Participatory modeling in dairy farm systems: a method for building consensual environmental sustainability using seasonal climate forecasts
|Title||Participatory modeling in dairy farm systems: a method for building consensual environmental sustainability using seasonal climate forecasts|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2008|
|Authors||Cabrera V, Breuer N, Hildebrand P|
Dairy farmers face increasing pressure to decrease environmental impact while remaining economically viable. Adaptation of farm management practices in response to seasonal climate forecasts may be one means of achieving these objectives. This paper describes the interactive and iterative process by which farmers, researchers, extension agents, regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders collaborated to create, calibrate, and validate the Dynamic North Florida Dairy Farm model (DyNoFlo), a whole-farm decision support system to decrease nitrogen leaching while maintaining profitability under variable climate conditions. Participatory modeling may enhance the creation of adoptable and adaptable user-friendly models that include environmental, economic and biophysical components. By providing farmers, policy makers, and other stakeholders with a more holistic view of current practices, common ground among them was more easily identified and collaboration was fostered. Farmer values included willingness to be good environmental stewards when they are profitable. The participatory research and development process enhanced understanding of and potential adaptation to seasonal climate variability conditioned to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases in light of increasing environmental regulations and economic challenges. Adoption of the collaboratively-developed DyNoFlo is expected to be higher than usual because stakeholders feel greater ownership of the final product.