Kansas State University


Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification

Kansas State University Innovation Lab hosts gender specialist Dr. Kathleen Colverson

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) will host Dr. Kathleen Colverson, Associate Director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS Global), at Kansas State University on September 28-29th, 2017. During her visit, Dr. Colverson will present a seminar entitled “Why Integrate Gender into Research Projects? The Importance of Systems Thinking” on September 28th at 10:00am in 137 Waters Hall. This seminar will share the importance of exploring how gender impacts your research, and the difference it will make to add a few tools in your research toolkit that increase long term project impact. The event will also be streamed live for those that cannot attend in person.

There will be a follow-up workshop to explore these concepts and tools in greater depth for those who want to expand their impact in biophysical and technical agricultural research. This workshop will take place September 29th at 9:00am – 4:30pm in the K-State Union. If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact Jessie Vipham or Jan Middendorf for more information.

Dr. Colverson received her PhD from Cornell University in Adult/Agriculture Education and holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in Animal Nutrition and Zoology, respectively. She has been engaged in gender related research in international contexts for many years and has held positions with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Heifer International. In addition to her role as the Associate Director of UF/IFAS Global, Dr. Colverson serves as the gender theme leader for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.

Request for Concept Note: Research Output Dissemination Study

The SIIL recently issued a Request for Concept Note for a Research Output Dissemination Study. The objective of this study is to gain a better understanding of the dissemination, use, and adoption of research outputs of the Feed the Future Innovation Labs and Collaborative Research Support Programs after they are transferred to or taken up by an entity that is facilitating their dissemination and use by end users.

Please visit the submission site for full details and to download the official solicitation. Concept notes will be accepted until 11:59pm Central Time on October 5, 2017. For questions related to this Request for Concept Note, please contact Dr. Jan Middendorf, SIIL Associate Director

Mechanization is Advancing Sustainable Intensification in Burkina Faso

The overarching goal of the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Hub in Burkina Faso is to assist the country’s smallholder farmers in improving their quality of life by integrating appropriate technologies into crop and livestock systems that sustain profitability and boost ecosystem resilience by alleviating labor bottlenecks while reducing the drudgery of labor-intensive farm tasks.

Figure 1. Université Polytechnique de Bobo-Dioulasso students and ASMC interns Sayaogo Boureima, Victor Ye, Fatoumata Ganou and Dianda Saidou.

We are near the end of the second year of the SIIL Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium (ASMC) project and are reviewing the initial objectives established in collaboration with the stakeholder group and advisory team to ensure that our activities are in line with project objectives. Stakeholders include the U.S. and Burkina Faso ASMC project teams along with local farmers, extension educators, students, agribusiness representatives, agricultural lenders, farmer organizations, technical service providers and others in the Hauts Bassins region.

The interaction with stakeholders was essential in defining the scope and structure of the work in Burkina Faso, and just as importantly, in illuminating a set of common goals and values shared by Burkinabé farmers. We asked:

  • What is the local vision of small-scale farming systems that integrate all aspects of sustainability?
  • Which aspects of the local farming systems are most important to retain if the overall objective is a sustainable balance of environmental, economic and social issues?
  • What diminishes (physical, biological, cultural, etc.) the sustainability of local farming systems, and what can be done to overcome it?
  • How can mechanization improve local farming systems that balance sustainability and social and gender equity?

The participatory and inclusive interaction with stakeholders provided an essential understanding of field conditions and helped prioritize the needs, challenges, and opportunities for mechanization.  The resulting action plan continues to guide the project. Continue reading “Mechanization is Advancing Sustainable Intensification in Burkina Faso”

ASMC Integrates Sustainable Mechanization into Technology Parks to Engage Cambodian Youth

All around the world, youth often aim to have a better life than their parents. For those engaged in agriculture, this sentiment is particularly true. The traditional perception of agriculture is one of subsistence, meaning that farmers only produce enough food to eat, with minimal profit. The farmers’ children recognize this and want something better. Currently, trends and attitudes see youth looking to leave the laborious farming life behind for better opportunities in other sectors. “Rural youth recently reported that access to information, lack of credit and negative perceptions around farming are the leading reasons” [IFAD, 2017]. In Cambodia, migration of young rural workers away from farms has been significant in the past 15 years and threatens to cause a future labor shortage in the agriculture industry. This creates a challenge, in Cambodia and many other countries, as a new generation of farmers is needed to achieve the global challenge of feeding a growing world population.

In Cambodia, the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium (ASMC) is working to change the labor-intensive perception of farming and showcase agricultural careers as an attractive option for youth. The advances in agronomy, crop science, agribusiness, agro-engineering, agro-processing and agricultural education, agriculture has evolved into an expansive and exciting field in recent decades.  An agriculture-centered life has taken on new meaning, and there is a need to expose youth to the vast opportunities available within the field.

Dr. Alan Hansen, Director of the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium testing the ASMC developed power-tiller pulled direct rice seeder in Battambang, Cambodia

Continue reading “ASMC Integrates Sustainable Mechanization into Technology Parks to Engage Cambodian Youth”