Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Future harvest - teaching...
 A teacher's guide to cropping system...
 A guide to nitrogen optimizati...
 Preventative weed management
 Integrated soil fertility...
 The economics of sustainable...
 A guide for lease structures and...
 The green revolution simulatio...
 The use of decision cases in agricultural...
 Teaching with cases
 Sustainable systems for the future:...
 Integration of environmental and...
 Agricultural producers and environmentalists:...
 Designing the future farmscape
 Sustainable agriculture: Designing...
 Biodiversity in sustainable agricultural...
 Designing the future
 A group discussion on sustainability...
 A discussion on learning and...

Title: Extension and education materials for sustainable agriculture
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071923/00001
 Material Information
Title: Extension and education materials for sustainable agriculture a project of the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education and Agriculture in Concert with the Environment
Physical Description: 2 v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: King, James W
Francis, Charles A
University of Nebraska--Lincoln -- Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems
Agriculture in Concert with the Environment (Program)
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
Publisher: Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Place of Publication: Lincoln NE
Publication Date: 1994
Subject: Sustainable agriculture -- Study and teaching   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: James W. King and Charles A. Francis, editors.
General Note: "January 1994."
General Note: "This material was prepared with the support of USDA Agreement no. 92-COOP-1-7266."
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00071923
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 31201852

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
        Introduction 1
        Introduction 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    Future harvest - teaching manual
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    A teacher's guide to cropping system design
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    A guide to nitrogen optimization
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Preventative weed management
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Integrated soil fertility management
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    The economics of sustainable agriculture
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
    A guide for lease structures and landlord/tenant agreements for converting to more sustainable agriculture
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
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        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    The green revolution simulation
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
    The use of decision cases in agricultural education and research
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
    Teaching with cases
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
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        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
    Sustainable systems for the future: The Nebraska program
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
    Integration of environmental and sustainable development in extension: Case study from Nebraska, USA
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
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        Page 178
    Agricultural producers and environmentalists: What are common goals?
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
    Designing the future farmscape
        Page 189
        Page 190
    Sustainable agriculture: Designing future systems
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
    Biodiversity in sustainable agricultural systems: How past experiences shape our vision of the future
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
    Designing the future
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
    A group discussion on sustainability of agriculture and rural communities
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
    A discussion on learning and teaching
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
Full Text


/. '0




Volume 1

A Project of the North Central Region
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education and
Agriculture in Concert with the Environment

This material was prepared with the support of USDA Agreement no. 92-COOP-1-7266.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendation expressed herein are those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or
the University of Nebraska.




Volume 1

A Project of the North Central Region
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education and
Agriculture in Concert with the Environment

James W. King and Charles A. Francis

University of Nebraska Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska

For copies of this publication, send a check for ten dollars made to the
University of Nebraska to cover handling and shipping to:
Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems
University of Nebraksa Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68583-0940
January 1994
This material was prepared with the support of USDA Agreement no. 92-COOP-1-7266.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendation expressed herein are those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or
the University of Nebraska.


To design the future and to build newness in education, we need to look for emerging principles, not
the specifics and details. We think this collection of education materials and ideas for sustainable
agriculture shows and contains those emerging principles.

This collection is eclectic economics, values, leases, production -- for teachers, producers, extension
workers. But they must be that way. We must try to discover the generalities of the new educational
thrusts that are sustainable agriculture. From this newness, we will see what emerges.

For this project, this eclectic emergence has resulted in this set of materials.

We hope these materials will help set some conditions for people, faculty, administrators, publics, and
students to learn from their experiences. These educational encounters will cultivate the shaping and
building of new learning environments.

Educators in both formal and informal settings now have the opportunity to mold the conditions to
fashion our future. These conditions, the newness, will determine the structure of the future. We
believe that these materials can aid in those efforts.

The future is unknown, by definition. We will have to make decisions in contexts that are not well
defined. There is no equilibrium; it is a constant state of flux. We have to design educational
processes that seek to comprehend as much as possible, knowing it cannot be all, and is able to explain
with as much depth and feeling as possible, knowing it cannot be complete.

Building newness will rest upon new visions, requiring new processes.

These materials were assembled and developed by the authors listed with each section. But many
people contributed. We want to thank all our producer cooperators:

Jim Bender Sarah Dean Ron Ellermeier
Fred Kirschenmann Tom Larson Ron Rosmann

Stimulating, fun, challenging, and hard, serious colleagues....thank you! You are true change
agents for the future.

To our land-grant colleagues in the extension and teaching side, we want to thank you also for making
a major contribution to sustainable agriculture. You stimulated us! Thanks go to:

John Gardner Don Bullock Richard Cruse
Kent Crookston Jerry DeWitt Jerry Doll
Clive Edwards John Ikerd Rich Pirog
Ricardo Salvador Don Wyse

To our SCS colleague, Linda Oyer, thank you for all your insights and observations.

To our colleague at the National Agricultural Library, Jane Gates, for keeping us in touch with
information, thank you.

To our SARE program colleague, Jayne MacLean, we thank you for your sensitivity to key issues in
sustainable systems.

To our co-workers, Pam Murray and Michele Strickler with the University of Nebraska Center for
Sustainable Agricultural Systems, we owe a great debt of gratitude. Pam was an integral member of
the planning group, the thinking group, the doing group, and the keep-us moving group. Michele
backstopped everything and everyone. Thanks.

It has been a pleasure to work with you all. Thanks again.

Chuck Francis
University of Nebraska
220 Keim Hall
Lincoln, NE 68583-0910

FAX: 402-472-7904
e-mail: csas002@unlvm.unl.edu

Jim King
University of Nebraska
104 ACB
Lincoln, NE 68583-0918

FAX: 402-472-3093
e-mail: agcm009@unlvm.unl.edu

Table of Contents
Volume 1

Extension and Education Materials for Sustainable Agriculture

Future Harvest Teaching Manual ................................ 1

A Teacher's Guide to Cropping System Design ................... .... 17

A Guide to Nitrogen Optimization ............................... 33

Preventative Weed Management ................................ 37

Integrated Soil Fertility Management ............................. 47

The Economics of Sustainable Agriculture .................. ........ 59

A Guide for Lease Structures and Landlord/Tenant Agreements for
Converting to More Sustainable Agriculture ....................... 71

The Green Revolution Simulation ............................... 103

The Use of Decision Cases in Agricultural Education & Research ............ 113

Teaching with Cases ....................................... 119

Sustainable Systems for the Future: The Nebraska Program ............... 137

Integration of Environmental & Sustainable Development in Extension:
Case Study from Nebraska, USA ............................. 149

Agricultural Producers and Environmentalists: What are Common Goals? ....... 179

Designing the Future Farmscape ................................ 189

Sustainable Agriculture: Designing Future Systems ................... 191

Biodiversity in Sustainable Agricultural Systems: How Past Experiences
Shape our Vision of the Future ............................... 195

Designing the Future

....................................... 199

A Group Discussion on Sustainability of Agriculture and Rural Communities

A Discussion on Learning and Teaching ......................

..... 203

..... 209



Developed by:
Jim Bender



Teachers at any level; agricultural professionals

To explore in depth the ideas put forth in the
book Future Harvest Pesticide-Free Farming
by Jim Bender (University of Nebraska Press,
P.O. Box 880520, Lincoln, NE 68588-0520.
[$23.50-includes shipping and handling])

This material was prepared with the support ofUSDA Agreement No. 92-COOP-1-7266. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or
recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture or the Univesity of Nebraska.



Chapter Summary The first section pertains to changes in the structure of agriculture and
misconceptions about alternative agriculture which make change from conventional
agriculture more difficult. The second section provides a preliminary rationale for
adopting the goal of pesticide elimination as opposed to pesticide reduction.

Teaching Objectives Students will appreciate the myriad extra-agronomic obstacles to
change in agriculture: structural, attitudinal based, political, policy, etc. Another
objective is to encourage a more critical approach to the currently popular goal of
"reduced" pesticide use.


1. The author mentions in both the preface and Chapter One that a starting point for
thinking about agriculture was to suppose that the main objection to alternative
agriculture is the belief that it will not work. Why did that supposition prove to
be inadequate to the situation?

2. Are you satisfied with the author's characterization of conventional agriculture?

3. Describe how several of the trends or changes in the structure of agriculture make
change from conventional agriculture more difficult. Is one more important than
others? Why? Can you think of other problematical trends, such as the
infrastructure of irrigation?

4. The author uses the term "dependency" to describe the relationship between
conventional farmers and pesticides. What is meant by that? Is it an accurate or
useful description? (think of the impact of the trends discussed in the chapter as
you formulate your answer)

5. What are some problems with the assertion that alternative farming -- especially
organic -- is simply turning back the agricultural clock, that is, reverting to an
earlier, more primitive, era in farming?

6. In summarizing obstacles to change the author refers to them as "working
together". What could that mean? (think, for example, of a relationship between
a paucity of research on organic methods and the perception that organic farming
is especially difficult)

7. In outlining the recent politicization of the discussion on this subject, the author
uses the terms "fanaticism," and "conceptual squeeze." What do they refer to?
What, for that matter, does it mean for discussion to become politicized?

8. Do you share the author's worry that the term "sustainable" has either lost its
usefulness or is often being used mischievously?

9. In beginning to outline reasons for pesticide-free farming the author chose just
ground water contamination from many environmental issues. Why?

10. What are two problems with the reduction goal, i.e. the strategy of continuing to
use pesticides, but at a reduced quantity?

11. What development in recent pesticide trends allows farmers to convince
themselves that they are indeed reducing pesticide usage? What is the problem
with this view?

Special Project

Invite a no-till or a weed specialist from the ag faculty to make a presentation to the class
regarding whether their work in any way entails anything pertaining to reduced pesticide
usage. He/she should be expected to be rather specific.

Further Reading

Francis, Charles A., Cornelia B. Flora, and Larry D. King, eds, 1990. Sustainable
agriculture in temperate zones, New York: John Wiley and Sons, chapter 13.

Unites States Department of Agriculture, 1981, A Time to Choose: Summary Report
on the Structure of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.


Chapter Summary A method of conversion from conventional to pesticide-free farming
is described from the perspectives of agronomics, the federal farm program, non-
operating farm owners, lenders and managers, and beginning farmers.

Teaching Objectives Students will learn that key unifying issues are the complexity and
importance of extended preparation for conversion to pesticide-free farming.


1. What is an example of a serious problem likely to be associated with attempting
to farm without pesticides all at once?

2. Why does the author place so much importance upon soil conservation in general,
and terraces in particular? What special problems could a farmer face who seeks
to convert to pesticide-free farming without utilizing terraces and waterways?

3. The author asserts the indispensability of diversified crop rotation and then
suggests three crops. What do the listed features of these crops suggest about
strategies within crop rotation for meeting objectives of pesticide-free farming?

4. What is the distinction between an experiment without pesticides and the first
field without pesticides? Why should the former, but not the latter, take place
early in the conversion process?

5. Lime is potentially important at early stages of conversion for two reasons. What
are they?

6. What is the relationship between diversified crop rotation and insect control?

7. What is a key problem with the 1985 and 90 farm bills for alternative agriculture?
How big a problem is it?

8. Some farming operations have many participants in management. They can
include an operator, non-operating owner, farm manager, and lender. Discuss
how this situation might complicate conversion to pesticide-free farming.

9. Imagine that you are a non-operating farm owner who has a farm operator who
farms conventionally. What proposal could you develop to induce the operator
to change?

10. What is a central guiding consideration for beginning farmers as they make
decisions about farming practices?

Special Project

With the assistance of your state sustainable ag organization, locate and invite a farmer
in the process of conversion to address the group on the problems he/she is facing.

Further reading

Francis, Charles A., Cornelia B. Flora, and Larry D. King, eds, 1990. Sustainable
Agriculture in Temperate Zones, New York: John Wiley and Sons, chapter 10.

Kirschenmann, Fred, 1988, Switching to a Sustainable System Strategies For Converting
From Conventional/Chemical To Sustainable/Organic Farming Systems, Northern Plains
Sustainable Agriculture Society, Windsor, North Dakota.


Chapter Summary This is a practical and detailed description of weed management
which includes treatment of rotation, tillage, planting, post-planting weed control, and
discussion of individual weeds.

Teaching objectives Students will explore the author's conviction that satisfactory weed
management is built upon many factors that begin with sophisticated crop rotation, and
will develop their own defense of this rationale.


1. Why should a rotation intended to serve the needs of an organic or pesticide-free
system begin with a soil enhancing crop?

2. Why plant late?

3. What is the problem with planting as many acres as fast as possible?

4. Discuss the issues of fast emergence time for the planted crop, the notion of
correct soil moisture, and seeding rate as it pertains to weed control.

5. The author mentions the unifying principle of providing a competitive edge for
the planted crop. Is that helpful in thinking about strategies for non-chemical
weed control?

6. Why should a rotary hoe be as large as possible?

7. What are some considerations in deciding whether to carry out pre- or post-
emergence hoeing?

8. What is an advantage and a disadvantage of a harrow for weed management?

9. Why cultivate early?

10. Why does the author regard bindweed a special problem? Why is it that the
challenge it presents is not limited to pesticide-free farming?

Special Project

Many agricultural universities now have non-chemical weed control plots. Ask the
technician responsible for them at your university to visit with the class. Among other
things, ask him/her to discuss one of the weed control ideas in this chapter.

Further Reading

Francis, Charles A., Cornelia B. Flora, and Larry D. King, eds, 1990. Sustainable
Agriculture in Temperate Zones, New York: John Wiley and Sons, chapter 4.

Gunsolus, Jeffry L. 1990. Mechanical and cultural weed control in corn and soybeans.
American Journal of Alternative Agriculture. 5: 114-19.


Chapter Summary The first part seeks to clarify just how important livestock is to
alternative systems. Part of that is to respond to the often cited claim that alternative
agriculture entails too much livestock. Another subject is a concrete example of how
crop and livestock production can be mutually reinforcing. Finally, there is a description
of a way of reintroducing livestock to prime farmland which avoids several of the
problems commonly associated with doing so.

Teaching Objectives Students will examine all the issues and reflect on whether livestock
is actually as important to alternative agriculture as the author has asserted. Assuming
the author is correct, the many implications for agricultural policy will be discussed.


1. What are some of the ways that livestock are utilized in pesticide-free and organic

2. What is wrong with a common way of thinking about the importance of livestock?
How is the author's hypothetical construct of a generalized organic farm without
livestock supposed to avoid this problem? How does all this relate to the subject
of phosphorus?

3. Livestock are often blamed for soil erosion. The author's view is quite different.
What is the basis for such major disagreement?

4. The generalization test -- roughly, posing the question, "What if everybody did
it?" -- is mentioned. What value does it have in thinking about agricultural

5. What problems do large scale concentrated livestock production systems present
for alternative agriculture?

6. The author attempts to conceive of the minimum number of livestock sufficient
to support an organic system? Why would that be useful? Is it possible to carry
out such a project?

7. In response to criticism of beef cattle from environmentalism, the author again
turns to the subject of livestock in concentration and on farms. How is that
intended to respond to those critics? Does it succeed?

8. How do turnips illustrate the idea of organizing systems to make crop and
livestock production mutually reinforcing?

9. What are some obstacles to returning livestock to prime farmland? Is the
modified dry lot system a satisfactory response? What would be another way of
overcoming these obstacles?

Special Project

Visit a large commercial feedlot or hog confinement facility. Request the opportunity
for the class to ask questions in addition to having a tour.

Further Reading

Coppinger, Raymond, Clemence, Elisabeth, and Coppinger, Timothy, 1992, "The Role
of Livestock in Sustainable Agriculture," The Land Report, No. 43., pp. 21-23.

Granstedt, Artur, 1991. "The potential for Swedish farms to eliminate the use of
artificial fertilizers," American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, Volume 6, Number
3, pp. 122-131.


Chapter Summary This chapter compares organic and conventional systems from the
perspectives of convenience, soil conservation, management and cash inputs, an aspect
of productivity, and work flow.

Teaching Objectives Students will compose their own lists of comparative advantages
of conventional and alternative systems. Students will look in considerable detail at the
soil conservation section, and develop their own conclusions about soil conservation and


1. What are some of the inconveniences of chemical weed control in row crops?
What are some of the advantages of non-chemical weed control in row crops?

2. Sketch the structure of the argument in the soil conservation section. Are there
other structures or practices that could serve as a basis for comparison not
included in the discussion?

3. Defenders of conventional systems might reply to the soil conservation challenge
by invoking no-till. Would that be a satisfactory response?

4. What does the idea of replacing cash inputs with pure management mean?

5. The five examples include one from each season. Can you think of others? Can
you think of an example of the reverse -- where conventional systems replace
cash inputs of organic systems with pure management?

6. From the productivity section, interpret the notions of maximizing the maximum
versus maximizing the minimum. Are there other ways that the concept of
productivity can be misconceived to favor one system or the other?

7. How is the strategy of maximizing the minimum advantageous to society?

8. In the text there is the following statement: "Economic analysis of competing
systems, therefore, must develop formulas for factoring the impact of
experiment." Explain.

9. Although the work flow is typically very different in the two systems, the organic
system has several major disadvantages. Might there be ways to cope with them
not mentioned in the text?

Special Project

Take the class to a paradigmatic conventional farm, of more than 500 acres, limited to
corn and soybeans in rotation, and without livestock.

Further Reading

Cacek, Terry, 1984, "Organic farming: the other conservation farming system", The
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Vol. 39,6, November-December, pp. 357-60.

Duffy, Michael, 1991, "Economic Considerations in Sustainable Agriculture for
Midwestern Farmers", Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education in the Field,
National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 92-108.

Francis, Charles A., Cornelia B. Flora, and Larry D. King, eds, 1990. Sustainable
Agriculture in Temperate Zones, New York: John Wiley and Sons, chapter 9, esp. pp.

Strange, Marty, 1988, Family Farming, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Institute
for Food and Development Policy, San Francisco, chapters 5 and 6.


Chapter Summary This chapter examines four popular arguments against alternative
agriculture: that it will lead to calamity; does not meet the challenge of starving people;
that it is motivated by confusion about risk; and a failure to appreciate how safe
pesticides can be if used correctly.

Teaching Objectives Students will explore and evaluate the extent to which this
discussion has been taken over by public relations efforts by agribusiness, and assess the
impact of this trend for public understanding of the issues.


1. What, specifically, are some of the negative projections for agriculture without
pesticides and conventional fertilizers? What is illegitimate about postulating
abrupt cessation?

2. The author invokes the recent history of agricultural research, federal farm
policy, and tax policy. What do these matters have to do with thinking about a
future agriculture without chemicals?

3. At the outset of examination of the Knutson Study there is a list of five central
questions to guide discussion. Are these appropriate touchstones? Are there
others not listed?

4. Consider the last of the five questions. This tactic is also mentioned in chapter
4. How does it emerge in these two discussion?

5. What is the point of the brief discussion of oats? What is the problem with the
Knutson Study projecting an increase in corn acreage in reduced chemical

6. What is the preliminary argument in the label directions discussion? What is the
relevance of the example of parathion?

7. At the beginning of the long argument the author sets forth his sense of the logic
of the subject. Describe and comment.

8. What does chemical synergy have to do with the long argument?

9. If a given pesticide is registered because benefits are deemed to outweigh
acknowledged risks, on what basis do you suppose label directions to describe
proper use are derived?

10. The three label direction arguments were intended to stand independently of each
other. Do they?

11. In the introduction to the label directions section there is the following passage:
"For the considerations to follow should have force even if confronted with the
most casual sense of safety or acceptable risk." Discuss.

12. Which of the three replies to the feed the hungry argument is most useful? Are
there other problems with the argument?

13. Comment on the following quotation from Our Common Future: "...countries
that are subsidizing food exports are increasing unemployment in food-importing

14. The "world is filled with risks" argument seeks to "correct" ordinary attitudes
about risk. What, from this perspective, is the problem with ordinary attitudes?

15. Industry sponsored analyses of risk assessment tend to stress magnitude. The
considerations of risk in the book suggest that there are other important
dimensions to risk assessment. Discuss these perspectives.

16. In discussing whether risks and benefits are well understood the author describes
a logical problem. What is it?

17. What is the threshold of risk doctrine? Describe one of the problems with it.

Special Projects

To more fully appreciate propagandistic trends in this discussion, have students send for
the Food Watch curriculum packet for middle school students. Food Watch is an
industry sponsored group which seeks to change attitudes about agriculture. It is called
the Abundant Food and Fiber curriculum. The address is:

Agri-Education, Inc.
801 Shakespeare
P.O. Box 497
Stratford, Iowa 50249
(515) 838-2785

Have students videotape several pesticide ads. Study them in class. Examine the
purposes of the mood, music, theme, and images. Discuss why they so often include

Further Reading

Shrader-Frechette, S. K., 1985, Risk Analysis and Scientific Method, D. Reidel
Publishing Company, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, chapters 1, 2, 5, 7.

National Research Council, 1989, Alternative Agriculture, National Academy Press,
Washington, D.C. pp. 3-25, 196-208.

General Accounting Office, 1986, Pesticides: EPA's Formidable Task to Assess and
Regulate Their Risks, GAO/RCED-86-125, Washington, D.C.

The World Bank, 1986, Poverty and Hunger: Issues and Options for Food Security in
Developing Countries, Washington, D.C.

Knutson, Ronald D., Taylor, Robert C., Penson, John B., and Smith, Edward G., 1990,
Economic Impacts of Reduced Chemical Use, Knutson and Associates, College Station,


Summary The epilogue calls into question a tendency in discussion about alternative
agriculture and makes a plea for intellectual honesty on the subject. The profile is
simply a description of the Bender farm.

Teaching Objectives The epilogue will induce students to reflect upon why this subject
includes so much acrimony. Students will want to look at the profile to obtain a sense
of accomplishments, problems, and to what extend the farm is a basis for extrapolation
to agriculture.


1. The epilogue contains three harsh judgments about alternative agriculture from
the academy. How do you react?

2. Consider the question of the outcome of organic cropping practices. It is hard to
imagine a more straightforward empirical question, susceptible to scientific study.
Why has so much acrimony, defensiveness, and accusation been substituted for
getting on with this inquiry?

3. Proponents of alternative agriculture endorse whole system studies. There are
many critics of system studies, calling them anecdotal. They sometimes assert
that in system studies it is not possible to sort out what is causing what. Is
resolving this stalemate necessary to progress in scientific understanding of
alternative agriculture?

4. The Bender farm, like every farm, has its own set of circumstances. Critics will
assert that in a particular case study there is always something special that curtails
applicability. How do you react to that? Do you see anything in the Bender farm
that limits extrapolation to other agricultural settings?

5. The profile includes documentation from the 1941 Soil Survey that even by that
time many of the slopes of the Bender farm had suffered severe erosion. The
point of that inclusion was to demonstrate that the author has accepted the
challenge of farming organically on depleted, eroded soils. The idea is that if it
can be done in such conditions, then it can be done in less difficult circumstances.
Are there any other difficult circumstances about this setting which would make
the farm more applicable?

6. Why did the author select the book's epigraph?

Special Project

Take the class to a well managed alternative farm.

Further Reading

National Research Council, 1989, Alternative Agriculture, National Academy Press,
Washington, D.C. pp. 247-418.

Schauer, Anne, 1992, Editor, The Thompson Farm On-Farm Research, Rodale Institute,
Emmaus, Pennsylvania.




Developed by:
Thomas Larson



Teachers or Extension educators

To understand cropping system design

To learn methods to teach cropping systems

This material was prepared with the support ofUSDA Agreement No. 92-COOP-1-7266. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or
recommendations expressed herein are those ofthe authors and do not necessarily reflect the views ofthe U.S. Department of
Agriculture or the University of Nebraska.

A Teacher's Guide to Cropping System

This guide has three major portions:

I. Teacher Reference Guide. Background
information for various aspects of system
design are listed.

II. Instructional Unit. An outline for the basic
course material can be used for planning

III. Learning Activities. Suggestions for practical
application and problem solving activities can
be used to enhance the students understanding
of the material.

I. Teacher's Reference Guide

1. Controlling Weeds With Fewer Chemicals by Craig Cramer
A collection of cost cutting methods and ideas for weed control in
various crop situations.

2. The Role of Legumes in Conservation Tillage Systems by J.F. Power
Various aspects of legumes are covered in this resource book.

3. Agronomy Handbook by A & L Laboratories
Soil analysis, deficiency symptoms, tissue sampling and many other
topics are covered.

4. Weeds and What They Tell by Ehrenfried E. Pfeiffer
Certain weeds flourish under specific soil and cultural conditions.
This book explains some of those relationships.

5. Planting FMO by H. Edward Breece (John Deere)
Comprehensive descriptions of planting systems and equipment

6. Farmers of Forty Centuries by F. H. King
Chinese agricultural practices of the early 1900's are examined
with emphasis placed on utilization of on-site resources.

7. The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka
This thought provoking book examines extremely low input
agricultural systems.

8. The Directory of Small Scale Agriculture U.S.D.A. May '89
This directory focuses on resource individuals who do work related
to the topic of small-scale agriculture.

9. The Thompson Farm On-Farm Research by Rodale Institute.
This book is a summary of the innovative Thompson Farm and some
of the alternative farming methods they use.

II. Instructional Unit

Critical Elements of Systems Design

1. Crops to be grown in the system depends upon
several factors:

(a) Number of crops in the system.
This may be only two or up to 5 or 6.

(b) Personal Preference.
The success of the system may depend upon the familiarity
to the farmer of the crops to be grown. For example a corn-
soybean system may be more successful than an amaranth-
mung bean system.

(c) Salable Produce.
The Crops grown must be marketable in original form, value
added or as a resource to another on-farm enterprise.

(d) Site Suitable.
The choice of crops to be successfully grown depends on
their suitability to the existing climate, soils, slope, and
water availability.

(e) Government Programs.
In the midwest area most crop production is directly linked
to the corn base acres. Changes in cropping mix can affect
base acres and therefore government program payments.
Recently however the ASCS has implemented a program
called the Integrated Farm Management Program (IFMP) that
lets the farmer keep his corn base acre history while trying
to enter a multi-crop system. See the local ASCS for more
current information.

(f) Biodiversity.
Selecting crops from different families seems to enhance
the overall performance of both. A corn- soybean (grass-
legume) system seems to perform better than a soybean-
pinto bean (legutne-legume) system. By selecting crops
from different families, populations of damaging disease
organisms and pests do not have a chance to build-up.
Researchers are still trying to understand various aspects
of this "Rotation Effect."

2. Flow Chart of Normal Cultural Practice.
A simple calendar type of flow chart for each proposed crop in
the system needs to be drawn. Below is an example of such a
chart for corn.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aua Sep Oct Nov Dec
Ridge Rotary C ltivate Harvest- Graze Stalks
Till Hoe Layby
Sfertiliz irrigation- I
3. Check for Cultural Practice Conflicts.
By combining the flow charts for the crops chosen, potential
conflicts can be determined. For example, a corn-soybean chart
may point out that a time squeeze may occur during cultivation.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Se Oct Nov Dec
corn Ridge Rotary cultivate Harvest Graze Stalks I
Till Hoe Layby
.. fertiliziS irrigation *' I ----
soybeans Ridge |
Till Cultivate
Plant irrigation Harvest Graze Stubble

4. Post Harvest Use.
A tremendous amount of crop material is left in the field after
harvest. Livestock can be used to glean the fields of dropped
grain and to consume some of the left over stubble or stalk
material. Fields should not be overgrazed to the extent that
adequate ground cover is lost. On some soils, livestock should
not graze during the late spring season because of compaction
problems they might create.

A Teacher's .Guide to Hi Tech Low-- Impact
by Thomas Larson

The following is an example of a crop-livestock farm that
produces corn, dry beans, oats, and turnips in an integrated
ridge --till strip crop rotation. Crops are planted in narrow
strips (12 1/2 ft) on four 38" rows using the following sequence:
Corn, Beans, Oats-Turnips.

There are 6 main features to this crop-livestock system.
1. Narrow crop strips.
2. Built in crop rotation.
3. Opportunity for double cropping.
4. Opportunity for inter-cropping.
5. Work load is spread out.
6. Livestock grazing aspects.

To properly assess any farming system we must first
define conventional farming practices.
Monoculture corn.
In early spring primary tillage is preferred. This may
consist of 1-3 trips over the field using a disc-harrow or field
cultivator or similar tool that diminished surface residue and
aerates the soil. Herbicides and or fertilizers may be
incorporated at this time also.
Planting methods vary widely but the trend seems to be
toward equipment that will successfully plant in high residue
conditions. Factors -such as soil type, slope and compatibility
with existing equipment determine the planter selection.
During the planting process, insecticides, herbicides and
fertilizers may be applied in the same field trip using
equipment mounted on the tractor-planter unit.

Weed control may or may not involve the use of a
cultivator, depending on the success of the herbicide applied.
Modern cultivators are heavy, 250-500 Ibs/row, and use designs
that allow for effective soil profile aeration (i.e. weed kill by
desiccation) or weed burial. Various electronic and/or hydraulic
guidance systems are available that help guide this equipment
in relation to the plant row. "Cultivator Blight" and operator
fatigue are reduced.
Harvesting methods usually employ a self propelled
combine using a head or table. Size of the crop gathering head
or table is selected to match row width, wheel track, and
capacity of the machine.
Grain carts are sometimes employed to expedite removal
of grain from the combine while it is in motion. Grain in this cart
is then transferred to trucks or trailers on the field perimeter.
The Larson farm tries to employ a cropping sequence that
works with nature rather than trying to control it. Conventional
crop producers are at the mercy of many things that they have
no control over. Weather effects weed pressures, insect
damage and ultimately yield. Politics (Government programs,
environmental policies, international grain trade, etc.) and
world calamities (Chernobyl nuclear disaster, South African
drought, etc.) all affect crop prices. Any of the above factors
can drive the farmer to control or eliminate as many variables
in production he can. This often leads to the adoption of
production practices that are preventative, whether they are
needed or not. Using broad spectrum pesticides, for example,
before any problem or potential problem arises. Use of
excessive amount of fertilizer without regard to soil tests and
realistic yield goals is another example.
In defense of the above two examples you must be aware
that the cost of using the preventative practice is less than the
risk of loss in crop yield.

Here is a description of the cropping sequence of one strip
over its' three year cycle.

Year 1 Corn is ridge till planted
one cultivation before
i 7-8" height. Then layby
S, at knee high, rebuilding
the ridge. Harvest, then
cows graze the stubble.

Year 2 Oats are seeded in early
spring by drill or broad-
cast, then disc lightly.
Oats are harvested as
,' ii grain or oat hay, depend.
S, ing on market

Turnips are immediately
seeded after oat
harvest. By fall grazing
_____ Pperiod turnips will
produce 6 T/acre dry
matter at 9-22%
and 70-80 %TDN. Turnips
will support 300 animal

Year 3

ij- f g'_*4
.._ __ ^ ,

Dry beans or soy beans
are ridge till planted
into oat-turnip strip.
After harvest, cows
graze on residue.

Year 4

The infield sequence looks like this.

, l
^n jj g j j

Ridge till plant corn into
bean strip. Cycle is

The "rotation effect" of planting different crops on different
ground has been well documented for centuries. This system
allows for that effect and has advantages and disadvantages as


Advantages of this system.

1. Elimination of primary tillage. All crops are either ridge
tilled or drilled into the undisturbed seed bed.

2. Reduced need for soil insecticides. Corn is planted on the
same ground every third year. This helps disrupt the life
cycle of the corn rootworm.

3. Reduced need for soil applied herbicides. Weed pressures
respond to the kind of crop grown and the soil type. Planting
the same crop once every 3 years helps disrupt this weed

4. Reduced need for corn borer treatment for some unknown
reason. Corn borer larvae infest average only 1-1 1/2
larvae/plant. Economic treatment threshold is 5-6/plant.

5. Reduced peak work-load times. The planting of annual small
grains, corn, beans, and turnips naturally are suited for
different times. This technique spreads out the planting
workload over a much wider "window of opportunity".

6. Harvesting periods are staggered. Oats are harvested in late
June, beans in early September, Corn in late September to
October, and turnips are strip grazed throughout the fall and
early winter.


1. Participation in government commodity programs may be
limited. Check with ASCS about the IFMP.

2. Social aspects. Your neighbors will be curious to say the
least. Your banker may refuse to finance you.

3. Timing of the operations are critical. Don't plant more than
you feel you can comfortably cultivate. Rescue herbicide-
insecticide treatment strategies are becoming more
effective and accepted.

4. Oat harvest-haying may interfere with irrigation
requirements of corn.

5. Most effective equipment size seems to be 4 or 6 rows.
Many operators would be reluctant to downsize even if it
would mean an increase in overall efficiency.

Define the following terms terms.

1. Strip cropping

2. Inter cropping

3. Relay cropping

4. Nutrient cycling

5. Soil microbes

6. Synergism

7. Aelopathy

8. Organic matter

9. Salable Product

10. Integrated Pest Management

III. Learning Objectives

The learner will be able to:

1. List three basic plant families.

2. Describe the cultural practices that apply to the above

3. Draw a flow chart for each of the three plants described

4. Identity potential cultural practice conflicts for the chart
produced in #3.

5. List four advantages of strip cropping.

6. List four disadvantages of strip cropping.

Methods to Overcome Stumbling Blocks

Reference: The Practice of Creativity by George M. Prince

Pg 15 1. Identify and understand the problem.
2. Collect Relevant information.
3. Mull it over.
4. Speculate.
5. Develop ideas.
6. Select the best idea.
7. Implement it.


Popular Science Jan. '59 pg 128
consider looking at the problem.

Backwards, Upside down, Inside out.

Borrow an idea from another area.

Substitute ( nails for glue)

Leave something out.

Bigger, Smaller, Stronger, Weaker, Cheaper



Developed by:
Ronald L. Rosmann



Extension personnel and College teachers

To discuss nitrogen optimization

To develop strategies to encourage soil
testing by producers

This material was prepared with the support of USDA Agreement No. 92-COOP-1-7266. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or
recommendations expressed herein are those ofthe authors and do not necessarily reflect the views ofthe U.S. Department of
Agriculture of the University of Nebraska.


During 1992, in Iowa alone, 1.5 billion Ibs. of nitrogen fertilizer was applied.
This however represents a reduction for the third year in a row.

1985 144 lbs.
1990 127 lbs.
1991 120 lbs.
1992- 118 lbs.

Nationally, however, nitrogen use has actually risen slightly. Corn growers
applied N to 97% of the 71.4 million acres of corn in the 17 states surveyed in 1992,
according to the USDA. The average rate was 129 lbs./acre which was up one pound
from 1991.

The reduction in N usage in Iowa is attributed to better soil testing and the use of
the Late Spring Soil Nitrate Test developed by Dr. Alfred Blackmer, professor of
agronomy, Iowa State University. Farmers are also learning better application
techniques, have better equipment and are beginning to give credits for other sources of
nitrogen as a result of educational programs.

On-farm evaluations during the past several years by ISU and the PRACTICAL
FARMERS OF IOWA organization showed that the use of the soil test enabled producers
to reduce inputs of N fertilizer by one-third with no significant reductions in yields. This
means more profits for the producer, less environmental concerns, less dependence on
fossil fuels to manufacture N, and more dollars in rural communities, according to the
revised bulletin on "Nitrogen Management" published by ISU Extension in March, 1993.
The number of dollars that Iowa farmers could save through the use of the test is
staggering up to 100 million dollars per year!

In addition to the revised bulletin, there needs to be more of a teaching device in
a total package that could help farmers, Extension, students, fertilizer dealers, and
consultants to identify options and procedures for fine-tuning of nitrogen optimization.
The teaching device, either in the written or video form, would revolve around the late
spring soil nitrate test.

First, farmers need to be convinced they should use the test. Secondly, they
should have a way to compare different nitrogen rates using the test on some of their
fields This could be accomplished through the use of the PRACTICAL FARMERS OF
IOWA on-farm research trial format. We, and other PFI farmers have been doing that
for the last six years, where the farmers customary rate of nitrogen applications have been
compared to a lower rate of nitrogen based, (most of the time), on the use of the test.
Results from 1987-1991 have indicated in 63 N trials a reduction from 133 to 79 lbs. of
N without any yield reduction. (129.1 high rate yield, 127.8 low rate yield) The low
rate benefit was $6.56/acre and the diesel fuel equivalent saved in gallons per acre was

12.9. On our farm, we have saved close to $2,000 annually through the use of the test.

Dr. Blackmer has stated that "if you use soil tests, you can get by with less than
if you don't. The amount you use is based on your knowledge."

To me this says that the farmer needs to begin to use the test to get some
experience and confidence in it and to gain confidence in working within a fairly narrow
range of nitrogen rates on site-specific locations. We have been working at this since
1987. I can now say with some confidence that because of the trials we have done, we
no longer need to rely as much on the late spring test as before. We have identified,
based on crop rotations, manure history, weather conditions, the late spring test, legume
credits, and the fall stalk test, a fairly narrow range of needed additional N rates. This
has ranged from 0-90 pounds since 1987. Most of the time, it has been from 0-60 lbs.
of additional N needed, according to the test.

How do you get people to start using the test so that eventually they may no
longer need to depend on it? The N-Trac test kit from Hack Chemical Company has not
really caught on. Farmers do not appear very willing to take samples and send them into
a lab, either. The test is not seen as being very user friendly. Here is a list of

1) Have to take the test when the corn is 6-12 inches tall
2) Farmers want to have their nitrogen on by then
3) Large numbers of acres
4) Weather concerns about getting additional N applied
5) Do not want to cultivate sidedresss with cultivator)
6) Afraid of using the test


1. How can we encourage farmers to start using soil test?

2. How can we overcome the six objections?



Developed by:
Jerry Doll



Extension, SCS, and ASCS professional;
agricultural producers; agriculture students

To understand the role of preventative weed
management in an overall farming strategy

This material was prepared with the support ofUSDA Agreement No. 92-COOP-1-7266. Any opinions, findings conclusions or
recommendations expressed herein are those ofthe authors and do not necessarily reflect the views ofthe U.S. Department of
Agriculture or the University of Nebraska.

Preventative Weed Management

Jerry Doll
Weed Scientist, Dept. of Agronomy
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure. Examples abound of how
we have introduced plant species either inadvertently or as potential crops that are now
our common and serious weed control problems. Johnsongrass and velvetleaf were
introduced as crops while most species "hitch hiked" as contaminants of crop seeds. An
awareness of how weeds spread into new areas and what we can do to prevent such
movement equips us to be avoid having more weeds to worry about.

Prevention should be part of a comprehensive weed management program (Fig.
1). Prevention is stopping a weed from infesting new areas. Common practices to do
this include:

Buy and plant clean seed

Buy clean feed and bedding

Clean machinery when leaving weedy fields

Do not introduce new species into fields by spreading weed seed-infested

Check custom equipment entering your fields

Prevent seed production in fence rows, field borders and roadsides

Keep informed of new weeds in your area and state

The consequences of not practicing these preventative measures can have long
lasting consequences because once a weed is present on a farm, eradication (the
complete elimination of all live plants, plant parts and seeds from an area) is nearly
impossible. Once introduced, we are left with decisions about how to control/manage
(limiting or reducing the weed infestation to tolerable levels (thresholds) the weeds

An often unconsidered source of introducing weeds is in feed. In Wisconsin,
many dairy farmers have fed small quantities of cotton seed as a protein and energy
source. The delinting process to separate the cotton fiber and seeds leaves cocklebur
fruits with the cotton seed. Many farmers have potentially infested their farms with this
highly competitive broadleaf weed in recent years. Another practice gaining popularity

among dairy farmers is to feed roasted soybeans to milking cows. When properly done,
the roasting process destroys all weed seeds.

In years of hay shortage, many livestock producers purchase hay; sometimes it
comes from other states. Regardless of the distance, the risk of bringing in viable weed
seed is great and perhaps some will be new species to that farm. The hay curing process
does not kill many weed seeds; nor does digestion in the rumen nor storage in manure.
An effective means to destroy weed seeds in livestock feed is to ensile the forage. The
fermentation process destroys nearly all common annual grass and broadleaf seeds. Even
most of the hard seeds of velvetleaf are killed.

Straw used for bedding is frequently infested with weed seeds and these, too, will
cycle through the animals and back onto the fields. Composting manure will reduce but
not eliminate viable weed seeds. Poultry are more effective in destroying weed seed than
ruminant and monogastric animals.

A recent concern that adds more importance to a vigilant prevention program is
the appearance of herbicide resistant weeds in the U.S. Feed or crop seed contaminated
with weed seed may well not bring a new species to a farm, but rather a new gene one
that may greatly reduce the performance of current weed management programs. It is
impossible to visually separate resistant plants or seeds from their susceptible biotypes.
The difference is at the gene level and is not evident in any external characteristics.

One means of preventing weed introduction and spread is via the legal route. For
example, governments may decide to quarantine infested areas to prevent further
movement of a serious weed problem. One of the most aggressive cases of weed
quarantine in the USA is a federally funded program to contain and simultaneously
eradicate the parasitic weed witchweed (Striga asiatica) that infests grass crops such as
corn and sorghum and causes untold losses in other countries. It was introduced into
North and South Carolina in the 1950s and it was placed under federal and state
quarantine in 1957. Now, some 35 years later, the original infestation of 430,000 acres
was reduced to 387,000 acres in 1980 and is now down to 48,000 acres with just
scattered infestations.

Only in 1975 did the United States enact a Federal Noxious Weed Act. It was
funded in 1979 and has designated certain species as those that should not be allowed to
enter the U.S. A 746-page handbook of "Economically Important Foreign Weeds" was
prepared and contains over 1200 species that federal inspectors can use to determine if
imported goods, travelers, livestock, etc. should be quarantined or rejected as the port
of entry. While no one believes that this is a fool-proof system, it has been helpful. For
example, serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) was detected on a shipment of turfgrass
seed originating in Argentina and was rejected at the port in Texas.

Many states have noxious weed laws. These laws are designed to both help
prevent the spread of serious weeds and to require that some control effort be done by
the land owner/operator. The state of Nebraska has one of the most active programs.

They have a state-wide Weed Control Association, hire and train weed superintendents
in each county, publish a newsletter, do state-wide weed surveys, etc. While most states
have not been as active as Nebraska, the noxious weed laws do point out what are the
weeds of concern and most producers then realize that extra efforts to contain and control
these species is both warranted and probably a legal requirement. Additionally, state
seed certification laws and perhaps feed laws also regulate the species for which weed
seeds are either prohibited or restricted.

Another aspect of prevention is to not allow weeds in fields to reproduce. By
preventing seed production, the number of seeds in the soil will certainly be reduced and
perhaps we can approach eradication of species with relatively short seed longevity in the
soil. This approach has worked well, for example, to greatly reduce the abundance of
wild proso millet (Panicum miliacium) in Wisconsin. If infested fields are planted to
alfalfa, almost no millet goes to seed as long as alfalfa is present. So when other crops
are planted for 4 or more years later, most of the millet seed has died. Some use this
concept to say that any weed going to seed is a problem. This is perhaps theoretically
true, but in the real world, a few seeds are not going to quickly change the weed
management practices. First, all fields have some level of a weed seed bank and a few
thousand seeds per acre produced annually will not cause great alterations. Secondly,
estimates are that 90% of all weed seed produced dies, is eaten, rots, germinates without
emergence, or is otherwise lost and does not form a seedling. And lastly, growers who
closely monitor their fields can decide when control practices simply for the sake of
preventing weed seed production are justified. Action would be needed when (1) it is
very difficult to control species and (2) when weeds are found only in certain areas of
fields (such as along field edges).


1. My fields are already weedy. Why should I be preventative?

2. Rank the risk of introducing weeds coming onto farms
(5 = high risk; 3 = moderate risk; 1= low risk; 0 = no risk).

contaminated certified seed

contaminated feed grains

contaminated hay

contaminated straw for bedding

purchased fertilizer

contaminated bin-run seed

custom combining


birds and other animals


manure from the neighbors

3. Assume your red clover is contaminated with 0.5% lambsquarters seed. You are
seeding 12 lb/acre of red clover and one pound of lambsquarters has 300,000
seeds. How many seeds or lambsquarters are you planting?

4. You are feeding roasted soybeans to your dairy cows. You bought a load of
roasted beans at the feed supply company and note there are many weed seeds in
it. You should:

reject the load

accept the load because seeds will die in the cow's rumen

accept the load because roasting kills all weed seeds

5. What are the common sense practices to prevent weed introduction onto your

6. I am harvesting forage in a field with many flowering weeds. To prevent
spreading these weeds to other fields I should:

chop/cut the forage and leave it in the field

bale the forage: most seeds will die in the rumen and manure

ensile the forage: most seeds will die in the fermentation process in the

Sale it and sell it to the highest bidder












VARIETY 0 29 87

OTH. CROPS 0 0 18
































Developed by:
Linda J. Oyer



Extension personnel and upper level higher

To identify soil fertility problematic
as related to production system

To develop creative methodologies for working
with producers and achieving technology
exchange to solve soil fertility problems

This material was prepared with the support of USDA Agreement No. 92-COOP-1-7266. Any opinions, findings conclusions or
reconanendations expressed herein arethose ofthe authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture orthe University of Nebraska.


SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE is the production of food and
fiber of suitable quality in optimum quantities in
a manner which is resource efficient, resource
conserving, environmentally sound, economically
feasible, and socially responsible.

USDA/SCS, 1990


The USDA Soil Conservation Service has defined its role in
promoting sustainable agriculture as assisting producers to
plan and apply integrated resource management systems. These
systems achieve environmental quality and economic viability
by collectively maintaining or improving soil, water, air,
plant, and animal resources. Sustainable agriculture requires
the highest level of application of integrated resource
management systems, giving adequate consideration to the
changing environmental, social, economic, and cultural needs,
conditions, available resources, and opportunities at the
field, local, and more global levels, with the active
participation of the producer throughout the entire process.




* the proper management of nutrients to improve or
maintain the fertility of the soil while not adversely
affecting another resource condition

utilizing appropriate sources, rates, methods, and
timing of application of nutrients

utilizing appropriate cropping and residue
management systems

proper consideration of ecological, social, economic,
and cultural factors influencing the production system

the balanced, systematic integration of technologies,
management strategies, and methods which have been
selected to meet the environmental, economic, and
social criteria of sustainability.

being integral part of integrated resource management


* Technology "transfer" should preferably be an exchange.

* The "experts" or those that provide a service for the
producer must learn to listen to producers.

* Producers know the problems as well as know their
goals, resources, and potentials, and may have
already developed an innovative practice or
method for confronting the problem.

* Cooperatively, agricultural agents and producers
can utilize the most appropriate technology
and utilize available resources to develop
a solution to the site-specific problem.

* Active involvement of the producer during all
stages of the planning, application, and
evaluation process of the integrated resource
management system will promote not only a
more effective information dissemination, but
also a more effective communication process,
a most essential step toward resolving
agricultural problems and developing a
sustainable agriculture.


think system planners must think in terms of natural
resources as an ecosystem. They must place the
agricultural ecosystem into its economic and
sociologic context as well. Planners look
carefully at each resource condition and consider
how it relates to the management unit as a whole.
They must also consider how management options will
complement each other and interact with existing
systems on adjoining management units. As planners
of systems of resources, they must think as
ecologists, sociologists, and economists all-in-
one of the system in order to effectively
identify and solve agricultural problems.

actively involve the producer at all times throughout
the process Development of effective management
systems requires participation by and consideration
of people throughout the planning process.
Effective planners recognize that the producer has
knowledge, skills, and abilities that are
complementary to those of the planner.

think resource opportunity effective application
of integrated resource management systems requires
that the planner look beyond resource problems.
While examining the whole operation, planners
will be alert to potential resource uses that may
exist on the land or locally.


think resource efficiency effective planning
for sustainable agriculture seeks to use locally
available resources as production inputs and
reduce use of external or remote resources. This
promotes reduced input costs and improved efficiency
of resource use.

think off-site effects planners and producers must
consider both on-site and off-site effects of
integrated resource management systems in order
to reduce adverse effects to the environment.

plan creatively and flexibly planners must present
feasible, creative alternative solutions and design systems
which are flexible enough to adapt to meet changing
ecological as well as socioeconomic needs.

Safley and Oyer, 1990


1. Discuss producer's objectives and perspective on
problem and resource opportunities, as well as make
field assessment, including:

soil resource type, texture, depth, organic matter
content, erosion (water and wind), pH, color,
compaction, sediment deposition, water
infiltration, any observations of problems in
past or at present
topography of landscape % slope, average length
of slope, land capability classification
presence ofwaterbodies, seeps, runoff, inadequate
outlets, ground water or surface water
contaminants, e.g. pesticides, nutrients, salinity,
heavy metals, pathogens
perspective on water quality status or problems -
source, quality for drinking or irrigation
precipitation, temperature regimes observations
of damage to crops due to air drift, drought,
hail, wind, flooding
past, actual and desired cropping systems
other crops or cropping systems tried locally
and level of success
historical crop yields and goals
utilization of crops
residue management all operations carried out
and estimate of residue remaining after planting


1. Discuss producer's objectives and perspective on
problem and resource opportunities, as well as make
field assessment, including:

nutrient additions source, rate, time, and
method of application
potential sources of nutrients available on-farm or
control of pests historical incidence of pests
and methods of control
desire to provide habitat for wildlife type,
availability of food, cover or shelter, water
production of livestock and relationship with
crop fields grazing, production, storage and
utilization of manure
resource conservation practices already installed
and status
other concerns, including: land tenure, market
structure, cost share, base acreage, USDA
programs, technical assistance,
traditional values; availability of labor,
machinery, seeds, agrochemical inputs; prices of
agricultural inputs;


2. Take soil sample for soil fertility

take individual soil samples according to
instructions given by land grant university
record the crop history, manure applications and
prior legume crops from each soil mapping unit
air dry and ship to an ASCS approved laboratory

3. Know community problematic well and discuss with
other organizations.

relate facts obtained at field level to watershed to
community level and to global level
interact daily with producers via homestays, coffee
shop discussions, help organize local research/
demonstration plots and informal field days, help
organize exchange seminars
discuss problematic with other producers and
representatives of other organizations; provide
feedback on status of perspectives; promote
exchange of experiences; help organize
support for providing alternative solutions.


Once the fertility results of the soil analysis are
received and the problematic have been analyzed,
the cropping system can be chosen and designed and
the appropriate integrated fertility management
program can be selected to best suit the changing
needs of the system.

Based upon the selected cropping system, including
intercrop, legume, monocrop, the crop nutrient
budget should be prepared. All sources of nutrients
should be considered, including legume, fertilizer,
irrigation, manure, in determining an appropriate
rate, timing and method of application. The
appropriate residue management system should also
be selected to meet the criteria of sustainability.

When formulating and recommending alternative
conservation practices for the integrated resource
management system to be applied in the field, it is
very important to consider the potential impacts
of each practice on each resource problem and to
ensure that there will be no adverse effects either
on-site or off-site to another resource. The
alternative conservation practices proposed as part
of the integrated resource management system
should collectively seek to solve all of the resource
problems identified.


* Prepare a nutrient budget for each field when the
soil test results are received back from the lab.

* Develop a realistic yield goal based on land grant
university data, soil management groups, county
plot data, and producer records.

* Balance the nutrient needs for each crop and credit
manure applications as well as legumes grown in
rotation. (example of development of nutrient
budget included with this packet)

The largest agricultural N cycle inputs are
usually fertilizer N, manure N, legume N, and
irrigation water N; fertilizer N and irrigation water
N are most accurately known since these are
managed inputs; the manure input as well as the
legume N input are known only roughly. Even less
research has focused on determining the
appropriate nutrient recommendations for crops
grown in row-intercropped systems versus for
crops in comparable single stands.


* Integrating agricultural research and education with
full participation of producers is the principal
key to determining and solving our agricultural

* Countless projects have been designed and
implemented by researchers with little or without
producer participation and which failed; those
projects did not define the problem well nor did
they consider the interrelation between
socioeconomic and environmental factors, and,
therefore, the project design was not appropriate
to actually confront the problem. In reality, many
times the project design actually reinforced the
problem and worsened the situation.

* The integrated focus of on-farm research/
demonstrations will respond to the problem of the
inefficiency of much research conducted on
experimental stations due to the lack of producer
involvement, the lack of a systems approach, and
the lack of representativity of many of the soils,
slopes, and microclimates present on those




Developed by:
Frederick Kirschenmann



Producers, Extension, SCS, and ASCS

To discuss alternative ways of thinking about
agricultural economics

To identify key components for short and long
term economic sustainability on the farm

This material was prepared with the support of USDA Agreement No. 92-COOP-1-7266. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or
recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture or the University of Nebraska.


TEACHING GOAL: To engage farmers and extension personnel in a dialogue on issues
surrounding agricultural economics from a perspective of sustainability.


To explore alternative ways of thinking about agricultural economics that
are more inclusive and that focus on real on-farm impacts.

To identify key components for thinking about both short and long term
economic sustainability on the farm.


Farmers will begin to look at the economic parameters of their own farms
from a more integrated, whole-systems perspective, and extension
personnel will be able to more effectively assist farmers in this task.



Economists have tended to gauge the economic health of a farm by determining
the monetary performance of individual on-farm enterprises in a fiscal year.
What's missing from this picture?

1. The On-Farm Economic Picture.

a. Determining the Performance of the Farming Sector.

For the past 80 years there has been a trend toward increasing
economic activity in the market and input sectors of agriculture and
decreasing economic activity in the farming sector. Some
economists claim that this trend is due largely to public policy and
research priorities rather than on-farm efficiencies. How
sustainable will agriculture be if this trend continues?

Suggested Reading: Stuart Smith, "Farming Activities and Family
Farms: Getting the Concepts Straight" (Unpublished paper
presented at the Joint Economic Committee Symposium,
"Agricultural Industrialization and Family farms: The Role of
Public Policy", Washington D. C., October 21, 1992).

b. Determining the Viability of Increased Production Efficiencies.

Some economists argue that since the farming sector's piece of the
economic pie is so small further efficiencies in production can
benefit neither the farmer nor the consumer. John Ikerd points
out, for example, that an additional 10 percent increase in
production efficiency (which he regards a significant technological
achievement) could, at best, achieve a one percent reduction in
food costs to consumers.

And since the farmer's share of total consumer expenditures is now
so small (less than 1.5%) Ikerd argues that a 10% increase in
production efficiency on the part of production agriculture would
"get lost in aggregate economic statistics".

Can further production efficiencies make agriculture more
sustainable? How does the "technological treadmill" effect the
sustainability of agriculture on the farm?

Suggested Reading: John Ikerd, "Impacts of Policy on the

Economics of Sustainable Agriculture" (Unpublished paper,
December 2, 1992; Available from the Author, University of

c. Determining Real On-farm Efficiency

Economic sustainability depends on sound, efficient performance
over the long term.

For the most part farmers have been taught to assess the economic
performance of their farms by calculating yield per acre and pound
of gain per day. This has led them to ignore important factors on
the cost side of the ledger. Such as the long term costs of pest
resistance and destruction of beneficial insects; the cost/benefit of
the additional fertilizer required to produce that extra 5 bushels of
yield; or the increased cost of health maintenance due to stress
related illness caused by management practices used to achieve gain
goals. How can farmers begin calculating the overall economic
performance of their farms over a decade or more, rather than
limiting themselves to single enterprise performance analyses over
a single growing season?

Suggested Readings: Marty Strange, Family Farming: A New
Economic Vision, (Lincoln, Nebr.: University of Nebraska Press,
1988); National research Council, Alternative Agriculture,
(Washington, D. C., National Academy Press, 1989).

2.1 The Macroeconomic Picture.

Economic sustainability is also determined by the fiscal and monetary
policies at the national and international levels. How can farmers join
with other citizens to better understand how current policies effect both
their short term and long term economic sustainability, and to effect policy

Suggested Readings:

2.2 The Social Picture.

Society's mandate for agriculture has changed. For most of this century
the social mandate for agriculture was simply to produce the maximum
amount of food at the cheapest possible price. Today the mandate is to
produce the maximum amount of the safest, most nutritious food in the
world at the cheapest possible price, in an environmentally benign manner,
that will preserve the resource base for future generations, treat animals
humanely, and treat farmers and farm-workers fairly.

Can the goal of a sustainable agriculture be achieved in the light of this
new mandate? Can agricultural sustainability be achieved in the face of
mounting political pressure from various citizen lobby groups -- animal
welfare, animal rights, food safety activists, wildlife preservation,
environmental regulation, etc. etc.?

Suggested Readings: Denny Caneff, Sustaining Land, People. and
Communities: The Case for Livestock in a Sustainable Agriculture. (A
Midwest SAWG Publication, 110 Maryland Ave. NE., Washington, D.C.
20002. March, 1993); Institute for Alternative Agriculture, Understanding
the True Cost of Food: Considerations for a Sustainable Food System.
(Washington, D.C.: Proceedings of Eight Annual Symposium, March,

3. The Ecological Picture.

It is now generally conceded that the ecological capital being expended to
achieve the goals of industrial agriculture is not sustainable. We have lost
approximately half of our topsoil in the last forty years. Aquifers are
being drained at a rate far exceeding nature's capacity to recharge them
and both ground and surface water is being contaminated. The loss of
wildlife has been significant. Predator/prey relationships have been
disturbed. Insects beneficial to farmers are destroyed along with target
insects, increasing the problems of pest control. And the evolution of
weed and insect species resistant to pesticides have further complicated
pest control management.

What are the economic "costs" to agriculture of these ecological
consequences of industrial agriculture? Can agriculture be sustainable if
these trends continue?

Suggested Readings: Paul Faeth, et.al., Paying the Farm Bill: U.S.
Agriculture Policy and the transition to Sustainable Agriculture, (World
Resources Institute, March, 1991); D. and M. Pimental, Food Energy and
Society, (New York: John Wiley, 1979).

4. The Energy Picture.

All agriculture is dependent on energy. Industrial agriculture is especially
dependent on nonrenewable sources of energy, not only consuming such
energy for traction, but for fertilizer and pest-control, extensive
transportation, etc.

How can agriculture be sustained in the face of high energy requirements
and dwindling non-renewable resources? How can farmers become more
energy efficient and self-sufficient?

Suggested Readings: Wes Jackson, et. al., Meeting the Expectations of
the Land, (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1984).



In the light of Steward Smith's analysis farmers might consider exploring two
immediate strategies:

a. Reduce their dependence on the input sector of agriculture.

b. Explore ways to recapture part of the market sector of agriculture.

What are some of the ways that farmers can accomplish these changes?



Broadly speaking, economics can be defined in two ways: It can either be
understood in terms of

the short term maximization of the monetary exchange value to the owner


the long term increase in value to the community.

The former is what we usually point to as an indication of "growth", the latter is
what is generally required to achieve "development".

In modem economics we often assume that "growth" (in the former sense) will
automatically bring "development" (in the latter sense). Is this true? Is it true if
we include land, water, and other organisms of the early community (on which
we depend for agriculture) in our definition of "community"? What is required
to maintain the financial health of agriculture?

Suggested readings: Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb, For the Common Good,
(Boston: Beacon Press, 1989). Especially chapter 7; Paul Ekins, (ed), The

Living Economy, (New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986).


1. Assessing the financial health of the whole farm over a decade
Analyzing the profit/loss of individual enterprises over a single growing

Most farmers know, from experience, that isolated enterprises on their
farms can be extremely profitable for one or more growing seasons and
still not add up to a prosperous farming operation. While the profit/loss
statements of single enterprises on the farm serve as one important clue to
the farm's profitability, other important factors must be calculated in
determining a farm's financial health. For example, a high value crop
may prove to be very profitable for two or three years, but a single hail
storm could put that farm into bankruptcy due to the high cost of
producing the crop.

Suggested Readings: J. Patrick Madden and Thomas L. Dobbs, "The Role
of Economics in Achieving Low-input Farming systems", in Clive A.
Edwards, et. al., Sustainable Agricultural Systems, (Ankeny, Iowa: Soil
and Water Conservation Society, 1990), pp. 459ff.

2. Diversification vs. Specialization

Modern agriculture has increasingly moved toward specialization to
achieve economic objectives. It was assumed that specializing in the
highest paying cash crop and becoming an expert in the production
management of that one crop, had the best potential for the highest
economic return to the farm. But there are many inefficiencies in

Specialization has created dependency on off-farm inputs. Continuous
mono-cropping causes fertility deficiencies that must be replaced by
fertilizer inputs. It also creates favorable environments for pests that
require pesticides to control weeds and insects. Diversification, on the
other hand, can create opportunities to use on-farm resources. Crop
rotations can include crops that supply much of a farm's fertility needs and
can develop growing environments that interrupt weed and insect cycles.

Diversification creates opportunities to use the wastes from one enterprise
as inputs for another enterprise. Crop residues can have value added to
them by feeding them to livestock. The wastes from livestock can be used
as fertility inputs in the cropping enterprise, thereby turning the cost of
waste disposal into an income producing input.

Diversification also spreads out risks. Different crops are susceptible to
different weather factors. A variety of crops reduce the susceptibility to
specific pests. A variety of enterprises reduce the vulnerability to market
fluctuations. Specialization also creates other long-term problems that add
costs to the farm such as breakdown in soil structure, resistance to pests,

Of course diversification by itself will not insure profitability.
Diversification must be integrated into an efficient whole system. Each
piece of the diversity must fit into and feed the performance of the whole
system. How can farmers better assess the right amount of diversity,
integrated into a whole, efficient operation, to maximize the economic
performance of their farms?

Suggested Readings: Randy Sell and David L. Watt, "LISA Drylot
Cow/calf Combined with Minimum Till and Conventional Grain Farm
Management," 1990 Beef Production Field Day, (NDSU Carrington
Research Extension Center, Carrington, North Dakota, September 6,
1990.) pp. 37ff.; Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, Toward A
Sustainable Agriculture: A Teacher's Guide, (Madison, Wisconsin: The
University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1991).

3. Recycling vs. Input/output.

The economics of modern, industrial agriculture is based on a "factory"
input/output model. The cost of inputs purchased from off the farm,
required to achieve outcome goals, are charged against revenues
anticipated from the sale of outputs. In this model capital expenditures
(including land) tend to be seen as depreciable items. In this model soil
and water, the critical wealth-generating resource base, are seldom
considered as part of the economic model.

This model also makes farmers extraordinarily dependent on the input
sector of agriculture, leading them to ignore on-farm resources that could
often be utilized to achieve production goals and utilize wastes.

Since the 1920's numerous agriculture leaders have suggested an economic
pattern for agriculture based on a recycling model. This model attempts
to achieve outcome goals by utilizing on-farm resources as the first
management strategy. Off-farm inputs are used as back-up resources.
This strategy seeks to utilize all waste materials by recycling them into the
production system.

What are some of the economic implications of this shift in thinking?
What are some of the potential impacts on soil and water conservation?
Can such a shift in thinking begin to rebalance the farming sector economy

vis-a-vis the input sector?

Suggested Readings: Stuart Smith, Op. Cit.; Sir Albert Howard, An
Agriculture Testament, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1943).

4. Farm Value-retained Economics.

Stuart Smith has pointed out that one of the reasons that the farm sector
of the economy has shrunk is because farmers have spun some of their
market activities off the farm into the market sector. Conversely, one of
the ways that farmers can improve the farm sector economy is to recapture
part of this economic activity.

What are some of the practical ways that farmers can retain value in the
farm sector? How can the potential for retaining value be increased
through local community cooperation and farmer-owned cooperatives?

Suggested Readings: Stuart Smith, jQp. Cit.

5. Redefining Economic Efficiency.

Efficiency has generally been taken to mean producing more with less
capital. In other words efficiency is defined in money terms. A farm is
"successful" if it produces a surplus of capital to invest in expansion,
for example. This view of efficiency is consistent with the neoclassical
economic dogma that there are no shortages where there is sufficient

This view of economics ignores a fundamental component of the second
law of thermodynamics that "whenever energy is used the amount of
usable energy declines". (Daly & Cobb, 1989) This fundamental law of
nature suggests that whenever soil, water and oil are used to produce food
something is lost. True efficiency has to keep these losses to a minimum.
In other words, true efficiency includes not only non-wasteful use of labor
and capital, but also conservation of natural resources.

These divergent views of efficiency explain why industrial agriculture can
be heralded as the "most efficient in the world" and simultaneously be
characterized as the least efficient. Industrial agriculture is extremely
efficient when measured only in terms of labor and capital expended. It
becomes enormously inefficient when measured in terms of the use of
nature resources. Both have to be included in the equation.

How can farmers begin to calculate true efficiency on their farms? Does
the present structure of agriculture force farmers to choose between
labor/capital efficiency and natural resources efficiency?

Suggested Readings: Daly & Cobb, Qp. Cit., 1989. Especially chapter
10; Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, The Entropy Law and the Economic
Process, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971); John
Ikerd, QO. Cit.; D. and M. Pimental, OQ. Cit., 1979).

6. Calculating the Ecological and Social Costs and Benefits.

No one would question the fact that modern industrial agriculture has been
enormously successful in fulfilling its mandate -- producing the maximum
amount of food and fiber at the cheapest possible price. What has been
ignored in the process is what economists have referred to as
"externalities" the social and environmental costs of doing business. But
whether these costs are deferred to the future or charged to environmental
and social accounts, they are real costs.

The government-industrial complex (USDA, traditional farm groups,
commodity groups, etc.) have been slow to recognize these costs. But
gradually they are being recognized. Citizen/environmental groups,
scholars, and farmers themselves have amassed impressive evidence that
these "hidden" costs are now appearing and can no longer be ignored.
Consequently a new social mandate for agriculture is upon us.

What are some of the social and ecological costs of farming that farmers
must include in their costs of doing business? How can some of these
costs be reduced? What public policy changes are needed to account for
these costs in the food system?

Suggested Readings: Paul Faeth, Op. Cit.; John Ikerd, O. Cit.; Anne
White Garland, The Way We Grow, (New York: Berkley Books, 1993);
Karl N. Stauber, A New Agricultural Covenant: Exploring Agriculture
Policy for the 21st Century. (Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Graduate
School of the Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1993); Willard W.
Cochrane and C. Ford Runge, Reforming Farm Policy, (Ames, Iowa:
Iowa State University Press, 1992); Center for Integrated Agriculture
Systems, Qp. Cit., 1991, especially Chapter 5; "Technology's Price",
(Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, Educational Video
Presentations, No. 51578).

7. Reassessing the Role of Rural Communities.

Conventional wisdom has largely disregarded the economic role which
rural communities play in the economics of agriculture. Rural
communities are generally viewed as anachronisms, having outlived their
economic, and therefore their social value. This prevailing view is now
being challenged. Farmers are recognizing that the disappearance of rural
communities is increasing their cost of production. Having to drive two

or three times the distance to buy equipment parts costs additional travel
and down time and requires farmers to stock more of their own parts.
Having to send children to school in distant communities increases the tax
burden. etc. etc.

Furthermore, local communities are the repositories of local ecological
wisdom. The loss of this local "library" of information cannot even be
calculated at this point, but it is a loss that will be difficult to retrieve.

How can farmers and policy makers reassess the role of rural communities
in sustaining a healthy, secure food system? What can farmers and local
rural community residents do to sustain their livelihoods? Can a more
sustainable agriculture help?

Suggested Readings: Institute for Alternative Agriculture, Alternative
Farming Systems and Rural Communities: Exploring the Connections.
(Chevy Chase, Maryland: Ninth Annual Scientific Symposium, March,
1992); Wendel Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and
Agriculture, (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1977); Center for
Integrated Agriculture Systems, Op. Cit., 1991), especially chapter 4;
Cobb and Daley, Qp. Cit., especially chapter 14.

8. Other Bottom Lines.

Despite the fact that farmers have been forced to concentrate most of their
energies on maintaining a healthy bottom line, they, and their colleagues
in rural communities, are increasingly becoming aware that there is more
to life than bread. Simply maintaining an income level that keeps the wolf
away from the door does not constitute a life.

Increasingly, therefore, questions about quality of life, and social goals are
being considered as part of the sustainable agriculture agenda. Slowly we
are beginning to recognize that a set of values that we call "the common
good" underlies everything that all of us do. Farming is no exception.

How can farmers begin including social goals in their economic planning?
Is a "bottom up society, a community of communiques that are local and
relatively small" (Cobb & Daley) a desirable goal for agriculture? If so,
how do we achieve it?

Suggested Readings: Daly & Cobb, Op. Cit., especially chapter 19;
Center for Integrated Farming Systems, O-. Cit., especially chapter 6;
Allan Savory, Holistic Resources Management, (Covelo, CA.: Island
Press, 1988).


Developed by:
Sarah Simpson Dean
for Simpson Ranch

Audience: Landowners, farmers, farm managers, crop
consultants, university faculty and classes, and
extension personnel
Objectives: To show processes which encourage
conversion to a more sustainable agriculture

This material was prepared with the support of USDA Agreeant No. 92-COOP-1-7266. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or
recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily refled the views ofthe U.S. Department of
Agriculture or the University of Nebraska.


The PURPOSE of a FARM LEASE is to list the rights and duties of the
landowner and the farmer-tenant in regard to the farm.


The lease creates the "PARTNERSHIP" between the landowner and the farmer-
tenant. It outlines how they will work together to MANAGE the farm so that the

The lease cannot cover everything. Therefore, the landowner and the farmer-
tenant must trust each other and feel any problems can be resolved by them.


Is a lease same as partnership?
Characteristics of each?

How would you describe relationship between owner and tenant ideally?

How detailed or how general should a lease be?


Never sign a lease unless you trust the signer/person/entity's ability to execute the

"Work with someone you enjoy and respect."

Keep it simple.

Address issues of concern or special and unique importance to signatories
with specificity yet breadth to "get at the heart" of the issues.

Try to prevent surprises.

Create a document of reasonable, clearly stated expectations.

Understand what you sign.

Be specific on financial arrangements. Keep philosophies and "artistic", or farm
specific management more general.


2. SAMPLES (from Simpson Farms)

Simpson Ranch Goals and Objectives for Sustainable Ag Farming

Simpson Ranch Farm Information

Simpson Farms Sustainable Ag Lease

Financing Equipment Letter of Agreement

Expectations List




Journal of Alternative Agriculture, "How non-operator farmland owners can
promote land stewardship", Jim Bender, Volume 2, No.3, 1987, Page 98.

Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Jim Bender "Converting to pesticide-free
farming: Coping with institutions" (Jan/Feb 1990)

Land Link, Center for Rural Affairs, Post Office Box 406, Walthill, NE 68067-

"Adjusting Farm Tenancy Practices to Support Sustainable Ag", by Prof. Neil D.
Hamilton. Nat'l Center for Ag Law Research and Info. @ Univ. of Arkansas
College of Law. 1990



Facilitator and participant identification and discussion on components from

Component examples:

Term of lease
Gov't Program
Owner's Payment
Owner's Expenses
Special Crops, i.e. hay/alfalfa
Legal aspects (liability, termination, crop insurance, access, oil & gas,
eminent domain, heirs/successors, assignment,
liability insurance, etc.
Financial capacity to perform
Farm Plan (soil conservation, livestock, herbicides, fertility, rotation,
cover crop, experiments/demos, tillage, etc.)


Have participants build (choose components) their own lease.

Simpson Ranch
4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway
Suite 132
Fairway, Kansas 66205
(913) 236-7333



1. Long-term preservation and enhancement of productive soils.
2. Reasonable sustained profits.
3. Minimize adverse impact on environment.


1. Do not use excess N and/or P & K.

2. Maintain or increase % organic matter and obtain as much N as
possible from legumes, cover crops, residue, manure, to
decrease cost of chemical fertilizer, and to improve soil

3. Increase cover crops, inter-cropping, strip cropping to
decrease soil erosion.

4. Emphasize rotations to minimize need for herbicides and

5. Introduce banding, timely tillage and other sustainable weed
control practices which reduce chemical usage.

6. Look at strip cropping and/or inter-cropping as a way to
accomplish many of the above objectives, using conventional
equipment and practices.

7. Consider ridge till in the future to accomplish goals.


"Simpson Ranch, has for some time, wanted to initiate programs on
its farms that move in the direction of lowering inputs while still
maintaining its level of income. Simpson Ranch is concerned about
protecting ground water and surface water from pesticides and
fertilizers and at the same time aggressively reducing soil
erosion. We are committed to this change and feel that it is one
that will protect the environment, sustain the soil for
generations, and at the same time maintain or increase your income
and that of Simpson Ranch."

Letter to Simpson Ranch operators from John M. Simpson, Oct. 1988

Simpson Ranch
4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway
Suite 132
Fairway, Kansas 66205
(913) 236--7333

SIMPSON RANCH Farm Information

Scott Voigts Dairy Farm
E Hiawatha
Gordon Bruning No
W Hiawatha
Terry & Robert

N of Effingham Small beef
Rick Taliaferro herd

Leavenworth Farm
Sam & Craig Hogs and
Lohman beef herd
Sam & Craig Hogs and
Lohman beef herd
Buck Knipp No

Emery Frost No

for S/R




Application Gov't
of Fert :Other Chem Payment

Farmer : Co-op

Farmer t Farmer
2 -

Both t Farmer


Co-op : Co-op

Co-op : Co-op

Co-op :Farmer

Both : Co-op









On Farm "Research"

Ridge till 10-14% slopes
strip Cropping
Three strips O/CL C SB

How farm end of 10 years?

Interested in cover crops
following wheat
Keep "cover" on year round

1-Clover in wheat-plow down
2-80 ac strip crop 1992 for
HEL compliance instead of
terrace or no till

Bottomland on Stranger
Creek floods 1 of 5 yrs
Clover in wheat 1991. Ex-
treme drought 1991.

Wanted to try clover in
wheat 2 yrs but dryness
did not allow it


1/3 farm in alfalfa

CRP whole Farm 90-91

Rick newest farmer
1991 & 1992
Most skilled

Sam at Thompson
Field Day

Farm close to
Lohman's house

Emery & father before
him farmed this farm
20 or 30 years for
Simpson Ranch

- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I -- -- -- -- -- --

- - - - - - - - - - - - - ------------"' -' -----------

Simpson Ranch
4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway
Suite 132
Fairway, Kansas 66205
(913) 236-7333


This lease is made this day of 19 ,
between (Lessor/Owner's Name) (hereafter referred to as "O"
Owner and (Lessee/Farmer's Name) (hereinafter referred to
as "F" Farmer

O hereby leases to F and F hereby
leases from O the following described real estate in
County (State)

Jarbalo Farm

Legal description:
That portion of the Northwest 1/4 of Section 3, Township 10,
Range 21, (approximately 105 acres) owned by 0

That real estate is hereafter referred to as the "farm", and it is
leased to F upon the following terms and conditions:

1. The term of this lease begins on and ends

2. O desires to have the farm operated so that its goals
for the farm are attained. The following are the goals of 0
and F shall conduct farming operations so that there is
progress towards those goals:

(a) Maintenance of positive sustained annual net income
which results in a reasonable return on O 's investment.

(b) Management and operation of the farm in ways which lead
to long-term preservation and enhancement of productive soils.

(c) Implementation of farming practices which minimize
adverse impacts on the immediate and off-farm environment.

3. F shall faithfully and promptly in a good farmer-like
manner and at the proper times, plan, prepare, and plant the
cultivated lands. During the growing season, F agrees to

cultivate or take other appropriate steps to keep the growing
crops reasonably free of weeds, insects, pests, and other damaging
growths. When the crops are ripe and mature, F agrees to
harvest them in a prompt and expeditious manner, and to deliver
his/her and 0 's share of them to the customary markets.

4. F shall plant crops on cultivated land in compliance
with any government programs which are applicable to the leased
land, and if at any time during the term hereof any of the leased
land is entered into any government program, it shall be upon
terms and conditions mutually agreed upon by the parties.

5. Except for alfalfa or other hay crops, F agrees to
account for and deliver to 0 rent as follows:

(a) One-half of all grain delivered to the local market,
free of expense to 0 except as specified in paragraph 6

(b) One-half of all government crop program payments.

(c) F shall not sell or market 0 's share of
the crops without written consent of 0 or 0 's autho-
rized agent. In the event F is authorized to sell 0 's
share of the crops, payment shall be made in the name of O

6. Except for alfalfa or other hay crops, 0 agrees to pay
the expenses as follows:

(a) One-half of all seed, fertilizer, herbicides and insec-

(b) The entire cost of lime, but any lime application must
have written approval.

(c) Seventeen Dollars ($17.00) per acre for combining
O 's one-half of the crop.

(d) Eleven cents ($.11) per bushel for O 's one-half
share of grain delivered to elevator within 15 miles. If it is a
greater distance, hauling will be agreed upon at a normal hauling

(e) One-half of the soil testing fee which is $3.00 per
cultivated acre. Terms of payment for the soil testing services
shall be those specified by Crop Quest of Dodge City, Kansas.
F shall conduct soil testing in accordance with the program
developed by Crop Quest for the farm. F shall not exceed
rates of application of fertilizers recommended by Crop Quest
without prior approval of 0

7. If F shall raise an alfalfa crop on the farm, 0

and F shall share income and expense for that crop as

(a) F shall be entitled to 75% of the crop, and 0
shall be entitled to .5% of the crop. 0 's share of the crop
shall be harvested and stored by F in the same manner as
the share of F.

(b) F. shall pay all the costs of planting, produc-
tion, harvesting, hauling, and sales.

(c) shall report the results of each cutting to
O within two weeks of the completion of cutting, swathing,
baling, or stacking. The report shall include, but not be limited
to, date of cutting and baling or stacking, condition of the
cutting, estimated quantity in tons (pounds) per unit and total
tons in the cutting, estimated by the following method:
F shall select 50 small square bales or 5 large bales or
stacks at random from across the field, and the weight of those
bales or stacks shall be determined. The average weight of each
of those bales or stacks shall be multiplied by the total number
of bales or stacks in the cutting to determine the weight of the
hay produced in a cutting.

(d) 0 shall be paid for 0 's share of each
cutting within 45 days of completion of each cutting. The price to
be paid for 0 's share shall be the amount that it is sold
for before the end of that 45 day period. If any of the crop is
sold, it shall be.considered that 25% of the part sold belongs to
O If all or part of 0 's share is not sold at the
end of that 45 day period, O shall be paid at that time for
O 's share that is not sold. The purchase price for that
unsold share shall be the price quoted in the High Plains Journal
first published after each cutting is available for use. The
price shall reflect (1) the price applicable to Southeast Kansas
and (2) the dairy premium price for dairy hay unless F 's
post-cutting report specifies that adverse weather prevented
F from putting up premium quality hay, and if that is the
case, the preferred price for feed lot quality hay shall be used.

8. F shall not graze livestock on any of the cultivated
land, or permit others to do so without permission of 0 in

9. F shall not sublet or assign this lease without the
written consent of 0

10. F agrees at all times to save 0 harmless from
all loss, liability, costs, or damages that may occur or be
claimed with respect to any person or persons, corporation,
property or chattels on or about the farm or to the property
itself resulting from any act done or omission by or through

F his agents, employees, invitees or any person on the
land by reason of F 's use or occupancy or resulting from
F 's non-use or possession of said property and any and all
loss, cost, liability or expense resulting therefrom. At all
times F shall maintain tne farm in a safe and careful

11. Q or 0 's authorized agent may enter the farm at
reasonable hours to examine the same and to do anything 0
may be required to do hereunder or which Q may deem neces-
sary for the good of the farm or any improvements.

12. Under no circumstances shall F retain possession of
the farm or any part thereof beyond the expiration of this lease
without written permission of 0 Any plowing or any other
work performed by F on the farm prior to the termination of
this lease shall give F no right to hold over, and he/she
shall quit and surrender the property and farm in as good state
and condition as when accepted, reasonable wear and tear excepted,
upon the expiration hereof. If F has crops, other than
alfalfa or hay, growing on the farm at the time of the termination
of the lease and if F planted those other crops before
he/she received notice of termination of the lease, then F
shall have the right to harvest those crops and receive his/her
share of said crops so harvested. F shall have no right to
an alfalfa or hay crop after the lease terminates.

13. If the farm or any part thereof shall be taken by any compe-
tent authority under the power of eminent domain or be acquired
for any public or quasi-public use or purpose, this lease shall
terminate as to the part taken. Any and all awards, damages or
allowances awarded or allowed with respect to any condemnation or
eminent domain proceeding shall be the property of 0 and
F shall have no claim or part in any award; except it is
provided, that if the condemning authority allows, in addition to
the value of the property taken, a separate and additional award
for crop damages, F shall be allowed his share of the value
of the growing crops and any preparation done toward the planting
or growing of crops on the farm so condemned. F shall have
the right to remove any personal property located on the part
acquired by eminent domain if the acquiring body so permits and
subject to other terms of this lease.

14. This lease is made expressly subject to any oil and gas lease
or leases now existing, if any, and 0 has the right to
execute and deliver future oil and gas leases, division orders,
pipe line and unitization agreements and to grant easements and
rights of way or any other interest in and to the farm necessary
for the furtherance of production of oil, gas and other minerals
from the farm, to all of which this lease shall be subject.

15. If default be made by F of any of the terms and condi-

tions of this lease or in the accounting to Q Q
shall have the right to enter and take possession of the farm or
any part thereof, whereupon this lease shall terminate and F
shall peaceably deliver possession without process of law, and
such termination shall not entitle to any rebate of the
rental paid at the time of such termination, and F shall be
liable for any loss or damage suffered by Q for F 's
failure to comply with the terms hereof.

16. The provisions and conditions of this lease shall bind and
inure to the benefit of the legal representatives, heirs, succes-
sors and assigns of each of the parties hereto, except that no
assignment or subletting by F without the written consent of
0 shall vest any right in the assignee or sublessee of

17. In addition to the foregoing agreements, it is further

(a) 0 and F at their own expense, shall
provide for such insurance on crops, improvements on the farm, and
the contents thereof, as each of them may deem necessary or
advisable to protect their own interest.

(b) F covenants and agrees to maintain at all times,
(at F 's expense) during the term of this lease, comprehen-
sive public liability insurance in a responsible insurance compa-
ny, licensed to do business in (State) and satisfactory to 0
properly protecting and indemnifying 0 in an amount of not
less than three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) for injury
to or death of any persons arising out of any one occurrence, and
not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) for
property damage. F shall furnish O with a certifi-
cate or certificates of insurance, covering such insurance so
maintained by F on or before

approval prior to the beginning of spring field work. The plan
shall contain a description of practices F intends to
implement during the term of this lease, consistent with the goals
specified in paragraph 2. F 's plan shall contain but not
be limited to the following:

(1) At least one experiment or research project which
F intends to implement on one or more selected plots. The
experiment or research should be tailored to demonstrate the
effects of a change in farming practices consistent with 0 's
goals specified in paragraph 2 and which follow standard farm
extension research procedures. The size of the plot should be
inversely proportional to the level of risk or uncertainty inher-
ent in the experiment. (Examples: Replace broadcast herbicide
spray with banded spray, ridge-till, intercrops and covercrops,

high-value or novelty crops, organic farming.)

(2) A listing of any changes in farming practices to be
applied to the whole farm or tq whole fields. (Examples: elimi-
nation of fall tillage, elimination of one or more pre-plant
tillage operations, replacement of disking with undercutting,
split application of fertilizer, integration of livestock, wild-
life habitat enhancement.)

(3) A description of continuing education measures
F intends to carry out to keep abreast of new knowledge in
the area of sustainable/alternative/low-input/ or organic farming.
This should include but not be limited to: meetings, symposia,
seminars, workshops, field days; periodicals F now receives
and or plans to acquire; (Examples: "Dick & Sharon Thompson Field
Days", Kansas Rural Center Farm Tours or Conferences, Ridge Till
Conference, Experiment Station Farm Tours on legumes, cover
cropping, reducing chemicals, etc., Kansas Rural Center publica-
tions, "The New Farm" magazine, "American Journal of Alternative
Agriculture", Minnesota Land Stewardship Newsletter and publica-

Optional *
18. F also agrees to place and maintain on the farm at
all times a minimum of six.No-Hunting signs. These signs shall
be placed in positions clearly visible to the public. 0
and its guests may hunt on the farm at any time or place.
F shall not give permission to any person to hunt on the

9. F will provide to 0 at 0 's office, on or
before (date 2 months prior to beginning of lease) documenta-
tion (financial statement, or letter from lender) satisfactory to
O of F 's financial ability to carry out the terms
of a similar lease that might be entered into for the succeeding
crop year.

The parties have signed this lease on the date first above writ-

(Owner's name typed):

By: (signature) Date:
Partner, Trustee, Owner


(Farmer's name typed):

By: (signature)


Simpson Ranch
4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway
Suite 132
Faiway, Kansas 66205
(913) 236-7333


SIMPSON RANCH (S.R.)shall pay Scott Voigts (full purchase price)
for purchase of ridge till cultivator, to be used in development
and implementation of a ridge till system of farming on entire
tillable acres (440 ac.) of Voigts Farm during the period 1993 to
December 31, 1997.

In return SIMPSON RANCH requires that Scott Voigts make a good
farmer reasonable effort, as detailed in the attached document,
"Expectations 1993", to keep the Voigts Farm in HEL compliance
according to Brown Co. SCS, while implementing the described
ridge till system.

Equipment under consideration for purchase in order of purchasing
sequence is as follows:
Buffalo Cultivator : 1993 or 1994
Planter-one of the options below, 1994 or 1995
Modifications or additional eqpt. on Voigts planter.
John Deere planter with modifications or other suitable
substitute planter equipment.
Buffalo planter.

Method of Payment to Voigts by S.R.:
S.R. is willing to pay Voigts (2/3 of purchase price) upon
purchase of cultivator equipment plus 4 equal payments per year -
(1/3 of purchase price divided by four equal payments) each
payment. The payments shall be made on January 1st of 1994,
1995, 1996 and 1997.

SIMPSON RANCH claim on equipment:
S.R. will not own the cultivator upon purchase.
Voigts may not sell or mortgage the cultivator prior to
December 31, 1997, or unless this agreement is terminated as
below, .or by other mutual agreement between Voigts and S.R.
Conditions where S.R. may claim or sell the cultivator are
as follows:
During the period from March 1993 until December 31, 1997,
if Scott Voigts is unable due to illness, disability or death, or

fails through lack of effort to fulfill the intent of
implementing a ridge till system as described in the attached
document, "Expectations February 1993", or his lease with S.R. is
not renewed by him or S.R., S.R. may claim the cultivator. If
S.R. claims the cultivator, then Voigts may pay S.R. an amount
equal to payments already paid to Voigts less 10% per year and
Voigts owns the cultivator. If S.R. claims the cultivator, and
if Voigts does not elect to pay S.R. for it, S.R. has the right
to sell the cultivator and keep the proceeds of the sale.

S.R. shall not have any claim on the cultivator or rights to
reimbursement after December 31, 1997.

Scott Voigts


John M. Simpson


Sarah S. Dean



Concerns and topics which must be addressed before entering into
an equipment/ridge till system agreement with Scott,:

Identify WATERWAYS and TILE OUTLETS with Matt Sprick, Brown
County SCS, which need installation as soon as possible, in order
to apply for cost share in 1993.

COMPLETING by end of 1994. Scott coordinate with SCS and
contractor. Sarah, (owner), must be kept informed as to cost.
Expecting maximum $7000 if no cost share. With cost share, maybe
$4 or $5,000. Scott monitor cost, cost share applications, and
construction. --

What are cost share deadlines for 1993 and 1994?
Likely areas needing attention:
Field # 4 w of house, currently in alfalfa.
There are 3 or four areas. Are any on the east side
eligible for cost share?
Field #2 N. across cement.
Are we sure what we want? Or want to delay until are
more certain? Especially since we will not get any
cost share.
Field #8 S of house.
Same as field #2. Are we sure what we want?
No cost share since considered repair.
Field # 7 Large field, drains to E into "creek". Steep.
Four areas? New, so eligible for cost share?
SCHEDULE THESE FIRST? to apply for cost share '93 and
again '94?
Field #6 N ridge till field. "L" extension with outlets.
SCHEDULED SPRING 1993 with cost share.

What I would like to see in,5 years Year-end 1997:

All cropland in ridge till.
Alfalfa on 1/4 to 1/3 of farm. Trying strips of alf in some
Other crops in rotation: wheat, SB, Milo or 90 day corn.
Ultimate goal is like Gary Leosing, Nebraska University
Extension, proposed with alf in for 3 or 4 years strips, then
rotating by fields, wheat, SB, M in the strips of alfalfa.

Reduced by at least 75% from 1992.
Working towards complete elimination.

Usage of manure as much as possible. More control on testing and
application. Work with Crop Quest.
How will manure be incorporated into ridge till system?

Cover and Intercropping:
This will not be fully developed by 5 years, but we should be
experimenting with legumes, within that time.
Develop vetch, clover, or oats to help with supplying nitrogen
and to keep areas covered in winter, especially following beans.
Use to suppress weeds and incorporate for soil building.

COMPLIANCE Scott's Responsibility
1993 & 1994 We will be in compliance. Construct outlets & ww.

1995 It would be nice to be in compliance with clever usage of
alfalfa and ridge till on most of the cropland. Maybe some oats
or vetch over winter '94/'95 for cover to maintain compliance.
I am willing to accept non-compliance for this year if need be.

1996 and into the future. We should be in compliance with
combinations of ridge till, alfalfa in fields or strips where
needed, cropping W/SB/M or C, beginning intercropping and cover,

Necessary prior to agreement. -5 maps: 1993, '94, '95, '96, and
'97 (prepared by farmer, Scott Voigts).
The maps identify cropping sequences and plans for
introducing ridge till, by fields, by year. The maps identify
alfalfa in fields or strips and introduction of
intercropping/cover cropping.
This is our plan of intent.

LAND LINK REALTY Allen Prosch, Broker
101 South Tallman Phone (402) 846-5428
P.O. Box 405
Walthill, Ne 68067



4A~'D.E2 I,.E S.E

J Land Link Realty is a service of the Center for



This agreement, made and executed this ____ day of

,19__, by and between of the

county of ___, State of Nebraska, hereinafter called

"Landlord and of the county of

State of Nebraska, hereinafter called

"Tenant": WITNESSETH, That the Landlord, in consideration for

the rents and covenants herein specified, does hereby let and

lease to the Tenant the following described property, situated in

the county of _, State of Nebraska, to wit:

together with the appurtenances thereunto belonging, for the term

of years, commencing the day of 19_, and

ending on the __ day of 19 Said Tenant does

hereby hire said premises, and agrees with the Landlord, as

payment to said Landlord for the use, benefit, and occupancy of

the above described premises, that s/he will and does hereby bind

himself/herself as follows:

First: To cultivate all the tillable land on said premises

in a sustainable manner as follows:

1) Weed and Pest Control
a) (see sample clauses)
2) Tillage Practices
a) (see sample clauses)
3) Management of Soil Nutrients
a) (see sample clauses)
4) Soil Conservation Practices
a) (see sample clauses)
5) General Stewardship Practices

Second. That s/he will allow no waste during his/her occupancy

of said premises, of fencing thereon, of timber, nor damage to

any building thereon, natural wear and tear or damage by the

elements excepted..

Third. Said Tenant does hereby further agree that s/he will,

at his/her own expense, during the continuance of the lease, keep said

premises and every part thereof in good repair; that s/he will not

sublease, release, or assign this lease, without the written

consent of said Landlord; and that s/he will, at the expiration of

said term of rental, yield and deliver up the property herein

rented in like condition as was taken, together with all

improvements that may be placed thereon by said Landlord during

his/her occupancy thereof, reasonable use and wear thereof and damages

by the elements excepted.

Fourth. For the use of said premises for the term

mentioned, s/he hereby covenants and promises to pay to said

Landlord a percent share of crops grown, properly take

care of, at the same time and in the same manner in which said

Tenant shall take care of his/her portion of said crops; and when

harvested, said Landlord's share of said grain shall be delivered

at a place and time designated by the Landlord.

Fifth. The Landlord does covenant that said Tenant, on

delivering the aforesaid share of grain in the manner herein

stated, and performing all the covenants aforesaid, shall and may

peaceably and quietly have, hold and enjoy the said premises for

the term aforesaid: provided, that in case any rent shall be due

and unpaid, or if default shall be made in any of the covenants

herein contained, or said Tenant shall allow undue waste or

destruction of any of the grain growing thereon, then it shall be

lawful for said Landlord, to reenter and repossess the said

premises at once and the Tenant and each and every occupant remove

and put out.

Sixth. The Landlord, or its lawful successor in interest,

hereby reserves the right to reenter the aforesaid premises after

the day of 19_ Witness our hands the

day and year first above written.




The parties hereto agree to all of the following

provisions and attach them to the lease dated and signed on

the day of __, 19_.

The land covered by this lease will be used in approximately

the following manner. Appropriate adjustments of this use can

be made by mutual agreement between the parties.


A. Row crops acres

B. Small grain acres

C. Legumes


D. Other Crop acres


A. Permanent Pasture acres

B. Rotated Pasture


C. _acres

D. __ acres

The following agricultural practices will be adhered to

when operating the land.


(see sample clauses)


(see sample clauses)


(see sample clauses)


(see sample clauses)


(see sample clauses)

Dated this day of 19

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