The AID/USDA, CSU memorandum of...
 The San Luis Valley research/extension...
 Significance to other projects

Title: The San Luis Valley researchextension project : : an approach to develpment of an irrigated agricultural system.
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080682/00001
 Material Information
Title: The San Luis Valley researchextension project : : an approach to develpment of an irrigated agricultural system.
Physical Description: 6 leaves ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Colorado State University.
Publisher: Colorado State University,
Publication Date: 1986?
Subject: Agricultural extension work -- San Luis Valley (Colo. and N.M.)
Irrigation farming -- San Luis Valley (Colo. and N.M.)
Irrigation efficiency -- Research -- San Luis Valley (Colo. and N.M.)
Spatial Coverage: United States of America -- Colorado.
United States of America -- New Mexico.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080682
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 173257040

Table of Contents
        Page 1 (MULTIPLE)
    The AID/USDA, CSU memorandum of understanding
        Page 2
    The San Luis Valley research/extension project
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Significance to other projects
        Page 5
        Page 6
Full Text


An Approach to Development of an Irrigated Agricultural System


Much effort and expenditure have been given to the development of

irrigated agricultural systems in the United States and in other nations. In

the U.S. development was initiated in the later years of the 19th century, was

promoted by large public investment until the 1970's and has slackened in the

last recent decade. It has tended to be capital intensive and highly

technical, and is concentrated in the area west of the Mississippi River.

In other nations of the world, irrigated agricultural systems were

developed much earlier, some dating back to the times of the Romans and some

even earlier. In recent times efforts have been directed to the rehabilitation

and perhaps expansion of these systems. The technical expertise of Americans

and Europeans has been employed in many projects. Colorado State University

has been a leading institution in provision of assistance to countries desirous

of rehabilitation and development of irrigated agricultural systems.

Activities and Experience of Colorado State University

For about two decades faculty members of CSU, often cooperating with

colleagues from other universities, have worked with professional persons and

farmers in such countries as Pakistan, India, Egypt, Thailand, Indonesia and

Srilanka to develop irrigated agricultural systems. They have worked to

develop allocative mechanisms, distribution systems, on-farm application

methods and other aspects of systems that are necessary to efficient use of

usually scarce water supplies. Their efforts have been supported by the host

countries, by the Agency for International Development, by several foundations,

and by the institutions of the faculty members. Efforts have generally been

extended over several years for each project and have usually been judged

successful in terms of the kind and level of development.

An important product of the activities and experiences of CSU faculty

members has been the interdisciplinary approach to agricultural systems

development. Early efforts, led by engineers who specialized in water

developments and uses, did not often include the economic analyses, the

evaluations of soils and crops, and the consideration of institutions and

cultural affairs necessary to ready adoption of new technology and

implementation of appropriate managerial techniques and strategies. Gradually

the relevant expertise was added to the teams of researchers, via the

employment of faculty from disciplines such as agronomy, economics, and

sociology, and the members began to function as interdisciplinary teams in the

project areas. In the last decade or so, few projects have been initiated that

have not been comprehensive in scope and interdisciplinary in approach.

The AID/USDA. CSU Memorandum of Understanding

An important participant in many of the developmental projects of the

past 2-3 decades has been the Agency for International Development of the

U. S. Department of State. The agency has contributed to several projects in

which CSU has been involved and its administrators are aware of the

considerable expertise which has developed at CSU. To support a continuing

involvement of faculty members, to train new research and extension personnel

in developmental methods, and to further develop the approaches, the methods,

and the strategies of interdisciplinary research and agricultural development,

the agency extended a "program support grant" to CSU, via a Memorandum of

Understanding. The responsible entity within CSU is the Office of


International Programs. Participating in the programs determined by the

M.O.U. are subject matter departments that have been involved in agricultural

development plus the Extension Service. The M.O.U. is planned for an

indefinite period of time, having as its purpose the continuing support of an

institution and its faculty who are contributing significantly to agricultural

development. Particular areas of concentration are:

1. Water resource development and use in agriculture

2. Strengthening of national systems of research, extension and education

3. Rainfed, dryland agricultural development

4. Agricultural sector analysis -- pricing, marketing and policy

The San Luis Valley Research/Extension Project

With the purposes of the "program support grant" in mind, administrators

and advisors within the Office of International Programs conceived of a project

that would (1) contribute to the development of an irrigated agricultural

system in Colorado, (2) demonstrate and further refine the approaches, methods

and strategies of interdisciplinary research and development, (3) involve CSU

faculty members with significant international experience, and (4) provide

training of graduate students interested in overseas, developmental efforts.

The San Luis Valley, in south-central Colorado, was identified as a significant

irrigated agricultural system. Within that system are two or more

sub-systems. One is a highly developed, capital intensive sub-system

characterized by state-of-the-art technology, good management and high-value

crop enterprises. Another (perhaps the other system) is a modestly developed,

questionably managed sub-system, characterized by limited capital commitment,

decades-old technology and low-value crop and livestock enterprises. The

latter was judged to be representative of systems in other countries where


rehabilitation and development has been/is being attempted, and one where

expertise can be usefully applied and training can take place. Contact with

concerned, local farmers, et al. was made and agreement was reached on the

initiation of a developmental project.

Goals established for the San Luis Valley Research and Extension Project

at its initiation were related to early observation of conditions within the

project area and were two:

1. Improve the functioning of the sub-system of irrigated agriculture

2. Improve the social and economic welfare of residents of the project

After a year of study of the project area -- reviewing secondary sources

of information, meeting and consulting with clientele, observing and

documenting resource uses and productive agricultural activities, and gaining

acquaintance with people, families, organizations and institutions -- the field

team felt some discomfort with the earlier stated goals. They found them to be

too general for practical application, not particularly relevant to interests

and expressed needs of clientele, and beyond the capability of the team in

terms of time, money and effort available for expenditure. They, therefore,

revised the goals statement to read:

To enhance the opportunities and means for survival of farm units

and for sustainability of agriculture in the project area.

This statement reflects the concerns of many clientele for survival in this

difficult agricultural economic situation; it reflects the general community

interest in maintenance of the existing structure of agriculture in the area;

it recognizes the limited physical, capital and human resources of the area;

and it recognizes an apparent aversion to risk, including that which would be

associated with significant change in resource use and agricultural

enterprise. Consistent with the goal statement, the team has established


operational objectives and developed work plans which are directed to the

identification of problems' solutions and alternative ways of doing things in

agriculture that are implementable -- without large risks, within financial

capacity of clientele, and not requiring extensive training or education. The

suggestions and recommendations of the team, as it works with interested and

cooperating project-area members, will be directed to (1) improvement of the

functioning of the sub-system of irrigated agriculture and (2) improvement of

the social and economic welfare of residents in the project area. But they

will be fit within the realistic limits and constraints of our clientele and of

the interdisciplinary team.

Significance to Other Projects

The observations and experience of the team through two and one-half

years of project lifetime have made evident the relationship of the project to

overseas, developmental efforts in which CSU has been and is presently

involved. The project area is much like those with which we have worked

internationally. Resources are relatively scarce; the technology employed is

modest in extent and application; and levels of management are often less than

those possible with relevant education of farm operators. Developmental

opportunities exist -- even within the constraints of limited capital which are

so evident. Improvements in productivity are possible, with small but

substantive changes in technology and management. Positive change in gross

farm incomes has already been realized via improved marketing of produce (hay)

through an association of farmers.

The similarity of the project area to those with which are are involved

in other countries has made possible (1) the use and development of methodology

which is appropriate to and usually employed in such projects, (2) the training

of graduate students and younger faculty interested in agricultural

development, and (3) a demonstration of research and extension linkages which

will be useful to projects of the future. A paper in which application of

methodology is discussed (a supplement to the 1985 report of activities) makes

evident some of the problems of interdisciplinary research, conducted on-site

with cooperative efforts of project area farmers. The successful effort sof

the team in coping with such problems are described. A notable achievement is

the integration of disciplinary efforts in problems-oriented research.

The faculty members of the team (students' advisors) have generally been

experienced in developmental research and extension activities. Younger

faculty have been involved periodically, and the graduate student members have

been thoroughly immersed in the research activities. To date two student

members of the team are employed in overseas' projects directed by CSU faculty.

Others have interest in agricultural development in other countries.

Noteworthy in the SLVR/E project is the involvement of area extension

personnel in the research and extension activities. All of the area (five

county) extension personnel are informed of the SLVR/E project and two are

involved with the team in research activities. Two research efforts have

produced output (technical recommendations) which is being reported by the

local agents. Other efforts hold a promise of results that may soon be worthy

of extension to farmers throughout the San Luis Valley. Discernment of

research needs in the project area has caused one new research activity at the

local CSU Experiment Station, i.e. small grain varietal trials. The extension

director in the Valley has several times offered and given support to the

project as he has discerned the need and opportunity. This experience with

extension staff should be interesting and useful to others involved in

development efforts.

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