Charles A. Francis

Charles A. Francis

Charles A. Francis

Professor of Agronomy

B.S., Agronomy, University of California at Davis, 1961
M.S., Plant Breeding, Cornell University, 1967
Ph.D., Plant Breeding, Cornell University, 1970

Area of Focus

Agronomy, Crop Rotations, and Farming Systems

Research Interests

Design of resource efficient cropping systems, long-term rotations and cover crops, spatially diverse field designs, integrated crop/animal systems, whole farm planning and watershed design for environmentally sound production systems; on-farm and participatory research and educational activities, collaborative research design; future farming systems, role of diversity and integrated resource management, value added enterprises and products, and relationships of small and moderate-scale family farms to viable rural communities.

Extension Interests

Crop rotations, design of resource efficient crop, animal, and agroforestry systems, sustainable practices and farming systems in watershed design, value-added enterprises and products, organic farming and gardening, integration of farming with community viability, participatory on-farm research and education programs, regional professional development program in North Central Region.

Major Project Activities

Education and research in long-term crop rotations, analysis of flexible rotation systems, crop/animal integration, whole-farm and landscape analysis and design, on-farm research design and interpretation, urbanization of rural landscapes, farming at the rural/urban interface, small and large-scale land control changes (land grabs), innovative and participatory learning environments, and research in experiential learning.

Courses Taught


  •  Lv, Y., C. Francis, P. Wu, X. Chen, and X. Zhao. 2014. Maize–soybean intercropping interactions above and below ground. Crop Sci. 54(3):914-922. doi:10.2135/cropsci2013.06.0403
  • Rótolo, G.C., C. Francis, R.M. Craviotto, S. Viglia, A. Pereyra, and S. Ulgiati.  2014. Time to re-think the GMO revolution in agriculture. Ecological Informatics 26:35-49.
  • Rotolo, G.C., C.A. Francis, R.M. Craviotto, and S. Ulgiati. 2014. Environmental Assessment of Corn Production Alternatives. Traditional, Intensive and Genetically Modified Cropping Patterns. Ecological Indicators [in review]
  • Rótolo, G.C., S. Montico, C.A. Francis, and S. Ulgiati. 2015. How Land Allocation and Technology Innovation Affect the Sustainability of Agriculture in Argentina Pampas: An Expanded Life Cycle Analysis. Agricultural Systems 141(December):79-93.
  • Rotolo, G.C., C. Francis, R.M. Cravioto, and S Ulgiati. 2015. Environmental assessment of maize production alternatives: traditional, intensive, and GMO-based cropping patterns. Ecological Indicators 57:48-60.
  • Francis, C.A., J.M. Smith, C. Bradburn, K. Sanchez Gonzalez, H.L. Scharff, J.K. Simons, and D. Leingang. 2015. Student-Designed Course in Land Ownership Changes. NACTA J. 59(1):84-87.
  • Blanco-Canqui, H., T. Shaver, J. Lindquist, R. Elmore, C. Shapiro, and C. Francis. 2015. Cover crops and soil ecosystem services. Agronomy Journal 107(6):2449-2474.
  •  Francis, C., B. Johnson, and J. Van Wart. 2014. How to Regenerate Rural Community and Ecoservices: Reversing the Tragedy of the Commons. Agron. J. 106(1):1-5.
  • Francis, C. 2014. Crop production and future food systems. Ch. 8 in Food Systems and Public Health, Roni Neff, editor. Jossey-Bass Publishers, Thousand Oaks, California.
  • Francis, C., G. Lieblein, T.A. Breland, S. Morse, and L. Salomonsson. 2014. Experiential learning using the open-ended case: future agroecology education. Ch. 17 in Agroecology, Agroecosystems and Sustainability: Concepts and Applications, N. Benkeblia, editor. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
  • Eksvard, K., L. Salomonsson, C. Francis, Z. Kahsay, S.T. Kiggundu, and N.M. Musoke. 2014. Narrowing the gap between academia and practice. NACTA J 58(2):148-154.
  • Lieblein, G., and C. Francis. 2013. Faculty prerequisites for dialogue-based education. -Teaching Tips', NACTA Journal 57(3):72-74.
  • Lund, T., C. Francis, and G. Lieblein. 2013. Translating knowledge into action at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB). Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension [Wageningen]
  • Francis, C., T. Hanson, A. Fox, P. Hesje, H. Nelson, A. Lawseth, and A. English. 2012. Farmland conversion to non-agricultural uses in U.S. and Canada: current impacts and concerns for the future. Intl. J. Agric. Sustainability 10(1):8-24.
  • Lieblein, G., T.A. Breland, C. Francis, and E. østergaard. 2012. Agroecology Education: Action-oriented Learning and Research J. Agric. Education & Extension. 18(1):27-40.
  • Moncure, S., and C. Francis. 2012. Foundations of Experiential Education for Agroecology. NACTA J. 55(3):75-91.
  • Francis, C.A., and P. Porter. 2011. Ecology in sustainable agriculture practices and systems. . CRC Critical Reviews in Plant Science 30(1&2):64-73.
  • Francis, C.A., N. Jordan, P. Porter, T.A. Breland, G. Lieblein, L. Salomonsson, N. Sriskandarajah, M. Wiedenhoeft, R. DeHaan, I. Braden, and V. Langer. 2011. Innovative education in agroecology: experiential learning for a sustainable agriculture. CRC Critical Reviews in Plant Science 30(1&2):226-237.
  • Lieblein, G., T.A Breland, L. Salomonsson, N. Sriskandarajah, C. Francis. 2008. Educating Tomorrow's Agents of Change for Sustainable Food Systems: Nordic Agroecology MSc Program. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, Special issue on Sustainable Food Systems. 3(2):309-327.
  • Østergaard, E., G. Lieblein, T.A. Breland, and C. Francis. 2010. Students learning agroecology: phenomenon-based education for responsible action. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension (Wageningen). 16(1):23-37.
  • Wortman, S.E., J.L. Lindquist, M.J. Haar, and C.A. Francis. 2010. Increased weed diversity, density and above-groun biomass in long-term organic crop rotations. Renewable Agri. & Food Systems J. 25(4):281-295.
  • Waldenström, C., L. Salomonsson, C. Francis, M. Moulton, and G. Lieblein. 2008. Individualized student-centred education: prototype for an agroecology BSc programme. Internat. J. Agric. Sustainability 6(4):236-247.
  • Salomonsson, L., A. Nilsson, S. Palmer, A. Roigart, and C. Francis. 2008. Farming systems education: case study of Swedish test pilots. Renewable Agric Food Systems. 24(1)48-59.
  • Ahnström, J., J. Höckert, H.L. Bergeå, C.A. Francis, P. Skelton, and L. Hallgren. 2008. Farmers and nature conservation: what is known about attitudes, context factors and actions affecting conservation? Renewable Agric Food Systems. 24(1):38-47.
  • Wezel, A., S. Bellon, T. Dore, C. Francis, D. Vallod, and C. David.. 2009. Agroecology as a science, a movement or a practice. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 29(4):503-516.
  • Fernando, K.M.C., G. Lieblein, C. Francis, and L. Weerakoon. 2009. Development of sustainable ecological vegetable production systems in Matara district, Sri Lanka: an intervention approach. Tropical Agric. Res. 20:279-289.
  • Bakewell-Stone, P., G. Lieblein, and C. Francis. 2008. Potentials for organic agriculture to sustain livelihoods in Tanzania. Intl. J. Agricultural Sustainability. 6(1):22-36.
  • Francis, C.A., G. Lieblein, T.A. Breland, L. Salomonsson, U. Geber, N. Sriskandarajah, and V. Langer. 2008. Transdisciplinary research for a sustainable agriculture and food sector. Agron. J. 100(3):771-776.
  • Lieblein, G., T.A. Breland, E. Ostergaard, L. Salomonsson, and C. Francis. 2007. Educational perspectives in agroecology: steps on a dual learning ladder toward responsible action. NACTA J. 51(1):37-44.
  • Rotolo, G.C., T. Rydberg, G. Lieblein, and C. Francis. 2007. Emergy evaluation of grazing cattle in Argentina's Pampas. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 119:383-395.
  • Lieblein, G., and C. Francis. 2007. Towards responsible action through agroecological education. Italian J. Agronomy/Riv. Agron. 2:79-86.
  • Francis, C., R. Elmore, J. Ikerd, and M. Duffy. 2007. Greening of agriculture: is it all a greenwash of the globalized economy? J. Crop Improvement 19(1&2):193-220.
  • Åsebø¸, K., A.M. Jervell, G. Lieblein, M. Svennerud, and C. Francis. 2007. Farmer and consumer attitudes at farmers markets in Norway. J. Sustainable Agric. 30(4):67-93.
  • Sriskandarajah, N., C. Francis, L. Salomonsson, H. Kahiluoto, G. Lieblein, T.A. Breland, U. Geber, and J. Helenius. 2006. Education and training in ecological agriculture: Nordic Region and U.S.A. Chapter 16 in: The Science in Organic Agriculture, P. Kristiansen, A. Taji, and J. Reganold, editors. CSIRO, Australia. p. 385-406.
  • Seppø¤nen, L. and Francis, C. 2006. Design of farmer education and training in organic agriculture. Chapter 17 in: P. Kristiansen, A.Taji, and J. Reganold, editors. Organic Agriculture: a Global Perspective. CSIRO, Australia. p. 407- 419.
  • Francis, C., R. Poincelot, and G. Bird, editors. 2006. Developing and Extending a Sustainable Agriculture: A New Social Contract. Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY.
  • Poincelot, R., C. Francis, and G.W. Bird. 2006. Overview of the educational social contract: building a foundation for sustainable agriculture. Ch. 1 in: A New Social Contract: Developing and Extending Sustainable Agriculture, C. Francis, R. Poincelot, and R. Bird, editors. Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY. pp. 1-24.
  • DeWitt, J., and C. Francis. 2006. Transformation in the heartland: emergence of sustainable agriculture in Iowa. Ch. 7 in: A New Social Contract: Developing and Extending Sustainable Agriculture, C. Francis, R. Poincelot, and R. Bird, editors. Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY. pp. 141-156.
  • Carter, H., C. Francis, and R. Olson. 2006. Regional training workshops for sustainable agriculture. Ch. 8 in: A New Social Contract: Developing and Extending Sustainable Agriculture, C. Francis, R. Poincelot, and R. Bird, editors. Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY. pp. 157-182.
  • Waller, S.S., E.C. Dickey, and C. Francis. 2006. Regionalization of a research and education competitive grants program. Ch. 9 in: A New Social Contract: Developing and Extending Sustainable Agriculture, C. Francis, R. Poincelot, and R. Bird, editors. Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY. pp.183-202.
  • Schoeneberger, M., G. Bentrup, C. Francis, and R. Straight. 2006. Creating viable living linkages between farms and communities. Ch. 11 in: A New Social Contract: Developing and Extending Sustainable Agriculture, C. Francis, R. Poincelot, and R. Bird, editors. Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY. pp. 225-246.
  • Trout, S.K., C. Francis, and J.E. Barbuto Jr. 2006. Motivation theory and motivation research in sustainable agriculture. Ch. 14 in: A New Social Contract: Developing and Extending Sustainable Agriculture, C. Francis, R. Poincelot, and R. Bird, editors. Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY. pp. 289-306.
  • Francis, C. 2006. Future multifunctional rural landscapes and communities. Ch. 16 in: A New Social Contract: Developing and Extending Sustainable Agriculture, C. Francis, R. Poincelot, and R. Bird, editors. Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY. pp.325-342.
  • Gillebo, T., and C. Francis. 2006. Stakeholder cooperation in sustainable development: three case studies in Norway. J. Rural & Community Devel. 2(1):28-43.
  • Trout, S., C. Francis, and J. Barbuto. 2005. Evaluation and perceived impacts of the North-Central Region SARE grants, 1988-2002. J. Sustainable Agriculture 27 (2): 117-137.
  • Lieblein, G., M. Moulton, W. Waalen, T.A. Breland, C. Francis, N. Sriskandarajah, J. Porter, J. Helenius, L. Salomonsson, and V. Langer. 2005. Systems thinking and experiential learning: a Nordic net-based course in agroecology: integrating student learning and teacher collaboration. European Journal of Open and Distance Learning [EURODL] Vol. 1. [].
  • Schneider, M., A. Colglazier, C. Pollard, R. Beutler, and C. Francis. 2005. Discovering the whole: multiple paths to systems learning. NACTA J. 49(2):15-22.
  • Francis, C., G. Lieblein, H. Steinsholt, T.A. Breland, J. Helenius, N. Sriskandarajah, and L. Salomonsson. 2005. Food systems and environment: building positive rural-urban linkages. Human Ecology Review 12(1):58-69.
  • Francis, C.A. 2004. Education in agroecology and integrated systems. In: New Dimensions in Agroeoclogy, D. Clements and A. Shrestha, editors. Food Products Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Binghampton, NY. p. 21-43.
  • Waage, S., and C. Francis 2004. The elephant in the room: core stumbling blocks to operationalize sustainability concepts in large corporations. Green Money, Business and Sustainability Section, Summer, 2004.
  • Rickerl, D., and C. Francis, editors. 2004. Agroecosystems Analysis, Monograph Series No. 43, Amer. Soc. Agron., Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Wiedenhoeft, M., S. Simmons, R. Salvador, G. McAndrews, C. Francis, J. King, and D. Hole. 2003. Agroecosystems analysis from the grass roots: a multidimensional experiential learning course. J. Natural Res. Life Sci. Educ. 32:73-79.
  • Francis, C., G. Lieblein, S. Gliessman, T.A. Breland, N. Creamer, R. Harwood, L. Salomonsson, J. Helenius, D. Rickerl, R. Salvador, M. Wiedenhoeft, S. Simmons, P. Allen, M. Altieri, C. Flora, and R. Poincelot. 2003. Agroecology: the ecology of food systems. J. Sustainable Agric. 22(3):99-118.
  • Francis, C.A. 2003. Advances in the design of resource-efficient cropping systems. J. Crop Production Vol. 8, No.1/2, (#15/16):15-32 [also Ch. 2 in Cropping Systems: Trends and Advances, A. Shrestha, editor. Food Products Press, 2003, pp. 15-32]
  • Francis, C., G. Lieblein, T.A. Breland, L. Salomonsson, N. Sriskandarajah, and J. Helenius. 2003. Education in Agroecology: Reports and Publications from the NOVA University Program. Ext. and Educ. Mater. for Sustain. Agric., Vol. 14. North Central Region and Coop. Ext. Div., Ctr. for Applied Rural Innovation, Univ. Nebraska. 229 p.
  • Limon-Ortega, A., K.D. Sayre, R.A. Drijber, and C.A. Francis. 2002. Soil attributes in a furrow-irrigated bed planting system in northwest Mexico. Soil & Tillage Res. 63:123-132.
  • Lieblein, G., C.A. Francis, and H. Torjusen. 2001. Future interconnections among ecological farmers, processors, marketers, and consumers in Hedmark County, Norway: creating shared vision. Human Ecology Review 8(1):61-72.
  • Schoeneberger, M.M., G. Bentrup, and C.A. Francis. 2001. Ecobelts: reconnecting agriculture and communities. Ch. 16 in: In: Interactions between Agroecosystems & Rural Communities, C.B. Flora, editor. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. p. 239-260.
  • Cutforth, L.B., C.A. Francis, G.D. Lynne, D.A. Mortensen, and K.M. Eskridge. 2001. Factors affecting farmers' crop diversity decisions: An integrated approach. Amer. J. Altern. Agric. 16(4):168-176.
  • Rietveld, W.J., and C.A. Francis. 2000. Future of Agroforestry in the USA. Ch. 11 in: North American Agroforestry: An Integrated Science and Practice, H.E. Garrett, W.J. Rietveld, and R.F. Fisher, editors. Amer. Soc. Agron., Madison, Wisconsin. p. 387-402.
  • Lieblein, G., C. Francis, and J. King. 2000. Conceptual framework for structuring future agricultural colleges and universities. J. Agric. Educ. Extension (Wageningen) 6:213-222.
  • Francis, C.A. 2000. Designing a durable and positive future for agriculture. Amer. J. Alternative Agric. 15(1):44-47.
  • Limon-Ortega, Agustin, Kenneth D. Sayre, and Charles A. Francis. 2000a. Wheat and maize yields in response to straw management and nitrogen under a rainfed planting system. Agron. J. 92:295-302.
  • Carter, H., R. Olson, and C. Francis, (eds). 1999. Facing a watershed: managing profitable and sustainable landscapes in the 21st century. Ext. and Educ. Mater. for Sustain. Agric., Vol. 7. No. Cent. Reg. and Coop. Ext. Div., Ctr. for Sustain. Agric. Systems, Univ. Nebraska. 262 p.
  • Lieblein, G., C.A. Francis, L. Salomonsson, and N. Sriskandarajah. 1999. Ecological agriculture research: increasing competence through PhD courses. J. Agric. Education and Extension. 6(1):31-46.
  • Lesoing, G.W., and C.A. Francis. 1999. Strip intercropping of corn/soybean in irrigated and rainfed environments. J. Prod. Agric. 12:127-128, 187-192.
  • Olson, R.K., C.A. Francis, and S. Kaffka, editors. 1995. Exploring the Role of Diversity in Sustainable Agriculture. Misc. Publ., Amer. Soc. Agron., Madison, Wisconsin. 249 pp.