Dear colleagues and friends,

On behalf of the Farming Systems Design community and the Universidad de la República (Uruguay), we are delighted to invite you to the 6th Farming Systems Design Conference (FSD6) in Montevideo, from the 18th to the 21st of August, 2019. FSD is an informal interdisciplinary scientific community of practice that promotes research and capacity building on farming systems design. The research focus of the FSD community is the farm system, the interactions and feedbacks at lower and higher levels of integration and the tools and methods required for understanding and implementing multi-functional farming systems. This community of scientists was brought together for the first time at a conference in Catania (Italy) in 2007, with the objective of moving our research focus from traditional field-level agronomic studies towards integrative farm system level approaches, in order to inform the dialog of science with practice, policy and business, and to foster co-learning processes. The unexpected success of the conference signaled the large interest of agricultural researchers to develop approaches and tools to support the design of sustainable farming systems worldwide. The four following conferences held in 2009 in Monterey (USA), in 2011 in Brisbane (Australia), in 2013 in Lanzhou (China) and in 2015 in Montpellier (France) reconfirmed the interest of the FSD community. The sixth conference will be held in August 2019 in Montevideo (Uruguay) to continue strengthening this community and renew its commitment with generating knowledge and supporting innovation for a sustainable future.

The theme of FSD6 conference is “Agricultural systems designs sustained by nature”, seeking for designs that make more intelligent use of biological processes to support environmentally and socially friendly production systems. We want to promote process and system-level understanding and quantification of current efficiency of the use of land and other production factors at multiple scales (field, farm, landscape, regional). One specific target of the FSD6 is to widen the interdisciplinary coverage of the FSD community, beyond the original core of agronomists. We welcome contributions from crop and animal science (including fisheries), economics, social sciences, ecology, management science, knowledge science, computer science… provided they contribute to the advancement of the science on farming systems analysis, assessment or design.

Montevideo is the capital city of Uruguay, a port town embracing the vast estuary of the Río de la Plata and at three hours by boat from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Agriculture plays a central role on both countries’ economies, exporters of agricultural products to different parts of the world. This conference will present the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge and information from the various initiatives towards the development of sustainable agricultural systems in the region, such as nature-inclusive agriculture, agroecology, peri-urban food production, grassland-based livestock, conservation farming, landscape agronomy, etc. The location presents an ideal setting for a meeting like this.

On behalf of the organizing committee, we look forward to welcoming you in Montevideo in August 2019. We hope we can use this conference to contribute together to a more sustainable future by promoting research and capacity building on farming systems design.

Dr. Santiago Dogliotti and Dr. Pablo Tittonell