D
Follow-up of the 1989 Case Studies Featured in Alternative Agriculture Report Topics of Discussion During Telephone Interview

  • Is the farming business/operation still actively involved in production agriculture?

    • No

    • Yes, but ownership and or management is by different folks

    • Yes, with ownership and management substantially intact

  • If no—

    • When did the business cease agricultural production?

      • What were the most significant factors that led to the decision to cease farming?

    • What happened to the land that was part of that operation?

      • Is it still in farming?

      • Is it still used for “alternative,” “sustainable,” or “ag systems” production?

    • What happened to the key people who ran the operation?

  • If yes—

    • What are the most significant changes in the operation since the original case studies were conducted in the late 1980s?

    • What of the following factors have most contributed positively to the survival of this operation?

      • Growth/expansion decisions?

      • Cultivation of new markets/marketing—changes in certification?

      • Improved production expertise and experience

      • Support from

        • Local agribusinesses and service providers

        • Other farmers or farmer groups

        • University scientists and extension service personnel



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OCR for page 549
D Follow-up of the  Case Studies Featured in Alternative Agriculture Report Topics of Discussion During Telephone Interview • Is the farming business/operation still actively involved in production agriculture? No Yes, but ownership and or management is by different folks Yes, with ownership and management substantially intact • If no— When did the business cease agricultural production? • What were the most significant factors that led to the decision to cease farming? What happened to the land that was part of that operation? • Is it still in farming? • Is it still used for “alternative,” “sustainable,” or “ag systems” production? What happened to the key people who ran the operation? • If yes— What are the most significant changes in the operation since the original case studies were conducted in the late 1980s? What of the following factors have most contributed positively to the survival of this operation? • Growth/expansion decisions? • Cultivation of new markets/marketing—changes in certification? • Improved production expertise and experience • Support from • Local agribusinesses and service providers • Other farmers or farmer groups • University scientists and extension service personnel 

OCR for page 549
0 APPENDIX D • What individuals or groups (outside of your farm operation) have been important to your operation’s viability or sustainability? • Has the relationship to neighbors and community changed? Are they supportive of your farming in any way? • Investments in natural resource management (soil, water, and air quality; conserving water; water reuse; energy use and efficiency; improving wetlands and/or wildlife habitat; integrated pest management, beneficial insects, etc.) • Investments in improving the quality and safety of food and fiber products, im- proved varieties, improved processing and handling, enhanced testing and screen- ing, reducing use of pesticides, etc.) Which have served as significant challenges to the survival of the operation? • Land costs or rental costs • Changes in weather patterns • Availability of labor • Willingness of younger generation to take over farm • Ability of the farm operation to meet the basic costs of supporting your family/families • Federal, state, and local policies • New environmental regulations • Traditional commodity programs • Value-added, diversification, or local marketing programs • Access to organic prices information • Cost of inputs How have you overcome some of the barriers to your success? In what ways has your operation been able to enhance or sustain its natural resources over the last 15 years? • Have you noticed any changes in any of the following resources? • Soils (quality, organic matter, nutrient and water availability, erosion rates, salinity problems, etc.) • Water (costs, quantity, availability, efficiency of use, impacts on surface and ground water quality, etc.) • Biodiversity (wetlands; habitat for beneficial insects, birds, other wildlife) • Air quality (odors, roads, processing and storage facilities, etc.) • Energy (production, costs, use, alternative sources, etc.) • Others? • What specific steps have you taken to enhance or sustain these resources? What do you think is the future outlook for your own farming operation/enterprise? • How much longer will you be able to stay in business? • What factors will most influence your long-term viability? • Quality and sustainability of your natural resource base (soil, water, air, bio- diversity, energy, etc.) • What kinds of information/services/programs would be most helpful to sus- taining the future viability of your operation? What do you think is the future outlook for sustainable/systems/organic farm- ing in the United States? Has that future outlook changed since 1989?