The 6th International Symposium for Farming Systems Design 2019
Montevideo, 24th – 29th, March, 2019
“Agricultural systems designs sustained by nature”
The Farming Systems Design community

Farming Systems Design (FSD) is an interdisciplinary scientific community of practice that promotes research and capacity building in the design of more productive, resilient, sustainable, and socially responsible agricultural systems. The research focus of the FSD community is the farm system level, the interactions and feedbacks at lower and higher levels of organization and the tools and methods required in the quantification of indicators across the productivity, economic, environmental, human and social dimensions of agricultural systems.

This community of scientists was brought together for the first time at a conference in Catania (Italy) in 2007, where the need to change from traditional field-level and disciplinary agronomic studies towards integrative and interdisciplinary research approaches was challenging. The success of the conference signaled the unexpectedly large interest of researchers to develop approaches and tools to support sustainable development of farming systems worldwide. The four following conferences held in 2009 in Monterey (USA), 2011 in Brisbane (Australia), 2013 in Lanzhou (China) and 2015 in Montpellier (France) reconfirmed the interest of the community to inform the dialog of science with practice, policy and business, and to foster co-learning processes. The sixth conference will be held in March 2019 in Montevideo (Uruguay) to continue strengthening the FSD scientific 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, and landscape, regional). One of the specific targets of 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), economy, social sciences, ecology, management science, knowledge science, computer science… provided they contribute to the advance of 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. Field tours will be offered in both countries and the location presents an ideal setting for a meeting like this.

Vision and mission

•          Following the success of previous conferences, the Universidad de la República (Uruguay) was asked to organize the next symposium (FSD6) in order to strengthen the interdisciplinary and methodological focus of the FSD initiative on methodologies for the design of productive and sustainable farming systems in a multi-scale and multi-domains approach. This means that FSD, although focused on the design of farming systems, deals with local as well global issues as target and constraints (food and nutrition security, social equity, climate change, biodiversity, economic development, innovation systems, risk management, etc.).
•          FSD6 will be an opportunity to extend the collaborations with major agronomy societies around the world as well as with scientific societies in other disciplines or international institutions or initiatives with an interest in farming systems. We also aim at involving research aimed to policy design, incentives and investment, as well as players in the value/supply chains, to help secure positive change within farming systems.
•          The targeted audience is max 400 participants with a balance between scientific presentations, workshops (with enough time for both presentations and interaction among participants) and stimulation of international collaboration. There will be a call for mini-symposia proposals, oral presentations, posters and short videos (10 minutes max). The later should show farm systems innovation stories and will be organized and projected in sessions in late afternoon.
•          Engaging young scientists in FSD research, disseminating recent advances of FSD research to a broader community (including private sector and development agencies), and attracting the participation of Latin-American scientific groups working in development of agroecology and ecological intensification of production systems in cooperation with farmers and farmers’ organizations will be a priority in FSD6.
•          The dissemination of the major scientific contributions to the symposium will be ensured with two special issues in Agricultural Systems and European Journal of Agronomy edited after the conference. If there is enough interest, a third special issue for contributions with local relevance might be published in AGROCIENCIA (scientific journal of Facultad de Agronomía and INIA), which publishes papers in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
•          The call for abstracts will be launched in June 2018. Priority will be given to conceptual and methodological papers, case studies and experiments reports being accepted only if they illustrate/challenge these methods and concepts.