University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture
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Abstract

Service learning programs are becoming a part of curricula in universities throughout the United States. The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, (UAF) established a service learning program that targeted the educational, health, social, and agricultural needs of a community. The focus of this research aimed to provide students, faculty, community members, school officials, and students with a template for crop budgets. These crop budgets are used to evaluate the costs and returns of producing multiple crops at a school. Crops produced in a sustainable garden must meet three criteria: 1) have minimal negative environmental impact, 2) provide just-in-time production of quality crops to meet school needs, 3) be solvent, i.e. the garden generates net positive revenue from the sale of crop or provides cost savings by growing crops at the school rather than purchasing them elsewhere. This proposal focuses on developing enterprise budgets for four crops: chili peppers, cabbage, corn, and tomatoes, and an interactive Excel® budgeting tool to evaluate revenues and expenses of crop production. The design of the interactive budgets is to provide a framework that students at UAF can use in their service learning courses when examining the costs and benefits of agriculturally based projects, while also being a functional aid for the recipients of the service learning program.

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