Family Farming Production Systems

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The Graduate Program in Family Farming Production Systems was created in early 2006 offering masters and doctoral classes. It is currently ranked by CAPES as a grade 5 program. Implemented in partnership with EMBRAPA (Center for Temperate Climate Agricultural Research), the Program’s faculty is comprised of researchers who work as professors and advisors and whose presence supports research intended to develop this important segment of Brazilian agriculture. The Program is committed to family farming and aims to:

– Train human resources for teaching, research, and agrosilvopastoral production;

– Increase the competitiveness of the regional production capacity based on a better understanding of the processes concerning crop production and farm management;

– Deepen and expand knowledge about the environment, especially soil-plant-atmosphere relationships and their interdependencies with the physiological processes and agronomic responses of cultivated species;

– Understand the agrosilvopastoral production as a disturbing activity to natural ecosystems based on the study of the relationships among energy, environment and man;

– Identify and develop agronomic practices committed to the principles of sustainability and linked to a systemic view of production;

– Prepare agricultural sciences professionals to work in the development of sustainable models for family farming;

– Strengthen family farming as a key element to the process of promoting sustainable rural development.

Area of Concentration

Lines of Research

Physical Environment and Agro-ecosystems Dynamics

Studies of plant-environment interactions are based on physical and agricultural sciences. They relate plant growth, development, management, and production to environmental factors, including the response of agricultural crops to weather and climate, the use of water for agriculture, the use of radiant energy by plants, crop forecasting, and the sustainability of agricultural production systems. Knowledge of the water use requirement for a crop and the rational management of water resources are key factors in maximizing production.

Lines of work: agrometeorology and plant bioclimatology; greenhouses; energy balance in agricultural systems; phenology; plant-environment interaction; soil-plant-water-atmosphere relations; biophysical dynamics of agro-ecosystems; irrigation management; soil quality and agro-ecosystems sustainability.

Sustainable Rural Development

This line of research relates to the multidimensional nature (social, economic, ecological, ethical, political, and cultural) of agro-ecosystems’ sustainability, as well as other topics associated with the different forms of knowledge and knowledge production involving the use and conservation of natural resources. Within this line of research, reference is made to the processes that affect the dynamics of family farming as a key player in rural development, including the innumerable aspects relating to the impact of social policies in the rural scene. It also includes studies and projects related to the economic feasibility of family-owned stores as far as access to markets, agri-food chains and the Brazilian agro-industrial complex.

Lines of work: development of sustainability indicators; assessment of agro-ecosystems sustainability; family farming dynamics; development of multi-criteria analysis techniques; cooperatives; rural sociology; evaluation of public policies for agriculture and rural communities; food security; agri-food chains; strategies of family farming reproduction; peasantry and traditional knowledge.

Biological Processes in Agricultural Production Systems

Development and evaluation of agricultural production systems including aspects of management, cultural practices, new challenges, and future prospects related to the science and technology involved in the production of the most socioeconomically important crops to family farming in southern Brazil. In this sense, more emphasis is given to the growing of vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants, medicinal plants, forage, subsistence crops, and forest species adapted to the soil and climate conditions of the region and the interactions of this type of crop with the environment from a sustainable perspective. Furthermore, it includes projects for the development and evaluation of agricultural machinery and the use of biotechnological techniques (plant cell and tissue culture) aiming to get virus-free genotypes and new genetic material from those species.

Lines of work: greenhouse crops management; ecophysiology of plant production processes; soilless cultures; vegetable grafting; organic waste and vermicomposting; substrates for vegetable seedlings; evaluation, optimization and development of technologies for agricultural mechanization; agro-energy.

Study Plan

Courses are chosen by students in partnership with their advisor professors at the beginning of the program. There are no mandatory courses.

The following courses are available: Adverse Impacts of Climate Change in Agriculture; Agrometeorology; Agroenergy; Oilseed plants and Bioenergy; Phenology of Annual and Perennial Crops; Forage Production Systems; Soil Biology; Organic Waste in Agricultural Systems; Alternative Substrates For Plants in Family Farming; Soil Quality and Sustainability in Agro-ecosystems; Ecologically-Based Production Systems; Soilless Culture; Vegetable Production; Ecophysiology of Greenhouse Vegetable Production; Special Topics in Olericulture; Advanced Topics in Plant Production; Bioactive Plants; Sustainable Rural Development; Dynamics of Family Farming and the Rural Environment; Sociology and Rural Development; Family Farming Organization, Management and Administration; Distinctive Market Features in Family Farming; Ecological Economics and Sustainable Rural Development; Epistemology Applied to Agroecological Transition; Methods of Social Research in Agriculture; Dynamics of Soil-Machinery Relations I; Dynamics of Soil-Machinery Relations II; Agricultural Machinery Testing; Low-Powered Agricultural Machinery; Machinery for the Spreading of Plant Protection Products, Pesticides and Fertilizers; Family Farming Mechanization; Project Methodology for Agri-industrial Products; Supervised Research in Family Farming Production Systems; Supervised Teaching.

The student who has their Dissertation or Thesis approved and ratified by the Program’s Board shall receive the Diploma of Master or PhD in Agronomy, indicating the undertaken degree’s name.


Ana Cláudia Rodrigues de Lima (

Ângelo Vieira dos Reis (

Antônio Jorge Amaral Bezerra (

Antônio Lilles Tavares Machado (

Carlos Rogério Mauch (

Edgar Ricardo Schöffel (

Flavio Sacco dos Anjos (

Gustavo Schiedeck (

Roberta Marins Nogueira Peil (

Sérgio Delmar dos Anjos Silva (

Tânia Beatriz Gamboa Araújo Morselli (

Associate faculty

Carlos Alberto Barbosa Medeiros (

Helvio Debli Casalinho (

Isabel Lago (

Mário Conill Gomes (

Nádia Velleda Caldas (

Number of credits required

The Program requires the completion of 24 credits for the master's degree and 48 credits for the doctorate degree – in this case, the master’s program completion is worth 24 credits. Credits are obtained by successful completion of the Graduate Program in Family Farming Production Systems’ courses or of other program’s courses (amounting to a maximum of 4 credits for the master’s and 8 for the doctorate degree to students coming from other programs) and the publication of academic articles in indexed journals or publications rated with a Qualis A or B concept (4 credits) as first author and student of the Program.

Antiga Alfândega · Praça Domingos Rodrigues · Patrimônio Cultural da Universidade