF now for three decades and
early on, because of my continuing interaction with
anthropologists, I was admitted to the Society for Applied
That first spring semester, while I was still on the
Rockefeller study leave, a group of us organized a 4-credit,
graduate level course in which all of this group participated to see
if it was possible "to teach farming systems to others," a challenge
that Ken McDermott (USAIDAVashington) had made to me on one
of his trips to Guatemala while I was there. We started with
discussions of farms as systems, and then, based on the ICTA
experience, conducted a Sondeo in north Florida, and carried out a
simulated on-farm trial on campus using radishes (that would
produce within five weeks during the time frame of the semester).
The course, offered jointly by the Horticulture and the Food and
Resource Economics departments, was quite successful and had an
enrollment of 18 graduate students from a number of departments.
This course was offered (in the Food and Resource Economics
Department) every year until 2008 (five years after I had officially
"retired" and as a three-credit course to fit better with student
loads) and enrollment varied from six to 36 graduate students each
spring. It formed the basis of the farming systems minor offered to
both PhD and Master's students from any major at the university.
One of the first activities we initiated was the North Florida
Smallholder Farming Systems Project (Schmidt 1984) that was
based on the methodology developed in Guatemala. That is, we
conducted a Sondeo (Amerling et al. 1981) and initiated on-farm,
as well as on-station research (I had been doing agronomic and
animal research on experiment stations since my days in Colombia
and was not about to stop just because I was in an agricultural
economics department in a U.S. university). In this program we
had anthropologists, economists, geographers, agronomists and
soil scientists. Our personnel included research and extension
faculty and graduate students. This project was funded both by
UF/IFAS and by the Office of International Cooperation and
Development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to see if the
methodology we had developed overseas could be used in the
United States.'' Of course, the scale of the so-called 'small' farms
was vastly different, but many of the problems the Florida small
farmers faced were similar to those we had found in Guatemala
and El Salvador.
Similarly to what was being found overseas, the technology
being produced by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
(IF AS) at the university was not appropriate for many of the
^ The OICD also had a project in Portugal and in October, 1981 asked me to
head a delegation to go there to assess their potential for changing their
agricultural research and extension organization to better adapt to the needs of
their small farmers (Hildebrand et al. 1981).
smallholders, because it required large capital investments, and the
small farmers had problems accessing credit and both input and
product markets as well (Dehm 1984). One of the first projects
was researching means of establishing perennial peanut forage
under dry spring conditions (Swisher and French 1985, Rice 1993)
because of the scarcity of high quality, mid summer forage for
animals. We also looked at grazing potential for a winter wheat
variety recently released by the university but for which no grazing
trials had been released (Schmidt 1984). The fact that the north
Florida farming systems project was creating broad attention and
being an advocate for smallholders can be attested to by the
visitors in 1982 (from Purdue University; OICD/USDA;
CONACYT, Ecuador; FONAIAP, Venezuela; IICA, Costa Rica;
INIAP, Ecuador; The Rockefeller Foundation; Virginia
Polytechnic University; and various persons from the Philippines,
Figi, Portugal, Malawi and three other countries in Africa).
As part of the North Florida FSRE project, one of my
graduate students completed his thesis in 1984 and prepared a
poster to present at the annual farming systems symposium at
Kansas State University on the "Cost of learning new technology."
We hypothesized that small farms where resources were very
limited could not afford to invest in high cost new technology that
was difficult to learn to use because if it were not effective the first
year, it was difficult for the farm to recover the costs in future
years. The research in north Florida supported this hypothesis
(Wake, J.L., C.F. Kiker and P.E. Hildebrand. 1988). Larger
farms with more resources could afford early losses because they
were organized more as businesses and would have larger
enterprises in the future to recover any early losses.
In 1982, US AID funded (originally for $10 million) the
Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP) that had a global
training, networking and technical assistance mandate for farming
systems projects that were becoming widespread in developing
countries. The FSSP was headquartered at the University of
Florida, but it included 19 U.S. universities and five consulting
firms that were actively involved (Andrew 1987, FSSP 1988). The
FSSP supported the annual farming systems symposia that had
been initiated at Kansas State University in 1981 and after six
years continued at the University of Arkansas (3 years) and
Michigan State University (3 years). These symposia evolved into
the Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension
(AFSRE) in 1989 and then became the International Farming
Systems Association (IFSA). Global IFSA symposia are held on
different continents every other year and regional meetings are
held in alternate years. In 2002 UF hosted the global IFSA
Symposium in Orlando.
David Norman (1), me and Mike Collinson (r) at the Orlando
symposium. David and Mike were also very active in advocating for the
farming systems approach and were considered co-fathers of FSRE.
During and following the life of the FSSP, and partly based
on the on-farm research we had done in Guatemala, we developed
a method for designing and analyzing on-farm research. This
method was based on that long used by plant breeders (several of
whom I worked closely with in Guatemala) to assess the stability
of a technology across environments and therefore, was supposed
to have broad adoptability. Those technologies included the use of
mechanization, fertilizers, pesticides, etc., to modify the natural
environment on the farms. But smallholders were unable to adjust
their environments to that required of the 'broadly adoptable
technologies.' Our first attempt was to call the method 'Modified
Stability Analysis' (Hildebrand and Poey 1985). We later
modified this and now call it' Adaptabiltiy Analysis' (Hildebrand
and Russell 1996) to reflect the need to adapt technologies to the
diversity found in different biophysical and socioeconomic
Adaptability Analysis is a relatively easy method to
account for both the biophysical and socioeconomic diversity
found on smallholder farms. Rather than controlling for non-study
variables as is usually done in agricultural research, thereby
creating an artificially superior, and homogeneous environment for
testing the factors under study. Adaptability Analysis is based on
the highly variable environments found on smallholder farms.
Results provide for multiple extension messages, related to both
the biophysical environments of smallholders and their varied
During the 1980s and early 1990s, my advocacy of
smallholders and of methods of working with and for them took on
several other aspects as well. I served on the External Advisory
Committees of both the USAID-flinded Bean/Cowpea
Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP) headquartered at
Michigan State, and the Tropical Soils (Tropsoils) CRSP,
headquartered at North Carolina State, for several years. This put
me in touch with some of the leading food legume breeders and
soil scientists who were working on technologies for developing
countries as well as the USAID and participating university
officers who were frequently evaluating the CRSPs. See for
example: Coulter et al, 1979; Gray et al, 1979. Official trips also
introduced me to smallholder livelihood systems in parts of the
world (for example, Botswana, Indonesia, Peru) I had not had
previous opportunities to visit.
Another important aspect of advocacy for smallholders
during the 1980s and 1990s was accomplished by offering short
courses in farming systems methodology, both in other countries
and in the U.S., most often on the University of Florida campus.
Abroad these courses were taught in different languages in such
places as the state of Acre in the western Amazon of Brazil,
western Venezuela, the coastal region of Ecuador, in Nicaragua,
and Morocco. In some cases we offered University of Florida
credit for those taking the course if the participants had ambitions
of obtaining an advanced degree at some time in the future.
Participants were usually officials of government agencies working
with smallholder agriculture or university professors. I was leader
or consultant for most of them.
The first FSSP short course was offered in Gainesville on
June 5-10, 1983, to 17 people coming from the following
universities: Iowa State, Washington State, Florida, VPI, Michigan
State and Illinois, as well as from CIMMYT. The second short
course was on July 17-22 and was offered in Gainesville to 29
people from: LSU, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan State, Colorado
State, Minnesota, VPI, Arkansas and Development Alternatives,
Inc., PRECODEPA (Guatemala), USAID/El Salvador, CARDI in
the eastern Caribbean, USAID/Mali, and one private consultant.
After these two courses were offered, other courses, based on these
and with previous participants becoming trainers, were offered at:
VPI, August 29 to September 2; Michigan State, August 21 to 24;
and Colorado State, September 26 to 30. Internationally, courses
based on the Gainesville course were offered in Ouagadougou,
Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) September 25 to 30 in French;
and Paraguay December 11 to 16 in Spanish.
Much of my work in 1983 was on the slide-tape modules
we used in the FSSP for training and these short courses. During
the year we produced a number of modules for which I was the
principal author and source of slides. Most were also put out in
French and Spanish, and some in Portuguese. These modules
introduced people to the approach and the methods we were
advocating and were a powerful tool. They are described briefly
Introduction to Farming Systems Research and Extension.
Many people, including many from USAID, did not know
what FSRE really was. Some had their own ideas, but they were
very different from what we felt it was, so we needed to let people
know what it was we were doing.
Economic Characteristics of small-scale, limited resource
family farms: Implications for technology development,
Part I. (Mainly for non-economists).
These kinds of farms had many special characteristics that
were very different from the kinds of commercial farms most
people were familiar with. One of the most important was that
these farms were first homes rather than first a business.
Economic Characteristics of small-scale, limited resource
family farms: Implications for technology development.
Part II. (More technical than Part I)
Because many people who needed to understand the nature
of these farms were not economists, we felt it necessary to make
one non-technical set for them. Then for economists, the second
could also be used. Based on Hildebrand and Luna, 1974.
The small-scale family farm as a system
Technologies generated in the FSRE approach were based
on a sound knowledge of the systems aspect of the small farms.
We used the work from a conference at the Rockefeller Foundation
Bellagio, Italy conference center (McDowell and Hildebrand 1980)
as a basis. These figures have shown up in many publications
Defining recommendation domains: A case study of
Santiago Sacatepequez, Guatemala.
The term "Recommendation Domain" was just coming into
use. This was a first attempt to describe how one was defined
(Chinchilla 1979). It was based on the concept of a
"homogeneous" farming system. This example was one of the
most complete Sondeo reports written by ICTA. Among other
things it had a pretty complete discussion of the women's role in
the farming system of the area.
Designing alternative solutions: Case study ofJutiapa,
It was unclear to many people how to move from the
knowledge of a farming system and its constraints to deciding what
kinds of solutions made sense. Too often, "low yields" translated
into the need for "improved varieties" and complete packages of
technology to increase production per unit of land area. The point
of this set was that land, while small in area, was not often the most
limiting of the resources available to the farmers. In this case
study, we showed that the amount of bean seed available at
planting time (because beans were an important, but relatively
scarce food) and labor at planting time right when the rains started,
were the constraints on the system (Hildebrand and Cardona 1977).
We also demonstrated some technologies designed to alleviate
Designing alternative solutions: Case study from
Zapotitdn, El Salvador.
This was an irrigated area and very different from the
eastern Guatemala situation in Jutiapa. Here, labor was relatively
abundant, inputs relatively available, market infrastructure was
adequate, but land was very scarce. This case was based on the
work that we were involved with in El Salvador where we
designed a system of multicultivos that allowed a family to have a
good income on only about one acre of land (Hildebrand 1976).
By using the two alternative solution sets (Jutiapa and Zapotitan)
together, it gave a good idea of the kinds of things that could be
Designing alternative .solutions: Case study of the North
Florida FSRE Project.
The question was always asked if FSRE could be used in
the U.S. We developed this set to demonstrate that it could.
Design and analysis of on-farm trials.
At the time the FSSP began, most people felt strongly that
"good" research could not be done on farms because of the "lack
of control" they faced. Others, who were willing to try, had little
or no idea how to go about designing and analyzing on-farm
research. This module responded to both concerns (Hildebrand
and Poey 1985).
During 1983 alone, these slide-tape modules were
distributed, at the request of the institutions to the following:
AID/Manila, AID/Upper Voha, CIMMYT/Turkey, IITA/Nigeria,
AID Senegal, AID/Washington, CIP/Peru, OICD/USDA, and the
following universities: Arizona, Colorado State, Hawaii, Southern
Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, California/Davis, Illinois, Iowa
State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Washington State, Oregon, and
VPI. I also used them in my classes and continue to use some of
them in modified form yet today.
My graduate student load increased to 24 in 1986,
of which five had Farming Systems assistantships and were from
the Food and Resource Economics Department (FRED),
Agronomy, and Soil Science. All but one of the 24 had a farming
systems minor and were majoring in: FRED, Latin American
Studies, Agronomy, Soils, Sociology, Agricultural Engineering,
Poultry Science, Anthropology, Agricultural Extension Education,
and Human Nutrition. Eleven of the 24 were Americans. Foreign
students were from El Salvador, the Dominican Republic,
Bangladesh, Honduras, Guatemala, Nepal, and Zaire. Enrollment
in the farming systems course was 18. It was quite obvious that
there was tremendous interest in farming systems and smallholders
among graduate students, both foreign and American, and that the
program (including my farming systems course, the farming
systems minor, the farming systems assistantships, and the FSSP)
was having a strong effect on campus.
I had been editing a set of readings I used in the farming
systems course and that was being used in many of the FSSP short
courses. In 1986 it was published as a book (Hildebrand 1986).
Also during 1986 we had an historic conference on the campus.
Organized by anthropologists Susan Poats, Associate Director of
the FSSP; Marianne Schmink, Associate Professor of Latin
American Studies and Co-Director of the Women in Agricultural
Development Program (WIAD); and Anita Spring, Associate
Professor of Anthropology and Associate Dean of the College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences. The conference treated gender issues in
farming systems research and extension. It was historic for a
number of reasons, but mostly because it was the first time that a
gender conference did not involve militaristic confrontations of
feminists with the establishment, but rather treated how gender
issues could better be incorporated into development work. The
term gender analysis, and its use in development began to displace
the term gender issues. The term issues connotes confrontation
while analysis connotes understanding and utilization (Poats et al.
For this conference I contributed to a paper on research,
recommendation and diffusion domains (Wotowiec et al. 1988). In
earlier work we had argued that recommendation domains were
homogeneous groups of farmers or farmers with homogeneous
systems (Chinchilla 1979). We had thought that one could identify
these homogeneous systems during a Sondeo and that they would
be convenient means for developing "location-specific"
technologies. "The premise on which the selection of a
homogeneous cropping or farming system was based was that all
the farmers who presently use it have made similar adjustments to
a set of restrictions which they all face and that, since they made
the same adjustments, they must all be facing the same set of agro-
socioeconomic conditions" (Hildebrand, 1981a). This idea
recognized the diversity of farming systems within a single
geographic area, but was still based pretty much on the idea that
the homogeneous systems (and therefore, recommendation
domains) could be recognized during a Sondeo, even though
refined from time to time. In the gender issues paper, we carried
the concept of diversity further. We argued that different fields on
a single farm could be in different recommendation domains, or
that women's fields could be in separate domains from their
husbands' fields. We also tried to clear up some confusion by
defining three different kinds of domains. Research domains were
areas in which institutes or teams focused their research and
consisted of a relatively wide range of environments and farming
systems. Their delineation was based mostly on biophysical (and
sometimes political) characteristics. Recommendation domains
were based on "the response of a specific technology to the agro-
socioeconomic conditions found on farms." The third kind of
domain was the diffusion domain, or "interpersonal
communication networks through which newly acquired
knowledge of agricultural technologies naturally flows." The
definition of recommendation domains was to undergo yet another
redefinition in a few more years.
In part because the farms and technologies with which
farming systems practitioners work were low input, I was asked to
serve on a National Research Council (NRC), Board on
Agriculture Committee on "The Role of Alternative Farming
Methods in Modern Production Agriculture." This committee was
looking into alternatives to the high-input kind of technology that
was then pretty much the accepted (or conventional) technology
used in the United States, but was being recognized as a
contributor to the declining quality of our own environment. The
deliberations resulted in a book (National Research Council 1989).
Indicating that farming systems was receiving attention
from many levels, the Office of Technology Assessment of the
U.S. Congress asked the FSSP to prepare a paper for them on
"Farming Systems Research and Extension: Status and Potential
for Low Resource Agriculture." (Poats et al. 1986).
In 1987, in all its wisdom, USAID decided that they had to
shift their focus from "farming systems" to "sustainable
agriculture." It did not occur to the bureaucrats who made these
kinds of decisions that sustainability was a concept and that the
best way to generate sustainable agriculture was through the use of
farming systems methodology. Thus, just at the time there was a
tremendous momentum built up around the world for smallholder
development programs using farming systems participatory
methodology, and after USAID had invested about $8 million of
the original $10 million estimate, the FSSP was terminated in 1987
after five years of effort.
One of the legacies of the FSSP was a four volume set of
readings (FSSP) that would continue to be used and requested for
at least another decade as people began to realize that farming
systems methodology was, in fact, very useful if not critical for
efforts at creating sustainable agriculture in very diverse situations
around the world. The other legacy was an active training unit, the
International Training Division, in IF AS at the University of
Florida. I was named director and Lisette Staal was the assistant
director. The institutions affiliated with the FSSP agreed that
Florida should continue to be the center of farming systems
training activity and to call upon others as demand required.
My graduate student load increased in 1987 to 31 of which
nine graduated during the year. Again, all but one of the 31 had a
farming systems minor and seven of them were on farming
systems assistantships. By 1988 the farming systems minor had
become the largest among graduate students in the College of
Agriculture. In 1988 there were 28 graduate students currently
enrolled with a farming systems minor and 34 graduate students
had already graduated with the minor. I served on many, if not
most of their supervisory committees. Also, in the 1988-89
academic year, 18% of the graduates in the College of Agriculture
receiving advanced degrees had taken my farming systems
At the ninth annual International Farming Systems
Symposium, held for the third year at the University of Arkansas,
the Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension
(AFSRE) was created and I was elected the founding president.
This was the same group that had been associated with the FSSP,
augmented by new participants who were attending the
symposium. The association, global in scope, was
. organized to promote the development and
dissemination of methods and results of participatory on-farm
systems research and extension. The objective of such research
is the development and adoption through the participation by
farm household members (male and female) of improved and
appropriate technologies to meet the socioeconomic needs of
farm families; adequately supply global food, feed and fiber
requirements; and utilize resources in a sustainable and efficient
The AFSRE also took over responsibility for organizing the
annual symposia; continuing publication of the FSSP Newsletter,
which in the interim we had called the FSRE Newsletter, and
became the AFSRE Newsletter; and creating and publishing a
journal, the Journal for Farming Systems Research-Extension
The emerging concern with "sustainability" was evidenced
by three papers I presented in 1989. Two were at the farming
systems symposium ("Farming systems research/extension and the
concepts of sustainability" with Chuck Francis from the University
of Nebraska (Francis and Hildebrand 1989), and "Agricultural
sustainability as an operational criterion" with Malik Ashraf from
IIT A), and one at the Agronomy meetings (Hildebrand 1990a).
Professor C.R.W. Spedding of Reading University in
England was considered one of the founders of systems modeling
in agriculture and held the Chair of Agricultural Systems at
Reading. He was also a founder of the journal Agricultural
Systems on whose Editorial Board I sat. I was honored to be one
of 13 "eminent colleagues" invited to contribute a paper
(Hildebrand 1990b) to an international symposium to mark his
retirement in September. Two other "colleagues" were Barry Dent
of Edinburgh University and co-Editor of Agricultural Systems and
Gordon Conway of the Ford Foundation, New Delhi and who
would be made President of The Rockefeller Foundation in 1998.
During this period. Van Crowder, later the F AO
representative in Nicaragua, and I worked with the Agricultural
Education and Communication Department (AEC) to create a new
M.S. degree with a concentration in farming systems. IF AS
communication people had recently been merged into the former
Agricultural Education and Extension (AEE) Department and Van
was one of the persons who was shifted. Prior to this time there
was no one in the old AEE department who was qualified in
farming systems (except that the Chair of the department had been
on the Advisory Committee of the North Florida Farming Systems
Project). Van being in the department made a natural fit for a new
farming systems degree. We proposed both thesis and non-thesis
M.S. degrees. First, we felt that it had to be a Master of Science
degree to carry appropriate weight in other countries (the Master of
Agriculture non-thesis degree was not appreciated). We argued
that we needed both kinds of M.S. degree because some foreign
students were on a firm, fixed two year limit to obtain a Master's
degree and we could not guarantee one if the student were to do a
thesis. For the non-thesis degree, the student would have to do at
least three credits of supervised research, but this could be in any
field and under the supervision of only one faculty member, not the
whole supervisory committee. The report, not being a thesis,
would not have to go through the graduate school approval
process, also saving time. But for those students who had the time,
the thesis, which was also valued in most countries, could be done.
The department already had a thesis and non-thesis Master's
degree, so we requested a "concentration" in farming systems.
This meant that it could be approved by the Graduate Council of
the University of Florida and not need to go to the Board of
Regents as would have been the case for a new Master's degree
program (i.e., a farming systems major). In getting approval of the
new concentration, we had the support of the Dean of the Graduate
School who had told me earlier that the farming systems minor
was one of only two in the whole university that warranted the
honor of being called a minor!
In 1991, the new UF vice president and head of IF AS had
authorized me to make a world-wide announcement of the farming
systems assistantship program, soliciting qualified candidates. In
1991 alone we (I still had a secretary in those days!) responded to
167 letters from 35 countries from interested persons. Even
though we were able to provide assistantships only to a very
limited number of students, this provided a tremendous amount of
exposure to our farming systems program. As late as 1998 we
were still receiving letters requesting information on the farming
systems assistantships for which we had not had funds for a
number of years.
During a short course in Morocco in 1990 I met a
biometrician from the University of Nebraska who understood and
supported Modified Stability Analysis. He agreed to provide
documentation (that eventually turned out to be both a paper and a
video) to support the procedure. Later we would write a paper for
a book chapter, which supported Modified Stability Analysis
(Stroup et al. 1993). This was presented as one of three papers I
co-authored for the 1991 American Society of Agronomy meetings
to which I had belonged for about 15 years.
In February I traveled for two weeks to South Africa where
I presented a keynote address at the inaugural Southern Africa
Farming Systems Conference and to consult with the Southern
Africa Development Bank on needed shifts in agricultural research
and extension programs under the envisioned new governmental
arrangements coming with the end of apartheid. I was also invited
to present a paper in Chapingo, Mexico at the Autonomous
University. They had a conference on "Agroforestry for
sustainable development." (Hildebrand et al. 1993). In this paper
we argued that knowledge of farmers' evaluation criteria plays an
important role in the analysis of on-farm research data and in the
dissemination of the resulting technology. Results of research
conducted by my students and co-authors in Brazil, Costa Rica,
Haiti and Kenya were used as examples. We had been having
discussions as a group for a number months in which we discussed
the commonalities emerging from their apparently very different
During 1994 I was working with 41 graduate students (6 of
whom graduated during the year). These students were majoring
in 12 different departments (Ag Education and Communication,
Ag Engineering, Agronomy, Anthropology, Mass Communication,
Dairy Science, Forestry, FRE, Geography, Latin American Studies,
Soil Science, and Wildlife). All told, they were working on
research in 12 countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Korea, Peru and St.
Lucia. Eighteen of them were working for a farming systems
minor (another 71 graduate students had graduated with the
minor). In 1994 the first students graduated with an M.S. degree in
Agricultural Education and Communication with the Concentration
in Farming Systems. Seven others were enrolled in the program.
I also created a farming systems email net for campus use,
the FSNET. This was not a list server but rather just a mailing list
on my computer. I forwarded announcements on seminars,
classes, jobs, etc. to both graduate students and faculty who were
interested in the topic of farming systems. This has proven to be
very popular and useful and as of 2010 is still in full operation with
many professionals on the list now scattered throughout the world.
As a reflection of the interest by graduate students in
farming systems, my graduate student load swelled to 46 in 1996
and a new major (Political Science) was among them. Of these, 19
graduated during the year.
In Spring semester, Marianne Schmink and I set up a
seminar-type "non-course" on gender analysis and had about 15
students involved. The non-course generated a great deal of
interest among students, both those involved and others who were
not in it. In Fall semester, I agreed to continue the idea, but with a
theme based on food security, that had come up repeatedly during
the previous semester. Again, there were about 15 students
involved, not all the same from the previous course. From this
non-course we generated a number of papers around the theme of
food security among small holders based on the research
experience of the students (and some faculty) who were
participating. Many of these were using linear programming
analysis and had taken, or were taking concurrently my economic
analysis class in which I taught linear programming.
We decided we ought to do two things with the papers we
were working on. First, we submitted a proposal to the Southern
Africa Farming Systems Association who were going to host the
1998 global AFSRE symposium. We suggested that we put on a
half or whole day special session on food security. Also, we
thought we should be able to end up with a book on the topic. We
were .seeing a lot of .similarities among a highly diverse set of small
farm livelihood systems. All were extremely diverse and depended
on this diversity for sustainability and food security. The
similarities we saw were that seasonal needs for cash and food
drove the systems and household composition dictated the relative
capabilities to meet them.
In Spring Semester, 1998,1 continued working on the idea
of a food security book with the group of graduate students and
faculty. We met about twice a month to continue discussing ideas
and improving our comprehension of the topic. Around the world,
these smallholder systems are very diverse and there is great
diversity within each system. The most important strategy appears
to be diversity. This is important because it reduces the risk of
depending on a single source in any particular season for food or
cash and it is necessary so that seasonal demands can be met. But
the capability of any household to meet these demands depends to
a large extent on the composition of the household (Sullivan 2000).
For example, in households with only two adults and one to several
small children, it is very hard for the adults to adequately feed the
many mouths while at the same time caring for the children at
home. When children are older, households become relatively
well off with several persons able to work in production activities
or help with household reproduction activities. In particular, if a
person is away from the hearthhold (not living in the household at
the moment) but sending money back to the household, it provides
an opportunity for the household to begin to accumulate wealth
such as more land or oxen, or engage in such activities as soil
conservation that produce longer term gains at the expense of short
term expenses. This also makes it more feasible for a household to
begin exploring and learning to use new technology, a topic we
explored nearly 20 years before in John Wake's thesis.
In May 1998, I attended the 25* anniversary
celebration of ICTA in Guatemala where I had worked in the
1970s. This was a major, three-day celebration with lunches,
banquets, a dance and many talks. I had been invited to give the
keynote address on the first morning following the opening address
by the Minister of Agriculture. Although my title was grandiose,
"The Political and Economic Situation over the Last 25 Years," I
talked mostly about what the impact of ICTA had been on
agricultural research and extension methods in the world since
ICTA was established 25 years before (Hildebrand, 1998).
There was a great difference between the Minister's talk
and mine. His reflected the current development line of
competition, efficiency, comparative advantage, export and
commercialization. It also was in line with ICTA's new direction
of privatizing by 'responding to research needs' of companies or
organizations that could pay for it. The Minister simply wrote off
the 'campesino' population which in 1998 probably numbered
more than the total population of the country in the 1970s when we
were working there. He indicated that the small holders who were
too small to commercialize were not part of his portfolio. Rather
they were a problem for social services or some other Ministry.
This, of course, was similar to my thinking 30 years before when I
started working internationally. The Minister was just going to
ignore half of Guatemala's populationthose who produced at
least half of the food the country consumed.
I argued that ICTA had to continue working for the small
holders to help them increase the production of their basic foods.
The kind of technology they need is very different from that
needed by the commercial producers of export products and there
was no other entity in the country that could or would produce it.
Thinking only in terms of productivity per unit of land as the
Minister had iterated, was not appropriate for the small holder
producing food for the family and a little to sell. Their most scarce
resources often are cash and their own labor particularly in critical
times of the year such as planting and weeding. ICTA 's
methodology had been developed to help this kind of producer.
Most small farmers were not able to attend meetings to organize
themselves to request funds because they were already fully
employed just trying to feed their families.
On a trip to Monterrey Tech in Monterrey, Mexico, I
traveled with Jim Jones of the UF Agricultural and Biological
Engineering Department. One result of the trip was my agreement
to work with him on a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) research project he had with the
University of Miami and Florida State. They were modeling the
'ENSO' phenomenon known as El Nino and La Nina and also
modeling the effect on crops from these climatic deviations. Jim
was working on the possibility of making recommendations to
farmers on how to change their cropping practices when these
variations are forecasted. NOAA decided they should get the
farmers involved by 1) finding out what they thought, and 2) trying
out some of the recommendations in on-farm trials. He agreed to
fund an assistantship. I agreed to have my farming systems class
use this topic for the class Sondeo exercise in the farming systems
course in Spring semester. As a result of the class Sondeo, I
agreed to field a team of students in the two-week break between
summer and fall semesters (August 8-21). Eight students were
involved (from anthropology, agronomy, agricultural extension,
natural resource management, forestry, geography and community
development), all having taken the farming systems course before.
The field conversations with Extension personnel state wide were
conducted between August 9 and 18. The report was very well
received by the consortium of universities working on the NOAA
project (Hale et al. 1999) and because of it, more work of a similar
nature was included in the following proposal submitted to NOAA
During a family vacation in 2000, I was finishing the A.
Scott Berg biography of Charles A. Lindbergh. Following the end
of World War II, Lindbergh was becoming concerned about the
misuse of the power of science and technology. Airplanes, with
which he had been a leading figure and contributor for many years,
not only had the advantage of bringing people closer together, but
also allowed a much more rapid and widespread destruction in
war. He was particularly alarmed when he viewed the destruction
of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With the advent
of rockets, the dangers were even more significant. He was
concerned that, "in worshiping science man gains power but loses
the quality of life" (p. 484). Later, Lindbergh wrote an essay
"aimed at breaking that grip of a scientific materialism whose
values and standards 'will lead to the end of our civilization.'" (p.
484). This man, who had devoted his life to science and
technology, began to believe that "an overemphasis on science
weakens human character and upsets life's essential balance" (p.
Reading these thoughts made me reflect on some of the
frustrations I have had over the years regarding the 'worship' of
science by many of the scientists I have worked with. How often
when referring to Sondeos or on-farm research have I heard the
phrase "but it has to be good science" meaning that if it is not
statistically significant, it has no value? Dependence on this credo
leads to the highly controlled experiments that have little value on
farmers' fields. It also leads to the use of scientists' criteria to
judge the value of a technology rather than the criteria of the users
or farmers. "If it leads to a statistically significant increase in
yield, it is a ^ooJ technology" to some of these scientists,
regardless of whether or not farmers are able to use the technology
or whether the technology is sustainable. The fact that farmers
cannot use this 'good technology' is not the fault of these scientists
in their minds, but of others (Extension personnel, infrastructure
developers, policy makers, etc.) who are not providing the farmers
with the conditions needed to benefit from the yield increasing
By concentrating international (as well as national)
research resources on "broadly adoptable" technologies that
depend on modifying the environment to satisfy the requirements
of the technologies, rather than modifying technologies to meet the
diverse contingencies and constraints of the biophysical and
socioeconomic environments of small holders, the process is
similar. Arguing that little response can be achieved under the
difficult conditions of small holders (as was originally done by
ICTA in Guatemala) or that "good technology" is a technology that
increases yields whether or not it can be used by the multitude of
small holders (as had been done almost universally by researchers
and research organizations) is also tantamount to a distribution of
wealth upward, making the poor relatively poorer. We must learn
to work with the great diversity under which small holders struggle
and upon which they depend for the livelihoods.
In 2001 we were able to get farming systems as an
official concentration in the new College of Natural Resources and
Environment graduate curriculum. This was a milestone for two
reasons. First, it already existed in Ag Education and
Communication at the Master's level, but the department had not
incorporated it in their new PhD program. Secondly, all other
concentrations in the CNRE were based on departments. For
example, there was a Food and Resource Economics concentration
and an Anthropology concentration. Because the CNRE degrees
(both M.S. and PhD) were already multidisciplinary, this was a
natural. It also usually occurred because of the departmental
affiliation of the graduate student's major professor. So it was a
milestone to get the farming systems concentration approved.
In 2002 after several months of not traveling, only partially
related to September 11, all of a sudden it started again. My first
trip, in February, was to Ohio State University to participate in a
"Workshop on No-till Farming in South Asia's Rice-Wheat
System: Experiences from the Rice-Wheat Consortium and the
USA." I was invited to present a paper because of my interests in
small farms and not, obviously, because of my knowledge of what
the Rice-Wheat Consortium was doing in South Asia. After
reading the material sent to me I called my paper (and PowerPoint
presentation) "Technology for Small Farms: The Challenge of
Diversity." Two things stood out in my mind. One was that the
no-till aspects essentially required power that small farms normally
did not have (although I understand that animal traction is
increasing even in Bangladesh). But the no-till aspects largely
required mechanized power. Secondly, there was the tendency to
try to homogenize or de-diversify the farming systems they were
working with. This, of course, was particularly true in the U.S.
systems, mostly in Arkansas and Louisiana (Hildebrand, 2001;
The following week I participated in the 1^* Henry
A. Wallace Inter-American Scientific Conference on Globalization
of Agricultural Research, in CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica, giving
a keynote address. I titled my paper "Global Research Challenges:
Including Small Holders in Rural Development." I stressed that
the number of people living in rural areas in many countries of the
world was still increasing at the turn of the century even though the
percent of the total population of those countries living in rural
areas was declining. People had been lured to sleep by the
percentage figures and had not considered that the total number of
small farmers was still increasing. Thus, I considered that the
global research challenge was including the small holders in rural
development. Interestingly, Norman Borlaug was also an invited
speaker at these last two events.
In 2003 I received a nice surprise and honor early in
the year. The InterAmerican Institute for Cooperation in
Agriculture, IICA, headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, was
celebrating its 60* anniversary. As part of the celebration in
Washington, D.C. they selected 60 Americans (from the U.S.) who
"have made outstanding U.S. contributions to agriculture." I was
one of those chosen. Also honored were such well-known people
as Henry Wallace, Norman Borlaug and George Washington
Carver. I was asked to make the acceptance speech for all the
Making the acceptance speech at the IICA award ceremony.
By the end of 2004, my former students and I had 16
articles that had either been submitted to professional journals or
were in final stages of preparation. Several had already been
rejected by one journal or had been asked for revision. At that
time it was frustratingly difficult for us to publish much of what we
had done. Journals wanted statistical significance or stochastic
estimates from models based on generated or other kinds of
synthetic data, and wanted literature review of the theoretic basis
for the work. Did Newton have a theoretic literature review for the
theory of gravity? Or Einstein for the theory of relativity? Not
that what we were doing was in that class, but when something
was new it was not being accepted. On the other hand, repeating
the same kind of experiment with fertilizer, just changing the crop
or cultivar was always accepted because the experiments were
designed to have statistical significance whether or not the results
had any practical application. The frustration continued!
Modeling smallholder livelihood systems
In 1984,1 agreed to take over responsibility for a Food and
Resource Economics course called Managing Farms in Tropical
Areas. It had been taught as an alternative to the regular farm
management course, using tropical types of farms as examples. It
was still oriented toward commercial farming. I agreed to teach
the course, but to modify it to treat limited resource, family farms.
Part of the course included an introduction to linear programming,
an optimizing procedure long used by farm managers.
In 1995 a visiting senior scientist from the Dairy Research
Institute in India came to UF funded by Wageningen University in
the Netherlands by way of Winrock International to take my
regular farming systems course and to work with me on data
analysis using some of his former research data. As part of the
data analysis he wanted to do linear programming. In working
with him we set up a dairy goat situation as an example, based on
his data. Over the years I have modified that original set of
exercises and continued to use the "goats" in the economic analysis
class and in short courses. Various versions have been coauthored
with some of my graduate students (Hildebrand and Cabrera 2003).
In the course, because of closely working with some
anthropologists, I incorporated gender analysis as well as food
security considerations. I was beginning to concentrate more and
more on linear programming in the course and many students
began using it as the basis for the analysis of their Master's thesis
and PhD dissertation research. I was convinced that with the
increasingly common availability of desk top or even laptop
computers in remote areas, linear programming with spreadsheet
software was becoming very feasible. A few students in the class
were able to use data already collected, but many more used it as a
means to help them determine what data they needed when they
went to the field.
Over the years as a result of working closely with the
anthropologists and my graduate students we developed a
methodology based on linear programming that has helped
anthropologists quantify much of their qualitative data. The same
methodology helps reduce the quantity of data needed and in this
way makes the research process more efficient. This methodology,
which includes the use of "Ethnographic Linear Programming,"
has run into some opposition from many of the FRE professors
with whom I work at UF. Some of them said we should not create
a new term (LP is in the literature, but not ELP). Others
questioned whether it represents "good science." The arguments
were that if it is not already in the literature, and/or it is not
statistically significant, it is not real. In many ways this was the
same argument used against farming systems methodology:
Incorporating the human factor reduces the legitimacy of the
science, making it unacceptable. I recall again the statement I
heard when biological scientists visited the early on-farm trials in
Guatemala on farmers' rocky and steep hillside fields in La
Barranca: "This looks just like something social scientists would
do." That is, incorporating the farmers' real conditions and the
human factor reduced the 'scientific' value of the research in their
minds. Over the years, this feeling has been moderated somewhat,
but it is still evident.
Staking out the first on-farm trial in La Barranca.
Not only is it necessary to account for the human element,
but it is critical to account for socioeconomic as well as
biophysical diversity, especially at the small farm level. During
the last years of the 20* Century, it was becoming clear in our
work with food security, household diversity and sustainable
livelihoods that one of the most important factors leading to failed
programs and projects in the developing world was the failure of
those creating the programs to account for the socio-economic
diversity found in limited-resource, farm-family households and
the impact household composition has on the capabilities of these
families to accept or respond to proposed changes, whether
technology, infrastructure or policies. The tendency to use
averages and measures of statistical significance based on massive
statistical surveys (required because of the diversity in the
population) masked this diversity found not only among villages,
but also among households within seemingly homogeneous
villages. An "average" household inevitably has adolescents as
well as young children and the parents are approaching middle age.
It is a period in the lives of many families when they can begin to
obtain a little wealth, impossible in newer families when all
children are younger requiring the near full-time attention of the
mother and who are not yet able to help much with production.
This prevents the mother from helping in the food production
activities in the fields so the male is overly burdened just providing
for a young family."* Adolescent females can relieve the mother of
some of these household burdens freeing her to work in the fields
while adolescent males can help the father in the fields, forests and
bush. Young unmarried men and women in the family also can
earn cash from off-farm activities that make significant
contributions to the well being of the family. Probably only 40-
60% of the families in any village have the capabilities of the
"average "family. This means that the other 40-60% of the
families will not be able to take advantage of a project whose
changes are based on the capabilities of the average village family.
Because they cannot, they are made relatively worse off than
before. Often "successful" project evaluations are based on what
one or a few of the families with more household resources were
able to do to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the
One of the problems in working with all the diversity that
exists is that it is difficult to generalize from it. Averages give the
impression of generalizing, but simply mask diversity. Diversity
can be incorporated in the methodological process by using ELP to
model a number of differ types of household composition based on
a single base model that refiects the commonalities that exist in a
community or livelihood system. For instance, people who farm
by hand all use essentially the same kinds of practices in their
fields. Those who use animal traction do the same. It is not
necessary to model each individual household. Types of
households can be modeled, or a sample of real households can be
modeled using the same base model (see Cabrera et al, 2005).
Working with a large number of graduate students has
helped us to comprehend much better these sources of the diversity
that exist among small farms around the world. There is the
obvious diversity across regions and among communities within
regions. But often ignored in the past is the diversity among
households even within seemingly homogeneous communities.
This results from the differences in soil quality, access to
irrigation, and nearness to transportation, etc., but perhaps more
importantly results from the diversities in household composition
even when those other factors are similar. Many students have
"* It is recognized that in some ethnic groups or when a household is female
headed that females may well do most of the production labor.
now used Ethnographic Linear Programming (Hildebrand et al.
2003) to model the livelihood systems^ available to the
smallholders in these communities and the various sets of
livelihood strategies^ of the diverse households within the
communities. These models, particularly combined with
Adaptability Analysis of on-farm trials, help us understand the
diverse responses of individual smallholder households to policies,
infrastructure and technologies and are effective in predicting
which households can and which cannot benefit from proposed
alternatives with an ex ante evaluation (Hildebrand, 2010).
In some minds, mathematically modeling these livelihood
systems may seem like it has left smallholder advocacy behind.
This is not the case. We have found that the process of trying to
simulate what a smallholder household does (what livelihood
strategies the members select from among the activities available
in the livelihood system) helps us to understand the sources of
diversity resulting from the constraints imposed on the different
kinds of households. Besides amount and kind of land available,
access or not to irrigation water and availability of infrastructure,
these constraints include seasonal household food security,
necessary seasonal household cash needs, and the amount and
kinds of labor available for production and reproduction activities.
The last three constraints depend on household composition. By
adequately simulating diverse households, we are able to make ex
ante predictions of diverse responses to potential changes in the
livelihood system (Figure 1). This allows us to understand the
differential response of different smallholder households to
changes that get masked when basing analyses on averages taken
from statistical surveys.
Note: Theses, dissertations, articles and papers using ELP through
2010 can be seen at the link to my digital collection:
^ A livelihood system includes all the various activities reasonably available to
smallholders from which to choose to earn their livelihood.
*' Livelihood strategies are those activities from among the livelihood system
that an individual household chooses.
/ Conclusions \ / \ ^^^a rti ci patoryN,
' and \ /DiverseX /data gathering:
recommendations ^~ >j4iouseholds\-^ ..^j Sondeos,
ytor different kinds / \ of households / / in a specific \ / Livelihood V \focus groups
/ System T Vi^
ELP model with ] V^ELP^
/ Testing \ I diverse j / Modeling the \
/ hypotheses \ X households J^ / Livelihood System:
1 or potential H Y changes / \ with ELP / r^^-----^^*^ M Simulation,
\ Calibration, /
Based on Bastidas 2001
Figure 1. Using ethnographic methods to understand and model
smallholder livelihood systems and diverse household livelihood
Amerling, C, G. Clough, J. Dean, B. Dehm, E.G. French, P.E.
Hildebrand, D. Schmidt, and M. Swisher. 1981. Sondeo report. North
Florida farming systems research and extension program. Suwannee and
Columbia counties. University of Florida, Gainesville.
Andrew, CO. 1987. A sketch of the evolution of FSSP. Farming systems Research
Symposium, University of Arkansas, Fayeteville, Arkansas.
Barham, J.; Y. Gichon, S Humphries, F. Rossi, D. Alvira, A. Rios, P. Hildebrand,
V. Cabrera and N. Breuer. 2004. Assessment of the Format, Content and Potential
Uses of the AgClimate Website and Crop Yield Risk Assessment Tool by
Extension Agents in North Florida. Southeas Climate Consortium Technical
Report Series SECC-04-001. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00000216/00001
Bastidas, E.P. 2001. Assessing potential response to changes in the livelihood
system of diverse, limited research farm households in Carchi, Ecuador: modeling
livelihood strategies using participatory methods and linear programming. PhD
dissertation, University of Florida.
Busto Brol, B., O.A. Calderon and P.E. Hildebrand. 1977. Registros economicos de
produccion en maiz con agricultores colaboradores parcelamiento La Maquina.
Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologias Agricolas (ICTA), Guatemala.
Cabrera, V.E., P.E. Hildebrand and J.W. Jones. 2005. Modeling the
effect of household composition on the welfare of limited-resource
farmers in Caiiete, Peru. Ag Syst 86:207-222.
Chinchilla, M.E. 1979. Condiciones agro-socioeconomicas de una zona
maicera-horticola de Guatemala. XXV Reunion Anual del PCCMCA,
Tegucigalpa, Honduras. http://ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/ufD0072171
Chinchilla, M.E. and P.E. Hildebrand.
1979a. Evaluacion de la aceptabilidad de la tecnologia generada
por el ICTA para los cultivos de maiz y ajonjoli en el
parcelamiento La Maquina, 1977-1978. Instituto de Ciencia y
Tecnologias Agricolas (ICTA), Guatemala.
1979b. Evaluacion de la aceptabilidad de la tecnologia generada para el
cultivo de maiz en Quezaltenango. Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologias
Agricolas (ICTA), Guatemala. http://ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/UF00081576/00001
Coulter, John K.; P.E. Hildebrand; M.A. Islam; F.R. Moormann; M.D. Thome and
C. Valverde. 1979. Report of the first meeting of the Extenal Panel of the Soil
Management CRSP Planning Process. North Carolina State University.
Dehm, B.A. 1984. Constraints to technology adoption on small farms in north
Florida. M.S. thesis, Food and Resource Economics, University of Florida.
Francis, C.A. and P.E. Hildebrand. 1989. Farming systems research and exstension
(FSRE) in support of sustainable agriculture. Farming systems research-extension
newsletter 2:4-5. University of Florida. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080876/00001/lJ
FSSP. 1981, 1985, 1986, 1987. BibHography of readings in farming systems.
University of Florida. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053818?td=FSSP
FSSP. 1988. Training, networking and technical assistance. The product and
process of the Farming System Support Project 1982-1987. A final report of the
Farming Systems Support Project. FSSP, University of Florida.
Gallo, A.C. and P.E. Hildebrand. 1971. Analisis economico de la ceba de novillos
en pastoreo rotacional. Informe No. 5. Departamento de Economia Agricola.
Regional No. 5, Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario, Palmira, Colombia.
Gallo, A.C, P.E. Hildebrand and A. Warren. 1971. El cuidado de patos khaki
Campbell para huevos. HojainformativaNo.8. Departamento de Economia
Agricola. Regional No. 5. Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario, Palmira, Colombia.
Gladwin, CH. 1981. The role of a cognitive anthropologist in a farming systems
program that has everything. IRRI Los Baiios, Philippines.
Godinez, L. and M.E. Chinchilla. 1978. Registros economicos de produccion.
Totonicapan, Region I. Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologias Agricolas (ICTA),
Gray III, CC; M. Blase; L.H. Camacho; A.M. Pinchinat; A.H. Bunting; P. E.
Hildebrand and CE. Roderuck. 1986. Report of the External Evaluation Panel,
Bean/Cowpea CRSP Five-year Review. Michigan State University.
Hale, J. B. Heberling, E. Jovicich, A. Mugisha, L. Ortega, C Pomeroy, D. Sano, A.
Snyder, S. Stone, G.B. Maiah, P.Hildebrand and A.Caudle. 1999. Farmers' use of
weather and climate forecasts and effects on farmers of changes in climate. Staff
Paper SP 04-3, Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida.
1976. Multiple cropping systems are dollars and "sense" agronomy.
Chapter 18. \IN\ American Society of Agronomy. ASA Special
Publication No. 27. Madison, Wisconsin, pp 347-371.
1979a. Incorporating the social sciences into agricultural research: the
formation of a national farm systems research institute. Report of a five
year tour of duty. ICTA, Guatemala and the Rockefeller Foundation, New
1979b. The ICTA farm record project with small farmersfour years of
experience. ICTA, Guatemala.
1979c. Ensayo de sistemas de cultivos en ladera para pequeiios y medianos
agricultores. La Barranca, Jutiapa Region VI. Instituto de Ciencia y
Tecnologias Agricolas (ICTA), Guatemala.
1981a. Combining disciplines in rapid appraisal: the sondeo approach.
Agricultural Administration, Vol 8, No. 6, pp 423-432.
1981b. Toward an agrosocioeconomic methodology. Invited paper
presented at the didactic seminar on "the role of sociologists in the field
among other professions" at the 76th annual meeting of the American
Sociological Association. Toronto, Canada.
1986. Perspectives in Farming Systems Research and Extension. Lynne
Rienner PubHshers, Inc. Boulder. http://ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/UF00072280
1990a. Agronomy's role in sustainable agriculture: integrated farming
systems. Journal of Production Agriculture. 3:285-288.
1990b. Farming systems research-extension. Chapter 6, In: Jones/Street.
Systems theory applied to agriculture and the food chain. Elsevier Science
PubHshers, Ltd. England, United Kingdom, pp 131-143.
1990c. Modified stability analysis and on-farm research to breed specific
adaptability for ecological diversity, p. 169-180. In Manjit S. Kang (ed.)
Genotype-by-environment interaction and plant breeding. Louisana State
University, Baton Rough, LA.
1998. The economic and political impact of ICTA. Keynote address at the
25"" anniversary celebration of ICTA in Guatemala.
2001. Technology for small farms. (PowerPoint presentation).
2004. Technology for small farms: the challenge of diversity. Chap. 26
In: Lai, R., P. R. Hobbs,N. Uphoff and D.O. Hansen (Eds.) Sustainable
agriculture and the international rice-wheat system. Marcel Dekker, Inc.
2010. An efficient interdisciplinary methodology for designing and testing
technology, infrastructure and policy to benefit poor and diverse
smallholders in variable conditions in developing countries.
Hildebrand, P.E.; R. Harris and G.H. Clough. 1981. Trip report. Farming Systems
Research and Extension (FSR/E) team. Lisbon, Portugal.
Hildebrand, P.E., N.E. Breuer, V.E. Cabrera and A.J. Sullivan. 2003. Modeling
diverse livelihood strategies in rural livelihood systems using ethnographic linear
programming. Food and Resource Economics Staff Paper 03-5. University of
Hildebrand, P.E. and V.E. Cabrera. 2003. Modeling and analyzing small farm
livelihood systems with linear programming: exercises. AEB 5167, Food and
Resource Ecnomics, Universitiy of Florida.
Hildebrand, P.E. and D. Cardona. 1977. Sistemas de cultivos de ladera para
pequeiios y medianos agricultores. La Barranca, Jutiapa, 1976. Instituto de Ciencia
y Tecnologias Agricolas (ICTA), Guatemala.
Hildebrand, P.E. and E.C French. 1974. Un sistema salvadoreiio de multicultivos.
Departamento de Economia Agricola. Centro Nacional de Tecnologia
Agropecuaria (CENTA). Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia. San Salvador, El
Hildebrand, P.E. and E.G. Luna. 1974. Unforeseen consequences of introducing
new technologies in traditional agriculture. The future of agriculture: technology,
policies and adjustment. XV international conference of agricultural economists.
Oxford Agricultural Economics Institute. Oxford, pp 508-509.
Hildebrand, P.E. and F. Poey. 1985. On-farm agronomic trials in farming systems
research/extension. Lynne Rienner PubHshers, Inc. Boulder, CO.
Hildebrand, P.E., S. Ruano, T. Lopez, E. Samayoa and R. Duarte. 1977. Sistemas
de cultivos para los agricultores tradicionales del Occidente de Chimaltenago.
Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologias Agricolas (ICTA), Guatemala.
Hildebrand, P.E. and S. Ruano. Integrated multidisciplinary technology generation
for small, traditional farmers of Guatemala. Presented at the annual meeting of the
Society for Applied Anthropology. Merida, Mexico. April 2-9. ICTA, Guatemala.
Hildebrand, P.E., B.K. Singh, B.C. Bellows, E.P. CampbeH and B.A. Jama. 1993.
Farming systems research for agroforestry extension. Agroforestry Systems
Hildebrand, P.E. and J.T. Russell. 1996. Adaptability analysis: A method for the
design, analysis and interpretation of on-farm research-extension. Iowa State
University Press, Ames. http://ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/UF00072042/00001/lJ
JFSRE Available at:
McDermott, J.K. and D. Bathrick. 1981. Guatemala: development of the Institute
of Agricultural Science and Technology (ICTA) and its impact on agricultural
research and farm productivity. USAID, Washington, D.C.
McDowell, R.E. and P.E. Hildebrand. 1980. Integrated crop and animal production:
making the most of resources available to small farms in developing countries. A
Bellagio Conference. The Rockefeller Foundation. New York.
http://ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/UF00054669/00001 (Spanish version.)
National Research Council. 1989. Alternative agriculture. Committee on the role
of alternative farming methods in modern production agriculture. National
Academy Press. Washington, D.C.
Ortiz, L., P.E. Hildebrand and L.M. Pando. 1977. Registros economicos de
produccion en: maiz-frijol-sorgo; maiz-sorgo; maiz-frijol; y maiz solo en ladera.
Area piloto ICTA, region VI. Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnologias Agricolas
(ICTA), Guatemala. http://ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/UF00071845
Poats, Susan, D. Gait, CO. Andrew, L.Walecka, P.E. Hildebrand and J.K.
McDermott. 1986. Farming systems research and extension: status and potential in
low-resource agriculture. Report submitted to the Office of Technology
Assessment, Congress of the United States. Farming Systems Support Project,
University of Florida, Gainesville. http://ufdc.uflib.ufl.edu/UF00056190/00001
Poats, S.V., M. Schmink and A. Spring. 1988. Gender issues in farming systems
research and extension. Westview Press, Boulder.
Schmidt, D.L. 1984. Synthesis of the North Florida farming systems project.
University of Florida 1981-1984. University of Florida.
Shaner W.W., P.F. Philipp and W.R. Schmehl. 1980. Farming systems research
and development: guidelines for developing countries. Westview Press, Boulder.
Stroup, W.W., P.E. Hildebrand and C.A. Francis. 1993. Farmer participation for
more effective research in sustainable agriculture. Chapter 12 In: Ragland, J. and
R. Lai. Technologies for sustainable agriculture in the tropics. American Society
of Agronomy, ASA Special PubHcation No. 56. Madison.
Sullivan, A.J. 2000. Decoding diversity: strategies to mitigate household stress.
M.S. thesis. Agricultural Education and Communication, University of Florida.
Swisher, M.B. and E.C. French. 1985. Perennial peanut: a high quality, low cost
forage. University of Florida, Gainesville.
van Haeften, R., R.K.Waugh, J.K.McDermott, and D.D. Harpstead. 1983. Report
of the team for the evaluation of the North Florida farming systems research and
extension project. University of Florida, Gainesville.
Wake, J.L., C.F. Kiker and P.E. Hildebrand. 1988. Systematic learning of
agricultural technologies. Agricultural Systems 27:179-193.
Wotowiec, Jr., P.; S.V. Poats, and P.E. Hildebrand. 1988. Research,
recommendation and diffusion domains: a farming systems approach to targeting.
Chapter 6 In: Poats, S.V., M. Schmink and A. Spring. Gender issues in farming
systems research and extension. Westview Press, Boulder.