Agriculture of the Middle is an initiative addressing the problem of the disproportionate disappearance of midsize farms and ranches in the US, and the markets and infrastructure needed to maintain their viability. From the beginning, the initiative identified research as a critical component. Information is lacking on new models that would enable farmers and other community entrepreneurs to become full partners in business ventures, so that they and their communities can improve their economic viability.
In the last decade, many of the most important issues—for example, climate change, bioenergy, and local and regional food supplies—have required new thinking and research that crosses disciplines. Advancing Agriculture of the Middle poses similar challenges. As such, a central goal of this project is to encourage cross-pollination among agricultural researchers. We also hope that, through exposure to relevant and viable research ideas such as those presented here, scholars will be inspired to conduct more of the research so needed in this field.