Title: JCARD presentation texts
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Title: JCARD presentation texts
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Language: English
Creator: Hildebrand, Peter E.
Publisher: Food and Resource Economics Dept., Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 19?
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Full Text
Page I i

Dr. Hildebrand

FSSP Presentation a.m.

We will talk about the farming systems approach to agricultural research and extension.

There are two primary ways you can go when you think in terms of farming systems.

Farming systems very breifly means: getting a real understanding of the farm system

you are doing research for or working with)before you start coming up with solutions

(for what ever kind of solutions you are talking about). Very briefly, it involves

getting very well acquainted with the farming system and working within a farming

system (a identified system). To do that you can work either in the broad aspects

which are the policy levels, the market channels etc. where you have a high degree

of variables relative to the number of parameters. Parameter are those things which

you consider fixed and you can't change and variable are those things that you can

work with help to come up with solutions. On the other hand what we are concentrating

more with here at the University of Florida, at the present time, is the dissemination

and development of improved technologies for the farmers themselves, on the farm,where

you have a high ratio of parameters to variables. You tend to take such things as the

existence or non-existance of credit systems as given and you don't work within developing

a credit system. So briefly what we will be talking about here, more, is on-farm tech-

nology rather than solutions to problems involving marketing, credit and other aspects

which we don't minimize but which at the present time we are not concentrating on heavily.

FSR/E is an applied client orientated agro-biological research supported by socio-

economic scientists. So it is biological research largely, supported by the social

scientists, including economics, and a team effort. That is very important and enhanced

by extension responsibilities. This is the bottom line when we are talking about

family farms, we are really talking about the livelyhood of the farmers. It is intimately

involved with the farmer.

For whcm is FSR/E Dr. Popenoe mentioned small farms this is a term frequently

Page 2


Dr. Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

used and abused,no one understands it and they always want it -defined. Limited

resource farms is perhaps a little better definition but that is difficult also

I think possibly a better definition is farms which refer to home rather then refers

to business. They're the ones you cannot just provide a business answer because a

farmer that is risking his home is not apt to make decisions like a manager of ;a

business, where if it goes bad he is not looseing his home. So/tIRtkiy factor
in here, it involves the family much more so than just a business.

Why must technology be generated specifically for the small family farm. Again,

Dr. Popenoe mentioned that we find we have alot of things now that aren't X&IN

research. This farm,irrigated tobacco, obviously has a whole different

picture to work from then this tobacco farmer. These are both in North Florida.

Taken very few miles apart. They're different kinds of farmers and they simply

require different approaches to technology. solution to problems their problems

are different. Three factors are important in making the small family farm different

from the farm that is first a business. These factors affect the appropriateness of

biological technology. Quantity and quality of physical resources.We find alot of

differences both in quantity and quality of the resources of the small family have.

Diversification of enterprises, they usually have a lot more enterprises they are

managed so their management time is scattered out. And the quantiy and quality

of management, simply because of that and also because they are also very often

parttime farmers. They are not farming full time. If we look in an economic sense

this a production response curve. I think most of you have seen it. Input and

Response. If we consider a farm that has very few resources we actually start

putting in input down here. A farm that has a lot of resources will have residual

fertility and other aspects so when he starts applying, he's applying from there.

So what you get from added inputs a small farm will face this kind of response

a good resource farm will face this kind. So if you think in terms of half a unit

you get very little response and in the case of poor resources put a half unit here

Page 3

Dr. Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

and you get alot of response to a farm with good resources to start with. So

the quality of the resources on the farm is very important and you can't make

blanket recommendations.

Another factor which is very important is the learning curve, the learning

aspects, you don't learn immediately how to use new technology you've got to study

it and work with it. So that eventho you think here's the potential of a new

technology of theirs with the potential of the present technology you try it.

You don't necessarily get those results the first year. We have three learning

curves here shifting the curve to the left so that you learn very fast its

either simpler technology or you've got a faster learner. A faster learner could

be a person who is a full time manager. Maybe he has a college education etc.

Shifting to the right where you take alot longer to learn and meet potential it is

either more complex technology or a slower learner. Slower learner in the sense

that he is not full time managing. He doesn't have the time to devote to studying

all the technology. Economically you have,with present technology, gross income,

and the cost, and the net income potential from that and then the farmers

facing this as potential productivity of the new technology. So what happens if

he has difficulty learning and using it,he can make a loss at first before he begins

to get the benefits of new technology.

With small units, small farms, it takes along time to amoratize this big loss

here, with future added income. These things all add up to let us know that we do

have to have probably simpler technologies for small family farmers, then we need

for large commercial farmers with full time management etc.

How do we work with this type of a situation, when we are working on farms?

Whether its in Malawi, and these happen to be natives from Malawi, or in any other

country. You have a whole lot of different enviornments on farms. Enviornment in

this context, I won't go technically in to how it is derived, but this represents

a better enviornment for whatever reason for raising this crop. This represents a

poorer enviornment for whatever reason for raising this crop this happens to be

Page 4
Dr. Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

corn. Poor enviornment could be poor soils or it could be, for instance, a widow

who is trying to farm and doesn't have the strength to do much of a good job of

farming even though she is on good soil and one of these dots represents one

like that Overhere you can have.a young male farmer, full of energy and

even though he is on poorer land he creates and enviornment that's better for

raising corn. So looking at farm data, on-farm data, you can get an indication

of what happens two different enviornments on different kinds of farms.

At experiment stations, these are the experimental data from the same trials on the

station at the Chitedze experiment station in Lilongwe, are generally speaking on

superior enviornment. Now that doesn't mean that this is completely separate from

on-farm research. Many people have thought that on-farm research or farming systems

research means that you separate the two. What it really means is that this

enviornment is added information. You can utilize experimental data, and on-farm

data to get a better range and therefore make better estimates.

Research, on-farm and station research is a sequence where you move from

exploring different alternatives to looking and searching for those that are

better and finally getting down to the point where you let the farmers themselves

really look at it and help you decide. You define recommendation domains which are

types of farms within which a particular technology is superior. You can get -

this is the response of one technology. You can have another technology that might

have this kind of a response so that for poor farms this technology is better and

for the farms with the better enviornment this technology is better. So you can

partition or refine recommendation domains by working with research on farms.

Basically what we are talking about is compressing research, extension cr//frm

into an area where we have all three, researchers, 4% X~K#X and farmers working
together, in farming systems research and extension.

Page 5

Dr. Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

Now as you mentioned breifly, IrJA in Guatemala, this is one of the few

institutions, national institutions, and possibly the only one that is organized

completely on a farming systems approach. It is sequencial from experiment~X

station you move to farm experiments managed by researchers to farmers test

experiments managed by farmers to promotion and production. There is a cycling

through here where you have agro-socio-economic information coming back and

feeding in at all aspects. This is an entire national institute that is

organized that way.

Let's look quickly at an expamle, from Guatemala of what this involves.

This is an area in Eastern Guatemala that's broken depository, it is fairly

dry, it is not high range about 700 meters. The basic system is

corn, sorgum interplanted with beans. That is also their basic food supply

and feed. Sorgum is used both as an animal feed and as a human feed.

Animals are important in the system but the animals belong predominantly

to the owners of the land rather then to the renters, so you have to take

that into consideration. Whether the type of farmer is a land owner or a


Also, the soils are such that they can't do much in the way of land preparation.

They gather up the residue from the previous crop and burn it. That's about all

they can do before planting.

I mentioned that the farming systems approach identifies problems in specific

systems. So first of all you've got define the system and then identify problems

within that system so that you know exactly what you are working on.

That's applied research.

In this area one of the important characteristics during the growing season,

is a two to four week period without any rain-that is very critical. It means a

you've got a short growing season before that and another extended one beyond that.

What that creates is a shortage of labor at planting time.. That we found out

was one of the most important limiting factors in this farm system. When it rains

Page 6
Hildebrand (Contd.) a,m,
everybody plants as fast as you can. They quite planting because they know

if they continue planting they won't be able to harvest anything because of the

S_, so they have to plant very rapidly. Therefore labor more

than land is a limiting factor for them. This is common in much Africa for

different reasons.

Another factor that we found was that bean seed is limiting. They have very

poor-storage facilities, the yield is low to begin with, they eat it, they sell

it, as you get close to planting time, of course the price goes up and there

is a tendency to sell it. So when it comes time to plant they have very little

bean seed available. So that means that the productivity of the seed is more

important then the productivity of the land on which they plant the seed because

again, they don't have time to plant more land then what they can get planted

in a very specific period of time.

So those are the two constraints that you really have to work with on a

farm situation like this in this case. Generate alternate solutions to these

specific problems. That is where your agronomic research really comes in.

We were looking here, for instance, for ways of spreading labor out at planting

time. Planting beans before the rain and then after it rained planing the corn and

the sorgum. This turned out to be to risky because although it worked quite well

they could loose their bean seed if there were light rains, began to germinate,

and then dry again before it really started to rain.

However, we did find that we could increase the productivity of the seed of bean.

Incerase the productivity of the maize per acre for ? in this case,

without decreasing production per unit of land area the beans by spreading out

the area in which you planted beans. (As one of the things we were looking at)

Page 7 Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

Test tentative solutions under farm conditions. After first working under more

controlled conditions where we were managing the project the research we began

to get on a larger plots where the farmers had much more interaction.

Here, one of the systems that looks very good to us is corn and sorgum planted

in twin rows and beans planted here. After the researchers have decided from the

basis of all the information they have gather, what they think is probably going to

be the best alternative for the farmers, under their conditions, this situation

here was used in the local maize, the local sorgum, the local beans no fertilizer

all in accord with what the farmers were actually doing. They were doing it because

they didn't have improved corn available to them, or improved sorgum (or the kind

that they liked for food) there were no better beans available so this is it. They

didn't fertilize, except very rarely, so it was in that system.

Then evaluated the exceptability to the farmers get the farmers actively

involved in farmer managed research.

This is one of the plots where we had on farms the farmer planted it, we

instructed him how, that was all. He is actually doing it. If they have to buy

fertilizer, if they have to buy insecticides, for one of the possible alternatives,

they have to do" that. So they know what problems there are Can I get the fertilizer

- Can I get the insecticide etc.? Then the real test is not what says, He says

"Ya that looks real good." but will he do it nest year on his own. So you come

back the next year to look and see. Has he done that on his own? That is active

evaluation. Here you can see the corn and the sorgum and the beans. This man

planted his entire one monsana ,/ fRhi'sa ahreha ~ d three-quarters into this system

this year because he liked it the year before that is active acceptance. They like

it. So we created an acceptability index which helps us to predict adoption in the

future. If we have a high acceptability index we have the extension

efforts then will be successful in extending the kind of technologies that are


Page 8 Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

Here at the University of Floirda the FSR/E is also being institutionalized.

It has a structure, its working with the county extension people, the state

extension people and other researchers in the system.

How did it come about? Why was Florida interested in FSR/E?

It seems to me that if we go back in history and look at the early stages of

land grant institutions we had departments they were very few in number they

had broad mandates and they were staffed by people from farms. (with a farm background)

They knew what took place on a farm what kind of problems farmers had what

involved farmer decision making. As we developed as a land grant institution,

we began to get more and more departments more and more specialized and people

within the departments became more and more specialized. This if following our

development process it is nothing to be alarmed about it is just simply what

was taking place. Bill Schmehl mentioned to me the other day that 20 25 years

ago it was not even to popular to talk about production research. For a period

of time we had a lot of agriculture surplus so people weren't thinking in terms

of production in a farm sense, they were thinking in terms of other things quite

narrow and that is what took place. You begin to lose communication with each

other and with the client, The farming systems approach utilizes scientists in

different disciplines to supply the division formerly supplied by farmer

a ?scientists. Now very few of our scientists are farmer a scientists.

Communication among scientists and between scientists and farmer returns.

The FSA ? approach is not a substitute for what exists. What exists is a very

very powerful institution. It is very very effective in working with commercial

agriculture. Rather is provides the necessary element for problem solving, client

orientated institutions that is disappeared, to work with the small scale family

farm. Which we all thought was disappearing also. That has been the trend that

is the way this whole thing has developed. Now we find it is not it is increasing

in importance and in number and certainly the world over it is a very important

institution that we have not been to effective in helping.

Page 9 Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

This new element is even more powerful then the one that disappeared because

the FSR/E team comprised of scientists from different disciplines collectively can

provide both more breath and more depth then those individual farmer scientists

were able to provide in the early days of the land grant system. So in many ways

we are now coming back to the concept we originally had with a much more powerful


Here in Florda, we are combining work with scientists who are not involved

in the assistance program directly. USDA, you may recognize Bill Hofnaegle from

OICD, there is quite an effort now involved in the North Florida project an

example of the cooperative nature of our work, this is a grazing trial on winter

wheat which is conducted at the beef research unit, one of the experiment stations

of the University.

Here is one that was conducted on a farm. You don't have the kinds of control

on a farm that you do on a station obviously, some things you can do some you

can't. He is raising these cattle, so you can't play to much with them on the farm,

On an experiment station you can move them in and out and do other things with them.

We have also found in working in No. Florida alot of I#'t&P~0X0)05v(B 4WXX

similarities with farm problems, problems of the small scale family the world over

and alot of similarities. For instance, associated planting is very common through-

out the tropics, but we also find alot of associated plantings in Florida. These

are peanuts and corn as one example. Livestock are very important as this scene

in Guatemala and in No. Florida. Livestock withNxixixx whether it is swine or

cattle or whatever are also very important. Off-farm work is very important.

These are wood carvers in Kenya. This is the situation in Eastern Ecuador where

actually the petroleum industry is what sped much of the agricultural development

in the area and the colonization projectand they continued to work parttime.

Women are very important in contributing to the economy of the entire farm

- this weaver in Guatemala or this women making a quilt in north Florida to sell.

Page 10 Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

It is all the same thing. They contribute however they can. Many times they

are the primary farmer. MWIKKXI

Marketing is a problem for small farmers. Whether it is somebody who)0Xw(

has the in the Amazon or a small farmer in Northe Florida

trying to get together enough watermelons to attract a broker or a trucker.

Inputs in small quantities is always difficult. It is difficult in North

Florida the kinds and qualities of inputs that he wants just as it is for

somebody like this in Guatemala where they don't have anyway to purchase their

bean seeds. But they raise it. If they lose their bean seed they are really in

trouble because they have to go on the market they have no idea what kinds of

beans they are KIXMI buying there is no real control.

Irrigation frequently is not available on small farms either. In Kenya or

North Florida or any where else. Very few small farms have irrigation. Storage

is a severe problem. BElieve it or not this potatoes being %XX% stored in North

Florida this is corn being stored under a house in the Amazon area. Soils,

around the world small family farmers are on poor soils. We think this is also

the case, to a certain extent, in No. Florida. Although we haven't really identified

that, but we do know that many small farmers have very poor soils.

Make do, is another/ ~Hr ctrsticvery of small farmers. This is a handmade

sugarcane press that we saw in Easter Ecuador and this is typical of the kinds of

scenes that you see around North Florida on small farms. They don't go out and buy

all the new big new/air conditioned stereo/EARor they make due with the kinds of

equipment they have.

Credit is another very important constraint that small farmers around the world.

(Have) This in North Florida this ben was built in three stages. One two and

three as the farmer had cash to build it because he either couldn't or didn't want

to get involved with the credit program. So that is another very important constraint

that we find around the world.

Page 11 Hildebrand (Contd.) a.m.

One thing that we find in common among the small farmers that we worked with

everywhere including No. Florida, is if you go out and you work with them in the

context of working with them to help them solve their problems rather then going

out and saying "look your doing it all wrong, I know better, this is how you should

be farming" then they are very willing to talk with you. To tell youttheir problems

and help you help them. That is common all around the world.

Just very breifly, some of the different kinds of situations in which we found

these things. This is Portugal where we have been working in a farming systems

program this is in the Amazon area, rain forest, completely different type -

this is one of the things we were looking at down there, hair sheep ? in the tropics

(the Wet tropics) are adapted and this can be a convenient source of meat that you

can move around in a canoe much easier than you can cattle.

This is in Honduras, again another completely different type of situation.

In Bolivia (in Eastern Bolivia). In El Salvador where we were searching for ways

to intensify land use. There land is very very restrictive and labor is very

abundant. And we were looking at ways to tremendously enhance the productivity

of the land and were able on a very small land holdings (less then an acre) to

create enough productive work for an entire family.

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