What is the Kerr Center all about?
Innovation, demonstration, education and advocacy: IDEA.
The Kerr Center has been a consistent innovator and leader, the first to bring new ideas and practices to the Sooner State.
On its 4000 acre ranch near Poteau, the center has tried out these new ideas, demonstrating the practical dimensions of sustainable agriculture– with horticulture, livestock and conservation projects.
Education has been its primary mission, through events, publications and now the web.
Since 1965, the Kerr Center has been a loyal, effective advocate for sustainable agriculture, for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers, for rural communities, and for a healthy, sustainable food system, from gate to plate.
The mission of the Kerr Center is to assist in developing sustainable food and farming systems by:
Supporting farms that provide a perpetual stream of economic goods and ecological/environmental benefits, and which enhance the quality of life of farm families, rural residents and society as a whole;
Promoting markets made up of independently owned and operated farms and firms of a scale appropriate to offer a wide variety of product choices for consumers and economic opportunities for existing and beginning farmers;
Encouraging communities to protect the land from misuse, exploitation, and unfettered urban development, to ensure inclusion and equality of opportunity for all; to promote community food security; and support to economic development from within;
Proclaiming the need for a culture that respects the earth and all of its diversity of life, and recognizes the physical, social and spiritual connections between people within a higher order of things.
The Family Farm Structure of Agriculture
- We value the family farm system of production and believe it is cost effective, profitable, and resource conserving when operated under the principles of sustainability
- We value the quality of life that sustainable farms provide, including: being a good place to raise children; giving people the opportunity to connect with nature; and providing a clean environment
- We value policies that provide support for family farmers to diversify with alternative production and marketing practices
- We value information and education drawn from farmers’ experiences
A Fair Playing Field
- We value a secure future and a fair playing field for independent farmers and ranchers
- We believe that the cost of food does not currently reflect the costs associated with its production. These costs include natural resource degradation, loss of land, out-migration, and an increasing concentration of power within the food system
- We value open and fair competitive markets free of monopolistic power
- We value policies that are scale/size neutral
- We value an agriculture that does not exploit land or people
- We value policies that allow farmers to pass their land and knowledge down to new farmers at affordable prices
Public Research for the Public Domain
- We value public research at universities which is freely available in a timely manner to the public
- We value the utilization of broad stakeholders’ input in developing research agendas
- We value annual financial disclosures by university funding sources and transparency in
university administrations regarding potential conflicts of interest
- We value the development of affordable, realistic technologies and cultural practices that benefit the entire farming community
The Enhancement and Protection of Natural Resources
- We value farming methods that are ecologically sound, regenerative, and resource conserving
- We value protecting farmland from development pressures
- We value economic support of farmers for protection of natural resources as opposed to support for overproduction of agriculture commodities
- We value having a series of biologically diverse farms rather than large farms that are primarily monocultures
- We value research and subsidies designed to enhance proven technologies and better model natural systems
Respect for Nature
- We value the humane and ethical treatment of animals
- We value the indigenous wisdom of people from all parts of the world
- We value basing an agricultural system on natural cycles
- We value collaborating with nature and the free services that nature provides as a way to restore natural systems rather than dominating nature
Local Food Systems and Better Communities
- We value ensuring food security through regional/local food systems which support local economies and provide fresh produce for entire communities
- We value capturing a greater share of food market dollars for farmers
- We believe that society benefits from communities that are self-sufficient
- We believe that our country needs a comprehensive vision for shaping rural areas