> I would like to bring your attention to the article, Minnesota extension
>agents' knowledge and views of alternative agriculture in American Journal of
>Alternative Agriculture, Volume 10, Number 3, 1995, p.122-128.
> Abstract. I interviewed 19 county agricultural extension agents about
>their views of alternative agriculture as it is being promoted by sustainable
>agricultue groups in Minnesota. They varied considerably in how much they
>knew about it, their openness to it, and how heavily they were involved in it.
>County extension agents share broad economic and environmental goals with
>sustainable farming advocacy groups, but many believe that agriculture is
>already working to meet those goals and are skeptical of the feasibility of
>alternative agriculture. Extension agents generally did not accept as
>realistic a primary social goal of sustainable agriculture advocates:
>maintaining the number of family farms. If county extension agents and
>sustainable agriculture groups in Minnesota are to work together for more
>sustainable agriculture, open discussion is needed on the goals of agriculture
>and visions for the future.
>Heidi Carter, Education Coordinator
>Heidi C. Carter
>University of Nebraska-Lincoln
>Heidi, I thought your article was an excellent one have sent copies to all
my staff. There was similiar research published in the J. of Sust. Ag
recently on similiar work in Ohio State U. This work shows how difficult it
is and will continue to be in dealing with this issue. I have run into it
often. I have sometimes asked the absurd question of--Would or could you
accept two farms in the US, one east Of Miss. River and one West that
produced all the food we need in a completely environmentally sound way? I
doubt that is possible, but for the sake of the question I am willing to
give on that point. It takes the mega farm proposition to the ultimate. I
originally used this example when we were in the bgh-rotational grazing
debate but used dairy farms as the example. No one generally wants to
answer that question even in the abstract. I think we have a large dose of
denial on the the social question and it very much like the large case of
denial on environmental problems 15 to 20 years ago. I do not know if we
will get over it, but I think we must try to proceed.
It seems we have a chance with some of the CH 3 activities but it is not an
idea that many people want to discuss. Do you have any thoughts of how to
proceed on this issue.