Keywords

gpfarm, decision support systems, agroecosystem sustainability, agroecosystem management, software adoption, producers

Start Date

1-7-2010 12:00 AM

Description

The USDA-ARS Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU), in a collaborative effort with Colorado State University (CSU), developed the Great Plains Framework for Agricultural Resource Management (GPFARM) DSS. The general purpose of GPFARM is to serve as a whole-farm/ranch DSS for strategic agroecosystem sustainability evaluation across the U.S. Great Plains. Despite a reasonable level of producer involvement in the requirements analysis, development, and evaluation phases of GPFARM, it can be argued that the rate of adoption has been slow compared with the rate predicted at the initial development stage. In this paper, we provide a brief overview of the GPFARM DSS. We then discuss lessons learned (e.g., successes and failures) in over a decade of agricultural DSS development. A summary of conclusions resulting from discussion and critical analysis of the GPFARM project include: - It is important that the DSS development process includes careful evaluation of the scope of the DSS in relation to the human and fiscal resources available. - Careful attention should be paid to the needs of the intended target user group(s) through: 1) matching the proposed technology appropriately with the user, and 2) gathering input from a broad spectrum of potential users when performing a DSS requirements analysis. - Simpler tools or database information generated from simulation analyses of alternative management options may have been more appropriate for delivery to producers and consultants (who do not have time to learn and use DSS tools). - The capability to rapidly update major components (e.g., simulation model, databases) in order to address different farm/ranch management questions or problems is an absolute necessity.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

The GPFARM DSS for Agroecosystem Sustainability: Past, Future, and Lessons Learned

The USDA-ARS Agricultural Systems Research Unit (ASRU), in a collaborative effort with Colorado State University (CSU), developed the Great Plains Framework for Agricultural Resource Management (GPFARM) DSS. The general purpose of GPFARM is to serve as a whole-farm/ranch DSS for strategic agroecosystem sustainability evaluation across the U.S. Great Plains. Despite a reasonable level of producer involvement in the requirements analysis, development, and evaluation phases of GPFARM, it can be argued that the rate of adoption has been slow compared with the rate predicted at the initial development stage. In this paper, we provide a brief overview of the GPFARM DSS. We then discuss lessons learned (e.g., successes and failures) in over a decade of agricultural DSS development. A summary of conclusions resulting from discussion and critical analysis of the GPFARM project include: - It is important that the DSS development process includes careful evaluation of the scope of the DSS in relation to the human and fiscal resources available. - Careful attention should be paid to the needs of the intended target user group(s) through: 1) matching the proposed technology appropriately with the user, and 2) gathering input from a broad spectrum of potential users when performing a DSS requirements analysis. - Simpler tools or database information generated from simulation analyses of alternative management options may have been more appropriate for delivery to producers and consultants (who do not have time to learn and use DSS tools). - The capability to rapidly update major components (e.g., simulation model, databases) in order to address different farm/ranch management questions or problems is an absolute necessity.