No argument ecomonically. From a biological standpoint however, many argue
that farmers act with little or no thought to questions assoicated with
water quality, pesticides, and erosion. My point is that farmers or
natural resource managers in general are only able to see parts of the
ecological systems that they manage the rest is left to experience,
observation, and luck without the benefit of enterprise models that have
begun to pervade nonagricultural business. These sorts of tools are only
beginning to be developed. For example, at VPI (Virginia Tech) Nick
Stone's lab, in cooperation with many others, is developing a system called
CROPS. CROPS allows a farmer to plan a six-year crop rotation for an
entire farm and predict profits. It has the ability to include an animal
component and nutrient management. Thus, we are getting closer to
combining what we know and desire ecologically, what we know to be good
management, what is legal, and we desire in terms of profit stability.
Without such tools farmers cannot address the complex environmental
questions to any great extent other than to follow the law.
Good comments. Thanks.
F. William Ravlin
Department of Entomology
VPI & SU
Blacksburg, Va 24061
Ph: (703) 231-6826
Fax: (703) 231-3982
email@example.com (Bill Ravlin)