Agronomic and Policy Implications
Development of sustainable cropping systems relies heavily on understanding of numerous and complex interactions among plant, soil, water, and pest factors. Cropping systems effects on these interactions are often slow and only well-established long-term experiments and their related sets of measurements provide the framework for detecting and understanding the processes involved.
Long-term data is not only important in the formulation of sound crop management decisions but also in agricultural policy formulations. Politicians debate changes in our environment and agriculture and allocate funds for farm programs and related research based on long-term information. It is for this reason that long-term experimentation in the PNW should be supported and funded at reasonable levels to generate relevant information. The PNW has unique weather, soils, and topography. Long-term effects of these characteristics on agricultural sustainability should be documented and presented to law makers for consideration during agricultural policy and farm program formulations.