Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 8:25 AM

Integrating Research, Education, and Outreach at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems: a Model for Meeting the Need for Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Agriculture at Land Grant Universities?.

N.G. Creamer1, James Thorup2, M.S. Schroeder1, and H.M. Linker1. (1) North Carolina State Univ, Ctr for Environmental Farming Systems, Campus Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695, (2) North Carolina State Univ., 16595 Orchard Ln., Stilwell, NC 66085-9270

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is an 810 ha facility with a mission to develop and promote agricultural systems that protect the environment, enhance rural and urban communities, and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.  Initiated in 1994, The CEFS is a cooperative program between NC State University, NC A&T State University, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, stakeholder groups and farmers.   CEFS is a unique facility comprised of research and demonstration units in Goldsboro, NC.  In 1998, an 81-hectare long-term, interdisciplinary farming systems experiment was established to allow researchers to examine the effect of four agriculture systems on soil quality, pest dynamics, plant growth, development, yield, and economics. The systems being studied include a conventional (sub-plots of till and no-till), integrated crop-animal, organic, and a forestry/woodlot.  A successional treatment is also included within the research area as a way to compare agricultural systems to a natural system.  In addition to the ongoing farming systems research, acreage at CEFS is devoted to a pasture-based dairy unit, alternative swine production unit, pasture-based beef unit, a small farm unit that includes an intensive organic working farm, and an organic research unit.  Research, outreach, and teaching programs are integrated within each of these specific areas. As we face the challenges of the 21st century there will be a tremendous demand and need for integrated and interdisciplinary programs at land-grant Universities.    In order to serve the increasing agricultural needs of the United States and abroad, land-grant universities may need to adjust their current departmental structures, reward systems, and priority setting.  Using examples of the integrated research, education and outreach programs at CEFS we will explore options to ensure that Land-grant University scientists will be equipped to approach questions of sustainability in the challenging times ahead.