Research & Writings

Don’s research and writing has been aimed at finding realistic and effective ways to improve agriculture’s environmental performance without driving farms out of business and farmland into development and to improve salmon habitat in a way that respects the needs of natural resource businesses like farming and commercial fisheries .  The materials provided below are presented in two groups:

a) Materials that were either authored by Don Stuart or had his significant involvement in their development and publication, and

b)  An extensive research bibliography of mostly on-line resources relating to various issues faced in agriculture that relate, in one way or another, to the environment.

These materials are provided here as a service, to enhance public access to practical information about farming and the environment.  For additional information on these issues, the researcher may wish to view the website of American Farmland Trust which has a wealth of materials on these topics.

Note that the materials below are available as PDF files, unless otherwise indicated.

Environmental markets for agriculture:

Farms and ranches generate environmental services that are of great value to the rest of society. Using well-known “best management practices,” farmers and ranchers can greatly enhance those services. Environmental markets can pay for providing them, producing supplemental revenue to help support the working farm or ranch business.

The following materials describe environmental markets, show how they can work for agriculture, and address some of the issues they create:

Conservation incentives in agriculture:

If we are to protect and retain our working farm businesses, we will need strong, effective, and strategic conservation incentive programs. If these programs are to be seen as a viable alternative to regulation, they need to be credible with the public that must pay for them. And they need to be fair, both for taxpayers and for the farmers and ranchers we hope will use them.

The following materials discuss some of the issues with environmental incentive programs and explains how we can make them stronger:

Preserving farmland and the environment:

The loss of farmland to development and its fragmentation into small parcels that are uneconomic for agriculture and end up being put to non-farm uses is almost always a net loss for the environment.

The following materials explain the issues with farmland loss and show how communities can address them while dealing fairly with both their landowners and the rest of their citizens:

Economic viability for agriculture:

Farms are in business. It is when those businesses fail, or when they must sell, that we lose our treasured working farmland. So a necessary part of preserving agriculture and preventing the environmentally damaging development of farmland and ranchland is assuring the economic viability of those farm and ranch businesses.

The following materials deal with economic viability in agriculture and shows how communities can help farmers stay in business and on the land:

More research, resources, and links