Larry Clement, the board member on sabbatical, showing Dr Vincas Laurutis the Auksuciai demonstration farm and forest.

Foundation/Centras Goals for 2005

The current goals for the Foundation and the Farm Center are extensive but related and well-focused. They are identified in the recent posting of the Research/Educational Agenda for the Farm Center:

1. Cultivation Practices
This project involves serious observations on current cultural practices conducted by Lithuanian farmers. The goal is to determine where efficiencies and cost-cutting measures can be made from production inputs.

  • Evaluate current seeding rate and fertilizer recommendations of small grain and other crops to determine validity and/or recommend rates that will optimize production.
  • Evaluate current land preparation practices, including minimum tillage, for various cereal and grain crops to minimize production costs while maintaining or improving yields.

2. New Crop Introductions
New cultivars of edible plant species is of great interest to Lithuanian farmers. This project evaluates the introduction of crops not presently grown in Lithuania or new varieties of current crops. Dominant in this study are vegetable, fruit, and berry crops, as well as traditional cereal grain crops. Evaluations and studies are conducted both in greenhouses and in the field.

  • Develop guidelines for economic production of asparagus in Lithuania.
  • Develop guidelines and production parameters for commercial production of new varieties of blueberries in Lithuania.
  • Develop new production practices for apples, plums, apricots, and other stone fruits.
  • Develop guidelines for optimum production of various vine-berry crops.
  • Continue studies on the development of hot-house cultivation for introduction of new and different vegetable crops.
  • Develop commercial size demonstrations on all new crop introductions.
3. Pest Management
The proper use of pesticides and/or the organic culture of crops are of primary importance to Lithuanian farmers and the EU. Studies in pest management will determine the best management practices for producing economic crops with judicial use of pesticides or none at all.

  • Introduce disease and insect resistant varieties of crops that normally require pesticide applications
  • Investigate and develop proper uses of insecticides and herbicides on various crops.
  • Develop guidelines for implementation of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) practices in Lithuania.

4. Economics and Marketing
In all research and educational activities the economics of production must be considered. Just because a crop grows well in the Lithuanian environment does not equate to economic production and/or a reasonable profit for farmers. Markets must be established for new crops and farmer associations may be needed to provide sufficient production for market development. Economic evaluations of all crop production studies are a primary function of reliable agricultural research.

  • Provide analysis of economics of production of all crops under research and investigation.
  • Provide local farmers with strategies for marketing locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Provide farmers with independent analysis of EU farm programs.

5. Long Term Investigations
Long term research means just that - long-term investigations on the effects of all inputs into a given area (usually about 1 hectare) to determine what the long-term effects of these inputs have on the production of the crop, the environment, and the sustainability of agriculture. The experimental design for this project involves setting aside approximate 25 one hectare blocks where each can be isolated and all inputs and outputs can be measured over the long term.

  • Develop a program to provide for long-term (10-25 years) investigations on sustainable farming practices.
  • Design and carry out a study involving several horticultural and grain crops comparing organic production practices with conventional farming methods. The organic farming trials would meet all standards for European organic production.

6. Educational Activities
Conducting the research is only part of the continuum of agricultural education for farmers. Of equal importance are the extension of this information to the farmers in cooperation with major Lithuanian universities and other institutions of higher learning throughout the world.

  • Cooperate with local universities and institutions to conduct research and provide for the education of local small-size farmers.
  • Develop publications aimed at informing growers of current and future agricultural situations, production practices and results of research findings.
  • Conduct bi-annual field days to demonstrate research findings.
  • Conduct grower meetings and seminars on timely topics for farmers as needed.
  • Develop exchange programs for university-level students to study in U.S. and vice versa.

Foundation/Centras Goals for 2004

  • Begin construction on the Agricultural and Forestry Research and Training Center at the farm site in Lithuania.

  • Conduct a Symposium and Field Day in July of 2004 involving local farmers and agricultural specialists from Lithuania, U.S., and other countries.

  • Install the ecological native plant landscaping in the entrance and fire pond area near the site of the new Research and Training Center.

  • Construct a grain-drying facility at the Farm site and establish a program for assisting farmers to improve post-harvest crop handling practices.

  • H.White will be working on EU approved environmentally safe treatments of the Verona mite in Lithuanian beehives, and will be active in trying to establish the equivalent of a government "Honey Board" to coordinate these treatments, support Lithuanian beekeepers, and promote the production/sales of Lithuanian honey in the EU and elsewhere

  • Publish the 2003 Research and Education Report.

Goals for 2003

  • Begin construction of an Agricultural Research and Learning Center at the farm site.

  • Organize and plan a Symposium/Field Day to be held in the summer of 2004.

  • Provide funding to the Auksuciai Farm Center to publish its 2003 Research and Educational Report, showing results of experiments conducted on various fruit, vegetable, grain and forage crops.

  • Engaged the services of an Environmental Landscape Consultant who will prepare a complete landscape plan for the farm and the research and learning center. The focus will be on utilization of native and endangered species of plants and flowers.

  • Develop an Agro tourism program, which will provide the opportunity for visitors to visit the farm and see how the Auksuciai Foundation is working in cooperation with Lithuanians to improve the welfare of farmers and residents in this rural community.

  • Continue demonstration experiment on the introduction of asparagus into Lithuanian farm production system. This will include involvement of local farmers producing and marketing test crops.

Goals for 2002

  • One Board member took a sabbatical leave from the University of California and is spending nine months on site at the farm in Lithuania developing the Research and Demonstration program at the farm.

  • Planned to start construction of a major building on the farm site which will be utilized as a Research and Teaching Center. This has not been started at this time.

  • We conducted a Symposium and a Field Day on site at the farm for local farmers and agricultural research specialists.
Image of future teaching center.