Numerous SARE grants and studies have been awarded and conducted in different island sites in the American Pacific region. Many of the grants have valuable information that can provide beneficial solutions to agriculture production across the region.
However, the dissemination of the results of these studies, research, and demonstrations conducted around American Pacific has been limited to the local site where the grant has been conducted. Because the islands are all scattered in the vast Pacific Ocean, the transfer of knowledge and information is lacking and limited.
Two regional workshops were conducted on Guam in 2006 and 2007 and one workshop held in the island of Yap. Results of selected grants were written in fact sheet format that is easy to read and understand by agriculture producers. Posters of selected grants were also displayed during the 2007 Pacific Sub-regional conference held on Guam.
The main objectives are to expand the transfer of research based knowledge and information in agriculture that developed from the region. The grant also aims to foster collaboration of agriculture programs of the Pacific Land Grant Institutions through workshops/conferences and producing a compilation of SARE in fact sheet format for easier reading, understanding and hopefully, adaptation by extension agents and farmers.
The agriculture industry in the American Pacific shares similar problems and situations. These problems range from plant and animal diseases, soil and water quality concerns, improving quality of broodstocks, high costs of livestock feeds, and environmental issues affecting sustainable agriculture. What is being experienced on Guam is also being experienced in most of the other islands. Problems may only differ in severity and magnitude.
There are five Land-Grant Institutions in the region, with 6 satellite stations located in some of the islands. Each of these Land-Grant institutions has research scientists and Extension professionals that conducted many research studies and demonstrative trials to solve these problems affecting agriculture. Collaborations of research and extension among these institutions were encouraged but each institution still does their own activities. My orientation when I started with Extension Service was to deliver research based knowledge to the farmers. The final reports were too technical and scientific for an average extension agent to read and understand. University researchers exclusively publish their results in scientific journals, which is beyond the level of producers. The advent of the Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education (SARE) grants (Farmer Rancher Grant and Chapter 1) was a great advantage for extension agents and farmers to come up with their own research and demonstrations based on their specific farm needs. Numerous research and studies by extension agents and farmers have been awarded and conducted in the different islands in the American Pacific region. Many of the grants have valuable information that can provide beneficial solutions across the region.
However, the dissemination of the results of these studies, research, and demonstration conducted in the American Pacific has been limited to the local site where the grant has been conducted. Because the islands are scattered in a vast area of the Pacific Ocean, the transfer of knowledge is not available and therefore not fully utilized. The applications and recommendations out of these grants address issues common to the region and should be made accessible to the agricultural workforce.
Culturally, knowledge and information in agriculture that developed and that evolved in the region are readily accepted and adapted by extension agents and producers.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
A hired student compiled all grants related to agriculture that were conducted during the past 5 years in each island under each Land Grant Institutions in the region. The student contacted the principal investigators and co-principal investigators for copies of the final report of the grant. The student also looked into other sources such as libraries and web sites and from SARE state coordinators. The final reports were converted into fact sheet format. These were compiled to a folder and were distributed to the Land Grant Institutions in the region. Copies of these fact sheets were also be mailed to farmers and producers currently in our mailing list. These are farmers and producers that participated from previous grants.
Conferences and workshops were major components of this grant. Oral and poster presentations of selected SARE grants were conducted at two regional workshops held at the University of Guam. One workshop was also held in the island of Yap. Farm tours and visit to SARE grant sites were included in the workshops.
Poster boards of selected SARE grants were also presented during the Pacific Sub-regional conference held in October 2007. Copies of the fact sheets were also distributed to all the conference participants. Ron Daines developed both poster boards and fact sheets.
Outreach and Publications
1. Conferences and Workshops: Three workshops events were conducted:
a. October 2006: Thirteen participants included university Extension professionals, Guam Department of Agriculture staff and regional and local producers. Major activities of the workshop were oral and poster presentations of selected grants conducted in the region, site visits to existing SARE grants/ demonstration farms and grant writing session for Farmer Rancher proposals. Principal investigators and Farmer / Rancher grant recipients made presentations of their grants.
b. October 2007: Eighteen participants (3 extension agents, 10 producers, 2 NRCS conservationist, a research scientist, and consultants (FAO and SPC) from the American Pacific region (Rota, Saipan, Tinian, Kosrae, Yap, Palau, Fiji and Pohnpei) attended the two-day regional workshop conducted at the University of Guam. This workshop coincided with the three-day WSARE sub regional conference.
c. A workshop was also conducted in the island of Yap, on an invitation from the Yap State Division of Agriculture on Nov. 5-9, 2007. Thirty farmers attended the workshop. This was also an opportunity to disseminate the results of SARE grants conducted in the region and taught farmers on how to apply for SARE grants.
2. Visits to Farmer Rancher grant sites (Guam and Yap): On Guam, regional and local workshop participants visited the Lanchon Chamorro. This farm is the site for the 2006 FRG entitled “Multi-Crops On Plant Beds On Guam”. And on Yap, another FRG site was visited when I conducted a workshop there in Nov. 2007. The grant was on fishpond pilot test and demonstration.
3. PowerPoint files of selected SARE Grants: During the two regional workshops, principal investigators and producer-ranchers made presentation of the results of their respective grants to agricultural professionals, extension agents, ranchers, Natural Resources and Conservation Services staff and administrators. Copies of the PowerPoint presentation were distributed to all participants.
4. A Partial Compilation of SARE Projects Reports in the American Pacific: This compilation of SARE grant reports was distributed to Land-Grant institutions in the region and workshop participants.
5. A Partial Compilation of Factsheets on SARE Grants in the American Pacific: This compilation of SARE grant fact sheets was distributed to Land-Grant institutions in the region and workshop participants. Ron Daines developed fact sheets and poster boards.
6. Poster boards of selected SARE grants: These poster boards presented during the WSARE sub-regional conference are also being displayed during agricultural fairs and displays.
7. All these publications will be distributed out to all future participants of regional workshop conducted on Guam and other islands.
a. The knowledge, information and technology gathered by the participants generated from the workshop sessions and field trips cannot be quantified or measured. All the workshops evaluations and personal feedbacks were indicative of positive learning experience.
b. The presentation of Farmer Rancher grant recipients made a very positive impact to the rest of the participants, especially to the other farmers and extension agents. Ranchers felt the need and advantage to foster closer collaborations and “a working together” attitude with the Extension Service, WSARE and other agriculture agencies.
c. All participants agreed that regional workshops on SARE grants be a regular function. Future proposals should cover travel funds for the principal investigators to participate in these regional workshops. The opportunity of attending and participating on these workshops serves as an incentive for agricultural professionals and ranchers to submit as many grant proposals as they can.
d. Mr. Manglona, a poultry producer in Rota saw the demonstration of layers raised in container vans during the October 2006 workshop. He adopted the practice in his farm in Rota by using old passengers vans. He made a presentation of his new farm practice during the 2007 workshop.
e. There was an increase in the number of SARE grants proposals from the region as a result of the regional workshops and WSARE sub regional conference.
New partners participated in the grant. Participants for the workshops/conferences included (1) professionals from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) based in Fiji and Pohnpei (2) representatives from NGO’s and regional staff from Natural Resources and Conservation Services.
a. Increased awareness of sustainable agricultural practices and how WSARE can assists ranchers and agricultural professionals conduct research and farm trials and demonstrations to resolve production problems in the farm.
b. The on-site visits to grant sites made solid impression to ranchers that funding assistance from WSARE do happen.
c. Generated interests in application for SARE grants from ranchers in the region.
1. PDP State coordinators should assign a SARE day or week wherein agricultural professionals (Research and Extension) and producers have a workshop / conference of SARE grants and visits the sites in their respective islands. It can be a yearly activity.
2. All SARE grants applications should include funds for travel to participate in SARE regional workshops and conferences.
3. Electronic-learning room will be added on to the Department of Agriculture Facility at Dededo. Internet access will be available for farmers and ranchers. Majority of farmers and ranchers on Guam don’t have personal computers at their homes or have no computer skills at all. This e-learning room will teach ranchers and farmers on how to get information and access web sites on sustainable agriculture. Extension Service and university web sites on agriculture may not be as useful if the intended audience like ranchers and farmers don’t have access to them.