An assessment of the approaches and data concerning five green plan project technical reports on the state of agricultural resources

Hoffman, Michael
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Agriculture Canada

AgPlan Limited produced an unsolicited proposal and was subsequently given a contract to compare and contrast five different Green Plan Reports. The five contractors producing these reports were all responding to the same terms of reference provided by a single Request For Proposal. Therefore, it seemed appropriate to compare the five reports by: 1) Identifying their common elements, 2) Highlighting their unique characteristics and, 3) Suggesting how the collective information could be used to provide benefit and guidance for future work in the subject areas addressed by the five reports. Given that the different Reports had a cross section of components, levels of detail (complexity) and area of focus, a framework of questions was derived and used to synthesize information. The questions in the framework were as follows: 1) What variables or factors were used in the different projects? 2) What similarities/dissimilarities arise in the physical resource data when the projects are compared? 3) Are there reasons for these differences (if any) other than contractual arrangements, i.e., the terms of reference and proposals prepared for the work? 4) What are the characteristics of the variables/factors used in the resource base? For example: Are they single component or multiple component? Are they calculations? How feasible are the variables from the perspective of 'cost' of collection, ie., public understanding, practicality as measurements or indicators, current availability (temporal and geographic), scale of measurement and/or application (field, farm, ecosystem)? Are these factors direct or indirect (surrogates) - Do they seem appropriate? What limitations, qualifiers are suggested for the variables/factors? What kinds and degree of risk do these variables/factors distinguish? The results of the review and evaluation have been summarized in matrices and answer two questions: What are essential data, variables or factors? What are desirable data, variables or factors? The evaluation also considers scale (appropriate levels), availability and adequacy of data as well as limitations to application. Reference to the literature and/or practice (past and present) in agrology was made in support of the evaluation.

Green Plan
agriculture, farm management practices, environmental sustainability, research