The FFSG conducts rigorous interdisciplinary research that aims to understand and meet the needs of a wide range of future farming systems. It also aims to understand and engage with farmers and their influencers and so precipitate beneficial change in farming systems and practices both nationally and internationally. A key feature is the wide range of farm-based research projects, where scientific hypotheses can be tested in-situ, the results thereby contextualised and their wider implications for future farming systems explored. This greatly facilitates participation of and knowledge exchange with farmers and other decision makers so ensuring that new insights and innovations are taken up quickly and appropriately in support of sustainable food production.
Why we do it
World population has topped 7 billion and is set to reach 9 billion by 2050. Meeting the increasing food demands of these people with diminishing means of supply, safely, ethically and equitably while improving the environment rather than adding to the burden of climate change is the greatest challenge agriculture has ever faced.
Farmers throughout the world must rise to this challenge by adapting their farming systems to meet changing circumstances, taking up established and new technologies and practices as necessary to provide the best mix of outputs with minimum use of non-renewable inputs. To do this, they will need the right information at the right time and in the right form to support their decision making.
Scientific research underpins this by providing the necessary technologies and an understanding of some of the processes involved. However, such research must be combined with research from other disciplines, be placed in a wider context, be demonstrated in farming practice and involve the decision makers themselves if it is to help ensure adequate and sustainable food production in the future. This wider systems research perspective is often neglected in agricultural research and is therefore the focus for FFSG.