Nitrogen in California Agriculture: The big uncertainties

by spogburn — last modified Jun 10, 2010 09:45 AM

Yesterday, nearly 30 leaders in California agriculture (members of the California Nitrogen Assessment Stakeholder Advisory Committee) gathered together to kick off a two-day nitrogen scenarios process. The goal of this event is to envision a future for nitrogen in California agriculture, and integrate some of these visions and ideas into the work of the assessment. 

On Wednesday, attendees each took an opportunity to list three of the top driving forces they saw in the issue of nitrogen in agriculture. The list of these 80-plus items was then grouped into eight major areas of change, which help give participants a framework into understanding the arenas where agriculture might change in the future. 

The eight categories are:

1. Changes in farm/agriculture industry technology;

2. Changes in farming economics;

3. Advances in scientific understanding of the nitrogen cycle;

4. Advances in technologies that influence the nitrogen cycle;

5. Trends in the societal impact of nitrogen flows;

6. Changes in how fossil fuel use impacts agriculture;

7. Shifts in public policy related to managing nitrogen impacts;

8. Evolution of information gathering and sharing about nitrogen 

Today, participants had to pick just two categories out of these eight to focus on for building scenarios around nitrogen use in California. The categories they chose were those that they felt were the most important and also the most uncertain. They are now developing scenarios within these categories. 

Our next post will detail the two categories they chose, and describe more about the scenarios that participants have created. Stay tuned!

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