Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 10:00 AM

The Human Dimensions of Agriculture in the 21st Century.

Pete Nowak, Univ of Wisconsin at Madison, 1450 Linden Dr, 346D Agriculture Hall, Madison, WI 53706

The human dimensions of agriculture will shape both the salience and support for agricultural sciences in the 21st century.  Global processes such as trade, climate changes, energy, and political instability will challenge agriculture as never before.  In addition to the impacts of these global processes, local production will be continue to be influenced by continued demographic trends, biotechnology, dynamic consumer preferences, and land tenure changes.  In this context many of the scientific frameworks that guided the agricultural sciences in the 20th century will in insufficient to address these 21st century challenges.  The next generation of agricultural scientists and administrators will need to explore finding new arrangements to address the appropriate balance between disciplinary depth and interdisciplinary breadth, a systems perspective that addresses multiple spatial and temporal scales, and a more rigorous integration of the behavioral dimensions of production agriculture.  Perhaps the greatest challenge will be to figure out how make the process of scientific inquiry more dynamic in response to rapidly changing contextual conditions.