General Session I: Research and Extension Priorities
Chair: Thomas Omara-Alwala, Lincoln University, Jefferson City
Moderators: Colette DePhelps, Washington State University, Pullman
Mickie Swisher, University of Florida, Gainesville
Notes on Forum Discussion: Linking Research and Extension to Meet the
Needs of Small and Mid-Sized Farms
Small and Mid-Sized Farm Priorities as Identified by Researchers
Funding (capital sources)
Viable production practices that are both economically and environmentally sound
Research Agenda (Priority goals)
1. Research that will clarify the ties between small and mid-sized farms and communities in specific areas (i.e., economics, environment, etc.).
2. Research to investigate the link of small and mid-sized farms to Research and Extension, i.e., how Research and Extension can meet the needs of small and mid-sized farms.
3. Research to help show the linkage between agriculture and the urban sector beyond the typical stereotypes.
4. Develop generalized, replicable research that covers many farm situations.
5. Research on niche markets, alternative crops and enterprises (both agricultural and non-agricultural) that fit the specific needs of small and mid-sized farmers.
Application (Delineated Needs) Research Agenda
1. There is a need for an oriented delivery of research through effective, producer friendly media.
2. Research is needed to develop technologies that reduce costs and manage risks.
3. Systems research is needed to facilitate resource management.
4. There is a need to develop cost effective equipment.
5. Research is needed into the marketing of alternative crops and enterprises.
6. Research is needed which focuses on the genetic control of pests and diseases.
Small and Mid-Sized Farm Priorities as Identified by Extension
Financing and credit
Transition from conventional to
Enterprise budgeting, record-keeping, and basic business skills
Specialty crops and enterprises
Farm demonstrations and on-farm research efforts
Farming practices/systems and scale appropriate technologies for smaller enterprises/acreage
Management of resources
Extension Agenda (Priority goals)
1. Funding for the development and delivery of programs.
2. Flexibility in outreach programs and methods including information on demand 24 hours per day.
3. Promote attitudinal change particularly among research, Extension, and the community--develop a commitment to small and mid-sized farms.
4. Create linkages/mentoring programs.
5. Marketing issues: market availability, market feasibility, alternative systems and forms of marketing products including niche, direct, and cooperative marketing, enhancing basic marketing skills, information and communication.
6. Develop/adapt/identify scale appropriate technologies for small acreage enterprises or specialty crops.
7. Sustainable agriculture and environmental issues.
8. Develop farmer cooperatives.
9. Develop strategies to minimize regulatory obstacles that affect small scale operations.
10. Farm management, record- keeping, needs assessment for small and mid-sized operations.
11. Availability of labor.
12. Organic farming and the transition from conventional production.
13. Increased on-farm demonstrations and research efforts.
Application (Delineated needs) Extension Agenda
1. Create linkages/mentoring programs.
2. Adapt farm practices for smaller enterprises/small acreages.
3. Develop and adapt scale appropriate technologies.
4. Promote market availability and information including farm cooperatives, niche markets, direct marketing, value-added, and alternative forms and methods of marketing products.
5. Integrate environmental and sustainable agriculture concerns.
6. Minimize regulatory obstacles to small scale operations.
7. Address the availability of labor.
8. Develop enterprise budgets, management records, record-keeping, and basic business skills.
9. Develop educational programs about credit and financing.
10. Provide education on diversification, organic farming techniques, farm production, and farm enterprises to small and mid-sized farmers.
Small and Mid-Sized Farm Priorities as Identified by Farmers
Practical information transfer
Easy access to networks
Training on sustainable agriculture practices
Establishment of canneries at regional locations for produce
Farmer Agenda (Priority goals)
1. Training on sustainable agriculture practices.
2. More farmer community involve-ment through out the process.
3. Establish methods of practical information transfer including regional information sources.
4. Establish an easy access to information network other than computers.
5. Establish a marketing information database that is accessible to small and mid-sized farmers.
6. Develop regional and national marketing networks.
Application (Delineated needs) Farmer Agenda
1. Conduct on-farm demonstrations, variety trials and research tests.
2. Use a holistic approach to plot research.
3. More information is needed on the nutritional needs of livestock on pasture (beef, swine, and chickens).
4. Establishment of canneries at regional locations for produce and contracts.
5. Develop a marketing information database that is accessible to all farmers.
6. More farmer/community involvement is needed throughout the entire process.
7. Explore alternatives including organic, value-added opportunities, and new products.
Summary: Major Research and Extension Priorities for Small and Mid-Sized Farms
2. Scale appropriate technologies
3. Sustainable agricultural production
4. Organic agricultural production
5. Alternative enterprises (both agricultural and non- agricultural)
6. Farm management, budgeting, record-keeping and financing
7. Information transfer
Return to Table
Return to Title Page