Hello everyone and welcome back. As you probably realize this is our last and lecture for this week and in fact our last lecture for the course. I want to take some time and today they just sort of recapitulate and summarize Some of the topics that we've covered and where we've been on our journey to take a look at agricultural sustainability. As we all known we're trying to understand this term that we call sustainability, and quite simply using resources with the future in mind with the future generations in mind I think Sort of captures the essence of sustainability for, for me. We all, when we began the course we learned that we have a basic challenge. the world's population is growing tremendously, I'll be it maybe at a slightly Slower rate of growth and because of that farmers are going to have to increase the production of food by some estimates 50% or more by the year 2050. So we need to do all of this, increase this food production also with protecting the environment with managing our resources we focused on water and nutrients in this course. Managing those inputs to produce foods so that we don't degrade the environment. And along the way we need to make sure that farming is profitable so that farmers stay on the land and can pass down the farm to future generations so that then they can take over the responsibility to produce food in a sustainable fashion. The problem or the challenge that we've come to know through this course is that we do have many water bodies that are around the globe rivers, streams, lakes, seas, oceans that have been. impaired with increasing amounts of concentrations of nutrients and also sediment and we took a look at some of those water bodies. And agriculture in all of those situations is mentioned as one of the possible sources of the sediment and the nutrients into those water bodies, so the coarse then became about... How do we understand agriculture production practices. So that we can then take a look at some possible best measuring practices that farmers might, might implement to reduce their footprint. We talked about this term or concept of the triple bottom line. This in fact is one of the themes of the course. We reference this interaction of the three parts, the social, the environmental, and the economic aspects and we also discussed how it was important as we understand... the practices that farmers employ to produce food, and also understand developing solutions to minimize the agricultural footprint, and become more sustainable. we understood that we had to to use all of these parts of the triple bottom line. And the re, the main reason is, is because the whole issue of food production and increasing food production and protecting the environment at the same time is very complex. And we need to take a look at and embody and involve all of those aspects as we move forward and analyze the problems and come up with solutions. So these 3 spheres of sustainability became an underlying theme of this course taking a look at the environmental aspects and needs, and requirements, that we have, taking a look at the economics of keeping farming, profitable and producing Food that the world can, can purchase. And we also looked at the societal aspects. what does society want and expect, from farms and from our environment? We started out the course by taking a look at at least two watersheds in this country. [INAUDIBLE] . And acknowledging that there are other, watersheds like this scattered around the world that are experiencing challenges both with water, quality and quantity. And we looked at these watersheds in the country, the Mississippi River watershed, and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In particular because these two water sheds have a variety of land use, influences on them. And agriculture plays a major role in both of these water sheds. We talked about soil erosion and losses of nutrients. potential for that from agricultural lands. And how they might be lost from the agricultural lands and end up in water bodies. When they end up in the water bodies, we talked about the term nitrification. The excess growth of plants, notably algae and aquatic weeds. In these water bodies, because now now they have increased concentrations of nutrients that plants require for growth, and so we see this increase growth of plants in the water bodies. When this happens that water body is likely to be declared to be Impaired for its intended use. And we took a look at some of the ways here in America that we deal with pollution. namely water pollution. and it's relationship with agriculture. We started with the clean water act and we looked at ways that we use At the state level to determine a total maximum daily load for a water body and that simply is the amount of nutrients or pollutants that a water body can take in and assimilate and still meet its intended use. When the pollution is more than the water body can assimilate, and maintain it's intended use. then it is required that the states implement a plan to restore that water body and we talked about basic management action plans as that approach that we use on a watershed basis so that we get all of the, the users, whether it's urban, whether it's industry or it;s agriculture to come together to the table and determine a path forward to reduce the inputs of nutrients and pollutants into that water body. And we also described the difference between point and non-point. And we talked about agriculture, most agriculture operations falling under the non-point source pollution. And we acknowledged that agriculture is not the only source, potential source of nutrients in sediment and, and pollutants to water bodies. urban areas and industrial areas. and so it becomes a situation where for most of our water bodies and our water sheds, everyone probably is involved and plays a role. We talked about the regulatory approach versus the voluntary approach and agriculture Currently, follows, the voluntary approach. And, we, look at agriculture to adopt, what we call, best management practices. So that then, if they adopt these best management practices, they can then be. presume to be in compliance with those water quality standards. But before, we implement BMP's, we also talked quite a bit about nutrient fates and flows and understanding the nutrient cycels and how to quantify the sources of nutrients on a farm. Because, if we could do that. Then, we can, we can more fully understand what best, management practices might be best for that farm. We also took a, a look at soils. as you probably have determined, I consider soils to be extremely important in this whole process. About a third of the Earth's terrestrial surface is used by agriculture. It's the largest land user for the for the globe. And some scientists have determined that somewhere around 40% of our agricultral soils have been degraded to some form or another. That is, they have lost organic matter, some of the top soil has disappeared by errosion due to water or wind perhaps the nutrient level and fertility of those soils has declined. Over time. So we need to change the incentives, and we do this by helping farmers adopt best management practices and trying to give them the economical support. And the technical support so that they can, so that it's made easier for them to adopt these best management practices. Soil quality needs much more attention. In this overall picture. You need to understand much more about how to help farmers protect their soil and improve the soil quality, so that the productivity of those farms can be increased. The soil is the most important asset on our farms. And so this is where a lot of energy, probably more energy, needs to be placed. We talked a little bit about protecting the soil, and we talked about practices that we know about. Some of these practices have been used for many, many centuries. Prior civilizations, even. We also talked about the fact that there are a lot of efforts, Universities, private efforts, nongovernmental organizations that are expending a lot of time and effort in helping farmers adopt, particularly in... lesser developed countries to develop practices to increase food production and at the same time adopt environmentally approaches. If we're going to have gains in protecting the environment. then we need to give. the farmers choices. And they shouldn't have to choose. between survival and protecting the enviroment. And we need to improve the capability of those less fortunate. The Howard Buffet foundation, that I've given you here, is an example, of one of those organizations. That is working very hard to improve the capability of the lesser fortunate to produce crops and, and feed themselves and do it in an environmentally friendly fashion. We talked about some of the practices, the specific practices for protecting the soil, and I've listed a few of those here that, that we studied. And again, some of these are, not that they're brand new but sometimes their rediscoveries or practices that have been around for many many years, sometimes as in this country it takes a calamities such as the dust ball to make us reevaluate and recognize the importance of these kinds of soil conservation practices. And then set about in a method and approach to help farmers adopt these waste management practices. So another theme to this course has been to raise the awareness about soil quality and the role that soil plays in food security around the world. We also took a look at this idea of a nutrient mass balance or budget. Taking an, an accounting and quantifying the nutrients on a farm. Understanding where those nutrients come from. What they do while they're on the farm. How they cycle on the farm. And how they might leave the farm either in the produce or the crops that we, or animals that we sell off the farm. Or in a negative fashion where they might end up in the environment and cause water pollution. So we learned how to identify all of these sources and determined ways to quantify them. And this is important because we want to focus on those. Major pools those major fates and flows of nutrients on the farm. that's where we want to focus adopting our BMP's and we may need to, to reevaluate those sources and fates and flows. In an attempt to refine, are, are BMP's, and to help farmers move to another level of BMP adoption. We talked a lot about BMP's, Best Management Practices, we even came up with a definition of a BMP, that sort of reflected our understanding of the triple bottom line. Best Management Practices have to be effective in protecting the environment. They have to be economical and practical for the farmer to adopt. or otherwise they may not be adopted, even though they're effective in protecting the environment. And so, we looked at all of the different aspects about BMPs and how we can improve the likelihood that farmers will adopt BMPs. And finally, we want those BMPs to be based on good, sound science. We looked at one in particular soil fertility and soil testing and I asked the question you know as I went through that particularly with regard to a nutrient like phosphorous. Phosphorous is a finite nutrient on the globe. It's somethings that we mind and so there is an exhaustible. supply, so we asked the question why would we want to continue to add phosphorus to soils that had already had large amounts of phosphorus reserves built up over years of, of cropping systems, and we talked about the idea of a calibrated soil test being able to identify those soils. And helping the farmer make decisions that they may not need to add continually more phosphorus finite resource to those soils that already test high by a calibrated, and that's an important concept a calibrated soil test. Overusing phosphorus not only costs the farmer money in a, in a, in a resource, in an input to the production system- But its over use also might lead to increased losses of that nutrient and eutrophication to neighboring water bodies. And we acknowledged that sometimes this is a philosophical approach one of risk management that farmers go through in making the decision about fertilization. But with the understanding about some of these BMPs, it then becomes a challenge and an opportunity for those of us working with farmers to help them understand and feel comfortable with how to use these BMPs. Such as one that would result in not applying a particular nutrient for a particular crop. We also talked quite a bit, about nutrient management. Some of the specific BMP's. We called them the four r's. And we acknowledged that, the research behind the four r's. Has been on going for many, many years. Some of us that have been working with[UNKNOWN] and nutrient requirements. of crop plants, for decades. Know that, we in the old days. We were just trying to help farmers become more efficient. in their use of inputs. Now all of this research, that's been on going for many many decades. Is now, from all over this country. And the world. Is now starting to come together. And being embodied in these practices or these tactics that we we call best management practices and so all of this very valuable research is now being brought to the forefront, particularly with agriculture to help farmer's adopt practices that would keep nutrients and water on the farm. And we need to keep in mind that as we ask farmers, who are not actively engaged in the BMP process as they get more used to it, we have to realize that sometimes it takes time. It takes time for growers to adopt and get used to these BMPs, and it also takes time for these BMPs to have a noticeable impact. It may be Several months to a year to maybe as, as much as several years in some watersheds. We also talked about water. this is another theme of this course. if we can keep the water in the root zone by good irrigation management. Then the likely hood of keeping those mobile nutrients, like nitrate and nitrogen, in the root zone is much enhanced. So we learned about a lot of tools that are out there. That have been developed over many years to help to help farmers determine the soil moisture content, and schedule more effectively irrigation events. We also learned about a fairly sophisticated approach to integrating our understanding about soils and water holding capacity with the actual crop. Water use, in the evapotransporation. And how we can put those two aspects together in an overall water irrigation management program, to improve the irrigation efficiency on the farm. And also follow the principle of keeping water and nutrients in the root zone. So for me, this whole idea about sustainability is about understanding some of the basics of our biological world, and our physical world, and how things work together. for example, understanding the nutrient cycles. how things go between the physical and the chemical world to the biological world in our cropping systems. And then determining how to take advantage of the knowledge and the research. So that we can better put together best management practices, and have tactics that farmers can adopt that will help them manage the nutrients and the water in their farming systems. Many farmers are already doing this some to a great degree, but there are also a lot of other farmers in this country and around the world Who are still in need of assistance in understanding and adopting nutrient and water best management practices. There are a few things in going through the development of this course that I've come across I've tried to bring those references And articles to your attention in your readings. I hope some of them you will find will be very useful because they will either confirm or supplement some of the information that I've been able to present to you. one article that is fairly interesting in that it sort of brings together some of the concepts, the problems and challenges that we've already studied is this article entitled solutions for a cultivated planet these authors acknowledge just as we have in the course that food production must increase in this world to feed and increase in a population. But at the same time, it must be done with a reduced footprint, environmental footprint. That's a, that's a tall order for our farming community. to produce more food and do it in a more. Increasingly enviornmentally friendly approach. So, this paper also talks about reducing agricultural expansion, increasing yeilds and under-performing farming areas, and reducing waste. we also parenthetically acknowledge that reducing waste in the food supply system would go a long way to helping us have more food available for people. The food that we do not use or waste was produced at some point along the way with water and fertilizer... Energy inputs and we need to minimize the loss of those kinds of inputs through the loss of the of that food. And we talked many times in the course and we acknowledge now that we take a look back over the course that its going to take a lot of different aveunes and a variety of approaches there's not going to be one. single approach that's going to solve our problems. Technology has been important along the way, if you look back over. Agriculture development and our increases in our ability to produce food. technology has played a large role in, and I believe firmly that this will continue again into the future. If you look at whats available to farmers. Now and also practitioners that are helping farmers this whole world era of computers and digital communications I didn't have when I was growing up. But you can just imagine the capacity now to share information around the world even from farmer to farmer about production practices and ideas and best management practices . And looking out on the internet for sources of information. Good information that will help farmers adopt new, new practices. New and more nutrient efficiency, nutrient efficient, and water efficient varieties will be important. we'll talk a little. A bit in a second. more cooperation amongst everyone really. breaking down the silos, more international experiences for our youth for our students. So, that they gain more understanding about the issues that farmers face all around the world. There's going to have to be more integration of ideas and approaches and much more interdisciplinary approaches. This course tried to paint the picture of more interdisciplinary. We focused a lot of effort on understanding the soil's role in sustainability, so soil scientists... Plant scientists are going to be required more and more, even more than they are today to work on these interdisciplinary problem solving approaches. And we also acknowledge the continued need for research. and demonstration. I mentioned demonstration in particular because there are already a lot of good ideas and practices out there BMPs we need to help farmers adopt them and we do this through the demonstration process working with those farmers. To take a look at a new practice and adopt it on a small part of their farm as they get used to it. And then perhaps hopefully adopt it farm wide. This is going to take continued research and, and effort. public funding, some writers, some scientists, have written peaked in the 1970s. And so that means that we all benefit from public funding. But if that declines, then we need more public private partnerships, and you see this happening all over the world now, more universities working with private companies and industries and farmers to help in training the next generation of scientists in particular. I use this example in, in my classes. the idea of genetics and plant breeding. It's going to play a large role I think in adapting our crops to be more productive and more efficient. Particularly in less than ideal growing conditions. Can we imagine that if we can increase the water use efficiency and the nutrient use efficiency in our crops by just 10% or 15% by genetic, manipulation of those crops. What a boon that would be, to the environmental side of, of our equation. So these kinds of scientists are focusing on the physiological processes and understanding them because the govern how well that, that trait will, Will manifest itself in those new varieties focusing on roots well there not a lot of large number of scientist focusing on understanding roots and, and their function. this is becoming more and more important in the world of science so that we can understand how. how expansive roots what kind of root architecture it takes to mine nutrients out of a soil more effectively and to tolerate less than ideal soil conditions, increase salinity for example. And no matter how you come down on the idea of genetic manipulation and genetically modified varieties of crop plants. but this is an example that comes home to me because herbicide resistance in our crop plants that allows us to use a herbicide instead of soil tillage to control weeds has been a major positive impact on the environment. I can remember as a young man growing up on our farm and spending many of my summers using tillage to remove weeds from our crops. Cultivating during the, during the summer. That disturbed the soil, it tilled the soil it increased the, the rate at which that soil dries out so that we needed to irrigate more often and it also exposed the soil to water and wind erosion. If we did not have to till during the season. then, that would help, keep that soil on the farm. Now we learned the balance of production practices, no tillage, for example, as one of those. Also I think, in just looking back over the course, Cultivating new talent. looking at our younger generation and identifying the youth and training them to take over some of the major roles in agriculture systems and training farmers to produce food in an environmentally friendly world. Now, more than ever, the youth are getting exposed to a more integrated scientific approach to producing food and protecting the environment and doing it in an economical fashion. Also farmers I've read many, many times where the average age of a farmer in America is. in the late 50s, '57 or '58 I believe. So increasing our efforts to attract the new generation, the younger generation into agriculture, not only into farming but also into all of the. The kinds of professions that many of you represent around the world. who are engaged in assisting farmers produce food and do it in an environmentally friendly fashion. We need to educate our young people more and more about the tremendous opportunities that are out there for helping produce food. for helping agriculture. There are a lot of opportunities for them for training more and more now. Universities and other educational institutions are teaming up with private organizations to increase the, our ability to train students in agriculture either through experiential work or in the things like internships directly working with farmers. And our courses are starting to take on more an interdisciplinary approach. I use this example here where students are learning to take the basic information that they learn and integrate into scientific thinking and analysis, so they can understand biological systems more completely. And apply that analytical thinking to develop biology based solutions that will eventually have a positive impact on food, energy, environment and, and our health. An example of this is a brand new program that we have here at the University of Florida. And it provides more emphasis on this holistic approach. we also have a distance ed version for distance Ed Masters degree, this is the University of Florida Agroecology Program. And I've given you the website here. So this is an attempt here at the university to More integrate ecology and agriculture into one system. many of the that things we've talked about in this course are embodied in some of these learning experiences that we provide for students. And also, we can't underestimate the importance of distance ed in today's world. many of you are taking advantage of these kinds of courses. through distance ed delivery systems. This need for continued research and education, I think, is very important. there have been some recent reports about a leveling off of some of the yields. And productivity of some of our major food crops in the world. Our food reserves are lower now than they have been, in the past. These writers, these scientists that have studied this situation, recommended increased efforts to main that positive trajectory of crop productivity. And it goes back to some of the things that we've talked about before. Understanding more about the inputs for crop production. And the genetics and the development of new varieties. Continual, it takes continual research investment. And we acknowledge that there is this idea out there that societies will collapse as a result of over use, over exploitation of resources this has not happened and in fact some of the examples that are used as as, representing this idea, have been shown to be mostly a misunderstanding. And a lack of ability to practice the triple bottom line [COUGH]. So, I hope, I think that we're turning in a way, in a different direction understanding sustainability is going to be key, to making sure that everyone has enough food. And that the environment was not sacrificed. along the way to produce this food. So the triple bottom line and a better understanding of sustainability I think is going to be key. I came across an interesting article while I was developing the course dealing with what is called peak farmland and this this article intrigued me. It's an interesting article that suggests. That we may be approaching hmm, forty or fifty years from now, I think was the time period mentioned in this article. But approaching the peak amount of farmland that we use, use in the world to produce food. And if that's true, they, they're authors. Speculate that as the population, growth rate, declines, and if we can employ, science and development to improve the yields. And improve the crop productivity in lesser developed areas that we may not need as much as the area the size of France, for example, I think was the country they, they referenced. Now other reports and other scientists have a differing point of view and they point to other factors. that may make it difficult to reach the so called peak farmland. And some of these factors, that cause one group of scientists to, predict peak farmland, the slowing of the population growth rate, for example, increasing, yields and productivity, through development of best management practices and deploying these, around the world. New varieties, of, of crop plants, from our crop breeders. increasing intensification. for example, 30 % more from the same land area over the last 30 years. That's where we've, that's where we have been. Can't we keep that kind of increased intensification so that we can get more out of, our land. And our inputs. Can we stay on this path? however, changes in diet and the movement towards more meat consumption in some countries has caused some writers to doubt that peak farmland is is very close. Also, the increasing demand for land for producing biofuels might factor into this. There might be some other factors. It would be interesting to have you discuss a little bit about this notion that the farmland. how many of you think we're on our way towards that? How many of you think that it might be quite a while off into the future. And just by happenstance a group of scientists put together a very intensive look at, the challenge to produce more food and do it with a smaller environmental footprint. This particular publication called Our Nutrient World was just published just recently this year. When I read through it I thought you know, this sounds a lot like our course. And they raise a lot of the same issues that we did. they talk about a lot of the same problems and, and solutions and what it's going to take to produce more food with less environmental impact. I think this reading I, I added to your reading list recently. I think it's a very good article and summary of of were we are today. And again as I've noticed, or let you know through the course we all play a role. We all can contribute to this directly or indirectly. at least all of us contribute indirectly to the challenges that our farmers face in producing in an environmentally friendly world. Just by the very fact that we consume food. So we all play a role. this particular website here gives you an opportunity to plug in some of your numbers to see what is your own personal nitrogen input. I went through and took it myself, but I think it would be interesting. See, for everyone to see where, where they might play a role. Well I've had a, a very enjoyable time putting together this program for you and we've reached the end of our course. I hope that everyone has benefited at least In some fashion. And I would like you to take just a couple minutes, and take a look at a closing video that I have from me to you, thank you very much. Well here we are at the end of our course. I say our course, because I think I've learned much from this course, as I hope you have. I've learned a lot in developing the material that I've presented to you, and I've also learned a lot from, looking at and watching the, the interactions that the students have had through the discussion, posts. I hope that you've, also benefited, tremendously, from the course. We have learned a lot about agriculture, we have learned about the tremendous responsibility that and opportuinites that farmers have producing the food for the world and also the challenges that farmers have producing the food in such ways that they can protect the environment. And not do any harm to the environment. And hopefully we've learned about some of the specific aspects about crop production that maybe we didn't learn, know about before. But we can take home and, and actually put it to our own use and, and help farmers do a better job. So I hope everyone has learned at least something from the course. that will have a big impact on your personal and your professional lives. And I also hope that some of the information that you picked up from the course, you'll be able to transfer to others to use in teaching in opportunities that you may have as you go through your life. this course has been fun to put together, it's a little bit different than some of the courses I teach on campus but I've learned a lot particularly trying to make the course more international and in scope. I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues and friends here at the University of Florida of course, as you can imagine like this takes a team to put everything together. all the way from the course design content specialists and also the technicians in the studio and the, and the video team. these folks have contributed a lot to this course and made the course a success. that it is. I'm sure we may have an opportunity to interact or ask tonight each other on the internet somewhere, some way down the road. and I just hope that the course is going to benefit to you. I want to wish everyone success and in your future and best regards to everyone. Thank you all very much for helping with the course.