2019 Special Topic: Agriculture and the Environment: Knowledge and technology to feed the world
KEY TOPICS (KT) :
1. Understanding how agroecosystems function and the services they provide.
- Resource: Biodiversity conservation and agricultural sustainability: toward a new paradigm of ‘eco-agriculture’ landscapes
- Resource: Study: Bioenergy decisions involve wildlife habitat and land use trade offs
- Resource: Could soils save the climate?
- Resource: Ecosystem services and agriculture: trade offs and synergies
- Resource: Linking ecologists and traditional farmers in the search for sustainable agriculture
2. Understanding the importance of soil health as the foundation of a healthy ecosystem.
- Resource: Soil has a microbiome too
- Resource: Soil health growers
- Resource: Soil health and Soil Health Institute featured on American Farmer TV Series
- Resource: The Hope in Healthy Soils video series
3. Understanding sustainable agriculture on large and small farm operations, as well as the indicators of sustainable farming.
4. Understanding how sustainable and best management farming practices enhance and protect soil health, water quality and quantity and biodiversity ; as well as manage insect pests, disease, and weeds.
- Resource: A Diversity of bees is good for farming
- Resource: Cover crops for organic farming
- Resource: Farming for Bees
- Resource: Forest farming can bring economic and environmental benefits
5. The differences of local, regional and national food systems that are vital to grow food for an ever increasing world population ; and the importance of each food system.
- Resource: Can meat actually be eco-friendly?
- Resource: Sharing North Carolina Agribusiness exports with the world
- Resource: Urban agriculture could potentially produce a tenth of the world’s food. Is grass really the best use for your yard?
6. New technologies that help provide more efficient agriculture production.
- Resource: A controversial technology could save us from starvation… if we let it.
- Resource: Papers suggesting biotech crops might harm the environment
- Resource: Biotechnology Frequently Asked Questions
- Resource: Engineering honesty: USDA moves to disclose “GMOs”
- Resource: Opinion: When genetic engineering is an environmentally friendly choice
- Resource: The future of agriculture
- Resource: Next Generation USDA: Learning opportunities for new farmers
- Resource: Tech Savvy: technology in agriculture
- Resource: Breaking Ground
- Resource: Webinars from our partner, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service about organic farming can be found here.
1. Understand how agroecology applies ecological principles to agricultural systems by considering productivity, ecosystem impacts and social responsibility. (KT #1)
2. Understand the indicators of soil health, including physical, chemical and biological properties and its role in the agroecosystem. (KT #2)
3. Define sustainable agriculture, including comparing and contrasting sustainable practices on large and small farm operations. (KT #3)
4. Understand the importance of moving toward sustainable farming systems to conserve natural resources, mitigate climate change, reduce erosion and protect water quality and quantity; as well promote pollination. (KT #4)
5. Understand farm management practices to build soil organic matter , such as: composting, crop rotations, cover crops, conservation tillage, and management intensive grazing systems to improve soil health. (KT #4)
6. Understand best management practices that improve water quality and reduce water use such as conservation tillage, cover crops, plant selection, precision agriculture, water re-use and sub-surface drip irrigation. (KT #4)
7. Understand integrated pest management and biological pest control techniques used to prevent insect pest, disease and weed problems. (KT #4)
8. Knowledge of the role pollinators play in farming and ways to attract them. (KT #4)
9. Describe the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable agriculture to local communities, as well as to regional and global food systems. (KT #5)
10. Understand the role of new technology: agricultural biotechnology; precision agriculture; using UAV (drones, GIS, etc.) to increase farm efficiency for food production. (KT #6)
11. Understand the risks and benefits of agricultural biotechnology. (KT #6)