Midwestern land-grant university scientists' definitions of sustainable agriculture: A delphi study

G. Walter, A. Reisner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What scientists include among the essential attributes of sustainable agricultural systems can influence the development of agricultural research agendas and how research is done. Current perspectives on sustainability place varying emphasis on environmental and agrarian values and propose different amounts and kinds of change in agricultural production, agricultural science, and rural social institutions. In a delphi study, agricultural scientists at North Central region land-grant universities considered environmental management and development of new farming technologies as essential to a definition of sustainable agriculture, but gave little importance to social or scientific restructuring. With some qualifications, we characterize their view of sustainability as a stewardship perspective that does not include social considerations and explicitly rejects radical social change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-121
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Alternative Agriculture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994


  • agricultural values
  • delphi method
  • land-grant universities
  • science policy
  • sociology of science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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