Kathryn (Douglass) Calilan, M.S.
Education: Bachelor of Science in biological and agricultural engineering (May 2015)
Master of Science in civil engineering from Kansas State University
McNair Project: Comparison of Environmental Effects of Agricultural Practices in Kansas and Southern Africa (2013)
Mentor: Philip Barnes, Ph.D.
In order to meet the current and future food demands, farmers will have to reexamine their practices, and have a better understanding of the ecosystem. Taking care of our natural resources will prove to be a challenge, but environmental health is a key factor to good production. Kansas is known as the breadbasket of the world, and while there is unlimited access to knowledge and resources, farmers still need to decrease their environmental impact through Better Management Practices (BMPs). Soil and water conservation are necessary with current predicted global climate models, and while Kansas has more freedom to be less conscientious, farmers in South Africa and Mozambique do not. Mozambique and a good portion of South Africa are small scale farmers, sustaining themselves and their families, and there is still a high demand for food. The only way for Southern Africa to develop to a point where farmers develop more sustainable practices is better agricultural policies, increased government involvement in terms of access to knowledge and financing, as well as a strong extension agency with more developed research. Until the education sector is developed, it will be difficult to understand the true environmental effects from their agricultural production.