Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 9:15 AM

Principles of Dynamic Integrated Agricultural Systems.

Jon Hanson1, John R. Hendrickson1, Gretchen Sassenrath2, John Halloran3, David Archer4, Shannon Osborn3, and Jeffrey Steiner5. (1) USDA, ARS, P.O. Box 459, Mandan, ND 58504-0459, (2) USDA-ARS APTRU, USDA-ARS APTRU, PO Box 36, Stoneville, MS 38776, (3) USDA-ARS, New England Plant Soil Water Lab, Orono, ME 04469, United States of America, (4) USDA ARS, 803 Iowa Ave, Morris, MN 56267, (5) USDA-ARS/National Program Staff, 5601 Sunnyside Ave, G, Beltsville, MD 20705

In the past, American agriculture was focused solely on its ability to produce sufficient food, fuel and fiber to meet national and global demands. While productivity will continue to be a major factor in food production systems, increased societal demands for environmentally sound management, the need for rural community viability, and a rapidly changing global marketplace have resulted in challenges for the current agricultural system. Integrated agricultural systems may assist in addressing some of these challenges.  However, when helping to design and manage these systems, researchers need to be aware of how external influences may affect these systems. A framework for agricultural management systems is being developed that increases the use of renewable resources, decreases the reliance of agricultural production on fossil fuels and fertilizers, and enhances producer flexibility to meet individual and societal goals. A summary will be presented regarding the hierarchical structure of agricultural systems, the working definitions of these systems, and a detailed description of their potential external influences.  The four main categories of external influences of dynamic integrated agricultural systems include 1) social/political factors; 2) economic factors, 3) technological factors, and 4) environmental factors. A case study from the Southeastern U.S. will be used to demonstrate principles from these four external factors.