• What individuals or groups (outside of your farm operation) have been important to your operation’s viability or sustainability?

  • Has the relationship to neighbors and community changed? Are they supportive of your farming in any way?

  • Investments in natural resource management (soil, water, and air quality; conserving water; water reuse; energy use and efficiency; improving wetlands and/or wildlife habitat; integrated pest management, beneficial insects, etc.)

  • Investments in improving the quality and safety of food and fiber products, improved varieties, improved processing and handling, enhanced testing and screening, reducing use of pesticides, etc.)

    • Which have served as significant challenges to the survival of the operation?

      • Land costs or rental costs

      • Changes in weather patterns

      • Availability of labor

      • Willingness of younger generation to take over farm

      • Ability of the farm operation to meet the basic costs of supporting your family/families

      • Federal, state, and local policies

        • New environmental regulations

        • Traditional commodity programs

        • Value-added, diversification, or local marketing programs

        • Access to organic prices information

      • Cost of inputs

    • How have you overcome some of the barriers to your success?

    • In what ways has your operation been able to enhance or sustain its natural resources over the last 15 years?

      • Have you noticed any changes in any of the following resources?

        • Soils (quality, organic matter, nutrient and water availability, erosion rates, salinity problems, etc.)

        • Water (costs, quantity, availability, efficiency of use, impacts on surface and ground water quality, etc.)

        • Biodiversity (wetlands; habitat for beneficial insects, birds, other wildlife)

        • Air quality (odors, roads, processing and storage facilities, etc.)

        • Energy (production, costs, use, alternative sources, etc.)

        • Others?

      • What specific steps have you taken to enhance or sustain these resources?

    • What do you think is the future outlook for your own farming operation/enterprise?

      • How much longer will you be able to stay in business?

      • What factors will most influence your long-term viability?

      • Quality and sustainability of your natural resource base (soil, water, air, biodiversity, energy, etc.)

      • What kinds of information/services/programs would be most helpful to sustaining the future viability of your operation?

    • What do you think is the future outlook for sustainable/systems/organic farming in the United States?

    • Has that future outlook changed since 1989?



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