Toward Culturally Responsive Disaster Management for Limited Resource Producers: The Role of Person, Place and Professional Agencies

Progress report for LS20-343

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2020: $300,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2023
Grant Recipients: Prairie View A&M University; North Carolina A&T State University (NCA&T)- 1890 Partner Institution; Tennessee State University (TSU)- 1890 Partner Institution; University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB)- 1890 Partner Institution; Florida A&M University (FAMU)- 1890 Partner Institution; Tuskegee University (TU)- 1890 Partner Institution; University of South Carolina
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Noel Estwick
Prairie View A&M University
Co-Investigators:
Dr. Nelson Daniels
Prairie View A&M University
Dr. Marco Robinson
Prairie View A&M University
Expand All

Project Information

Abstract:

The frequency and intensity of recent disasters have further compounded and exacerbated cultural gaps. There is need for a better understanding of strategies that enlarge the extent to which marginalized populations are aware of and prepare for disasters (Cooper and Masterson, 2017).  In 2017, the 1890-Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Advisory Group (AG) was created to fully engage 1890-Land-Grant Universities (LGUs) into EDEN and its resources. The 1890-EDEN mission is to strengthen the capacity of Extension at 1890 LGUs and the communities they serve in all phases of disaster planning for and responding to disasters with research-based education. This proposal opportunity will allow the AG to build capacity to provide education and training related to the newest NIFA Knowledge Area (KA 807). 1890 Land-Grant institutions traditionally have low participation rates with SARE’s R&E program. This project will allow these institutions to work collaboratively with Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers (HUFRs) to enhance disaster education programming. The partnership will help producers to mitigate loss of quality products they produce, maintain operations, sustain their families and communities, build disaster resilience and improve overall quality of life. In addition, working with the various local, state and federal agencies, and private sector partners will generate new insights and/or perspectives on how to provide culturally relevant information on disaster management practices for vulnerable populations in rural areas.

This project will assess the role culture plays in how HUFRs prepare for, cope with and respond to disasters. Three major elements will be examined; they are: 1) farmer perceptions, belief systems, social and family relations, 2) professional disaster related agencies interaction, and 3) socio-economic/policy environmental challenges. There is a need to understand how culture influences processes around these parameters in times of disaster, and subsequently affects the day-to-day activities of HUFRs. The research will address cultural gaps by exploring the impacts of disasters with respect to person, place and profession. It is widely known that limited resource audiences are disproportionately impacted by disasters. In addition, the agriculture and rural sectors play critical roles as sources of food, employment, raw materials and the marketing of agricultural products (Sivakumar, 2008). Hence, gaining an understanding about the challenges HUFRs face in times of disaster is critical to developing mechanisms that can help them to better cope during disasters.

In this study, the AG will employ a knowledge system utilizing culture as the lens to create a snapshot of the vulnerabilities HUFRs face during disasters, examine how they respond, and outline steps needed to mitigate disasters impacts. The research team will use Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) in a multiple-case study research design. This project will demonstrate how HUFRs, extension personnel, university administration, professional disaster agencies and policymakers can collaborate to create sustainable communities and improve quality of life for producers and residents.

Project Objectives:
  1. Identify cultural challenges HUFRs face with regards to disasters
  2. Determine how cultural factors influence HUFRs behavior and decisions they make during disasters, and consequently how research, extension and academics can intervene to influence the HUFRs posture around emergency management
  3. Develop research-based recommendations, best practices and procedures to lay the foundation for a proposed 1890 Disaster Training Academy
  4. Create disaster materials, publications and programs that are culturally sensitive to producers, and disseminated throughout venues such as the SARE Learning Center, national EDEN, 1890 Association of Research Directors (ARD), and the 1890 Association of Extension Administrators (AEA)
  5. Assess the level of interaction between HUFRs and professional agricultural agencies, as well as state and federal agencies

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Lawrence Conyer - Producer
  • Mary James - Producer
  • Kimberly Ratcliff - Producer

Research

Materials and methods:

Since the research involves human subjects, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval will be sought from PVAMU’s Research Compliance Office. This will include agreements with North Carolina A&T State University and the University of South Carolina.

Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) will drive the work proposed, in that CBPR is the ideal methodology for working with communities because participants are integral to the research design and implementation rather than being research subjects. Six lead producers (one representing PVAMU and each 1890 partner institution) will assist with recruiting 10 to 12 other producers. These producers will be intricately involved in the design and implementation of the work proposed. The research will utilize multiple case studies in a mixed methods approach to collect quantitative and qualitative data to identity cultural challenges HUFRs face during disasters as outlined by each objective below:

Objective 1: Identify cultural challenges HUFRs face with regards to disasters; Completed by PVAMU, NCA&T, TSU, FAMU and TU

The approach for the first objective is to use the preliminary data captured during the pre-proposal phase to drive the data collection for the project. Surveys were administered as a part of the pre-proposal phase of this submission. Farmers were asked to pilot test a survey instrument that was developed to gauge their views on culture and disasters. The instrument was divided in to three sections. Demographic information, business readiness in times of disaster and family readiness in times of disaster. Their responses were summarized in the aggregate and support the research team’s argument on the relevancy of what is being proposed. 

A summary of key findings highlight the need to examine disaster management in HUFRs.  Approximately 80% of the survey participants indicated they currently had no disaster plan for their home and 70% indicated they have never had such a plan for their home.  Equally compelling was the response to whether they had a disaster plan for their farms. Approximately 86% indicated they currently had no farm disaster plan and 55% indicated they have never had a farm disaster plan. When asked if local, state, or federal authorities do an adequate job helping communities prepare for disasters, approximately 7%, 14%, and 14% respectively were in agreement with that statement. Similarly, the survey respondents were not aware of available federal resources for their family or farm, with only 14% and 18%, respectively, indicating they feel they have adequate knowledge of those resources.  These responses enhance the value of extension services in offering disaster programming.

Key findings that support the importance of understanding the role of culture in disaster planning and management were the responses on the role of community, family, and professional organizations in disaster preparedness. Sixty-eight percent of the farmers felt that close-knit communities fare better in disasters; and 66% felt strong family values promote disaster preparedness.  The value of family and community association was also reflected with approximately 83% indicating their first call in a disaster or impending threat would be to family and friends.  In contrast, only 20% of the respondents indicated that their first call would be to emergency management services. The role that 1862 and/or 1890 LGUs could play in the event of a disaster was not clear to the respondents, with only 14% and 17%, respectively, stating that the role of these institutions was very clear.

Survey responders were also asked to provide feedback on the instrument itself and make suggestions on the wording of items, the addition of items, and/or the deletion of items.  The instrument was subsequently revised and will be provided to partner institutions and mini-grant recipients (on Qualtrics for electronic submission and as a hard copy) as a tool to assess the culture and disaster views of the farmers in their respective states.

In addition to administering surveys at key stakeholder events, (i.e. Extension sponsored events, state-level meetings, regional meetings, and national meetings) key informant interviews will be conducted with the six lead producers.  This will be followed by the development of a focus group guide for use at focus groups convened to bring HUFRs, representatives from 1890 Institutions, local and state government officials, and representatives from state and federal agencies together.

Objective 2: Determine how cultural factors influence HUFRs behavior and decisions they make during disasters, and consequently how research, extension and academics can intervene to influence the HUFRs posture around emergency management; Completed by PVAMU, NCA&T, TSU, FAMU and TU

  • There will be two phases of data collection by PVAMU and the five 1890 partner institutions
    • Phase 1: Conduct key-informant interviews of 6 HUFRs from the service areas of 1890 partner institutions.
    • Phase 2: Conduct focus groups and data capture, and use Photo Voice- a method that combines photography with social action to visualize individual perspectives (Wang & Burris, 1997)
  • A multiple case study approach will be utilized to gain an understanding of how person, place, and professional agencies influence behavior before, during, and after a disaster.
  • The results from this objective will drive the creation of educational interventions.

Objective 3: Develop research-based recommendations, best practices and procedures to lay the foundation for a proposed 1890 Disaster Training Academy; Completed by PVAMU and mini-grant recipients with support from the 5 collaborating institutions

Data analysis and mini-grant program

  • A thorough review of background literature
  • Analysis of emerging themes from key-informant interviews and focus groups (producers will be compensated for participating in key-informant interviews and focus groups)
  • Quarterly conference calls- two lead producers from each state will be participants. Dialogue on the calls will provide rich data about their experiences during disasters
  • Reports from extension personnel and conversations with extension agents about disaster programming experiences
    • Mini-grant proposals- 6 competitive mini-grants will be offered so that the other 1890 LGUs can conduct research and education (relevant to the grant). The mini-grants will be funded at three levels. Three at $5, 000, 2 at $10,000 and 1 at $15, 000.
      • Level 1 will conduct an organizational assessment, organizational communication, and create an organizational/community partnerships committee
      • Level 2 engage in all Level 1 activities as well as conduct a situational assessment, public forum and create an organizational/community partnerships committee
      • Level 3 will engage in all Level 1 and Level 2 activities, as well as conduct a quantitative community assessment, community communications campaigns and create an organizational/community partnerships committee
    • Awardees will engage local, state, and/or federal agencies in their activities depending on level of funding.
    • The mini-grants will provide research-based data and recommendations that are relevant to HUFR audiences nation-wide

Objective 4: Create disaster materials, publications and programs that are culturally sensitive to producers, and disseminated throughout venues such as the SARE Learning Center, national EDEN, 1890 ARD, and the 1890 AEA; Completed by PVAMU, NCA&T, TSU, FAMU, TU and the 1890 mini-grant recipients

Year 1 educational intervention and virtual conference

  • The educational interventions that will emerge from the key-informant interviews and focus groups will drive the recommendations, best practices and procedures
  • Training modules- will be developed from the key-informant interviews, focus groups and conference calls; disaster training will be conducted at the workshops. E.g. “Integrating Disaster Management in Farm Management Planning.”

Objective 5: Assess the level of interaction between HUFRs and professional agricultural agencies, as well as state and federal agencies; Completed by PVAMU, NCA&T, TSU, FAMU, TU and the 1890 mini-grant recipients

Entire research process

  • All elements in the knowledge system will combine to drive the creation of culturally relevant materials. The knowledge gained through the CBPR and indicator framework will be translated into specific actions such as the creation of new disaster related extension programming and improved quality of life for producers
  • Participation in national EDEN meetings, the annual 1890-EDEN F2F workshop, AEA and ARD sponsored meetings, and other meetings and conferences that present opportunities to disseminate project information
    • Publication of factsheets and peer reviewed journal articles
  • The researchers also believe that the knowledge systems which will be created in this project will result in grounded theories around culture and disasters

Workshops

  • Workshops and trainings will be conducted to educate farmers about opportunities available through professional agencies
    1. USDA FSA, APHIS, NRCS, Farm Aid, general crop insurance and the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program
    2. SARE and other funding opportunities

The larger project will assess the role culture plays in how rural, disadvantaged producers prepare for, cope with, and respond to disasters. Three major elements will be examined; they are: 1) farmer perceptions, belief systems, social and family relations, 2) professional disaster related agencies interaction, and 3) socioeconomic/policy environmental challenges. This will be accomplished within the traditional framework of Extension through the development and dissemination of evidence-based resources, and by conducting train-the-trainer workshops to enhance emergency management and leadership capacity at the state level.

Arkansas

This sub-award will help with determining how HUFRs respond to disasters that affect their operations, how USDA Agencies and other institutions provide information on their programs to producers, and to determine if the information provided on disaster programs is understandable and useful.  

Objective 1: Determine the perceptions, thoughts and ideas of the lead farmer about disaster programs and their use by SDPs and LRFs.

Task 1. Identify disaster programs suitable for the lead farmer and obtain information on the programs. Use the information as reference material when the personal visit is made with the lead farmer.

Task 2. Conduct a visit with the lead farmer to obtain his/her perceptions and personal views on disaster programs, the agencies delivering the programs, knowledge of the disaster programs, and their effectiveness to farming operations.

Task 3. Record all information obtained in the meeting and produce a short report on the outcomes.

Task 4. The lead farmer will participate in conference calls with the 1890 Staff as directed by the Advisory Group (AG) and attend group meetings as directed by the AG.

Objective 2: Determine the perceptions, thoughts and ideas of several SDPs and LRFs with different enterprises (livestock, vegetables, and row crops) on their use of disaster programs, the effectiveness of the disaster program, and the services provided to them by USDA and other agencies on disaster programs.

Task 1. The lead farmer and UAPB Staff will identify several additional producers to participate in focus group meetings.  These producers will be row crop, vegetable crop, and livestock producers.

Task 2. The UAPB Staff will identify information on disaster programs associated with row crops, vegetable crops, and livestock producers. The information will be utilized in focus group meetings that will be conducted with producers. Producers are expected to be familiar with many of these programs.

Task 3.  Conduct focus group meeting with the lead farmers and other producers to obtain their perceptions and ideas on use of disaster programs offered by USDA and other agencies. Obtain information on how the programs are delivered to producers. Suggestions or ideas from producers on how to assist them in utilizing disaster programs. All information will be recorded and documented.

Objective 3: Assess the level of interaction between SDPs and LRFs, and USDA Agencies as well as state and professional agricultural agencies.

Task 1. Determine the level of interaction that these producers have with agencies.

Task 2. The UAPB Staff will visit with USDA Agencies (the Farm Service Agencies, Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to determine their level of interaction with SDPs and LRFs. 

Objective 4: Create disaster materials, and publications that are culturally sensitive to SDPs and LRFs and disseminate to SDPs and LRFs as well as professionals who work with LRFs and SDPs.

Task 1. Work with other 1890’s in the project to develop disaster publications for crop and livestock producers.

Task 2. Conduct 4 local Disaster Workshops for producers as culturally sensitive information and material is obtained or developed by the project.

Task 3. The lead farmers and other farmers will attend the conference that is organized by project partners for the capstone event. The producer population for this sub-award will be predominantly rural.

Florida

This Sub Award Project supports the goals of the 1890 EDEN Action Plan. The FAMU Cooperative Extension Program will execute a project that will address the following Florida Extension Roadmap High-Priority Initiatives

Objective 1: Develop Producer Emergency Response Teams (PERT) training program

Task 1. Participate in PERT Train-the-Trainer

Task 2. Develop PERT training materials

Task 3. Implement PERT training program

Task 4. Evaluate PERT pilot program

Objective 2: Implement disaster preparedness workshop series for HUFRs

Task 1. Develop workshop program

Task 2. Conduct emergency preparedness workshop series

Task 3. Revise program delivery based on feedback

Objective 3: Create a clearinghouse of local, state and Federal resources for limited HUFRs

Task 1. Conduct a review of existing materials on disaster resources for farmers

Task 2. Compile websites, videos, guides, worksheets and checklists of assistance in times of disaster

Task 3. Disseminate clearinghouse information

Objective 4: Assist HUFRs with development of business continuity of operations planning

Task 1. Develop educational tools

Task 2. Conduct business continuity planning workshops in three rural counties (one workshop in each county)

Task 3. Evaluate business continuity plan

North Carolina

This project aims to enhance the capacity and resiliency of SDPs and marginalized communities in North Carolina in times of disaster. Specifically, the project will integrate research and extension by focusing on the following.

Objective 1: Foster collaboration in disaster management among local, state and federal partners

Task 1. Develop a knowledge database of resources in disaster preparedness, response and mitigation that’s available in North Carolina

Task 2. Identify local, state and federal partners who can serve on an ad-hoc advisory committee for sub-award activities

Task 3. Schedule periodic phone calls or webinars to determine how partners can support and develop relevant educational experiences and programs for targeted audience

Task 4. Encourage ways NCA&T can partner and collaborate on mutual institutional goals in disaster education

Objective 2: Assess the needs, issues and capabilities in disaster management for rural producers and marginalized communities

Task 1. Identify the targeted sites and stakeholder groups

Task 2. Develop focus group guide with project PI and collaborating partners

Task 3. Collect and analyze data (from the focus groups) on existing, potential and perceived threats and hazards to assess risks

Task 4. Identify the specific capabilities and activities needed to best address risks for disaster planning

Objective 3: Develop culturally appropriate educational programs and materials on disaster education that address the needs of rural producers and marginalized communities

Task 1. Conduct situational analysis/assessment of needs, issues and capabilities

Task 2. Identify the existing body of literature/knowledge of disaster education materials

Task 3. Coordinate and/or utilize expertise and resources in support from the advisory committee and other institutions when appropriate

Task 4. Provide timely resources and training opportunities that equip Extension personnel and targeted stakeholder groups in disaster preparation, response and mitigation

Objective 4: Work with individuals and communities to develop new communication channels to disseminate information and resources from the project

Task 1. Determine appropriate communication channels that are available at the local and/or county level and type of information that can be shared with those sources

Task 2. Train local volunteers to serve as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and Volunteer Organizations Active Disasters (VOAD) who can work in support of and in conjunction with other professional emergency responders before, during and after natural and man-made disasters.

Tennessee

TSU will work with the 1890-EDEN AG to develop the tools, processes and best practices to manage disasters. The sub-award will contribute to creating sustainable communities in areas of community development, quality of life, social networks and cultural/ethnic differences and demographic change.

Objective 1: Include HUFRs and their families in an effort to clearly identify disaster related problems
Task 1. Conduct farmer surveys
Task 2. Conduct focus groups
Task 3. Identify cultural challenges of LRFs
Task 4. Follow-up with Tennessee New Farmer Academy participants re implementing disaster planning in farm operations

Objective 2: Engage community in: preparedness planning, curriculum development on preparedness for communities, tailoring messages and health communication to limited resource clientele and sustainable solutions
Task 1. Conduct community engagement survey
Task 2. Develop disaster education curriculum
Task 3. Develop a best management practice guide for crises

Objective 3: Improve TSU Disaster Education Response Team (D.E.R.T) webpage
Task 1. Review current webpage and update resources

Objective 4: Conduct disaster preparedness educational workshops for HUFRs and families
Task 1. Develop disaster education materials and factsheets
Task 2. Conduct 3 disaster education workshops in urban counties with both rural and urban populations.

Alabama

This sub-award will integrate research and extension by assessing the state of preparedness of stakeholders, and deploying a training program for extension, outreach professionals and agriculturalists. Finally, it will offer assistance in the development of management and recovery plans. 

Objective 1. Assess the preparedness of local HUFRs for various disasters with respect to their enterprises (timber, livestock, crops).
Task 1. Conduct focus group meetings with farmers
Task 2. Compile and analyze quantitative and qualitative data regarding disaster preparedness among HUFRs and communities in the Alabama Black Belt.
Task 3. Present and publish results

Objective 2. Train extension and outreach professionals, agriculturalists and rural stakeholders in areas of disaster preparedness.

Task 1. Conduct 1-day train-the-trainer workshop for agents and resource specialists on how to work with producers in times of disaster.  

Task 2. Conduct producer workshop to disseminate information based on Task 1.

Objective 3. Assist farmers and agriculturalists in the development of emergency disaster plans and disaster recovery plans.

Task 1.  Conduct targeted disaster exercises with producers.

Task 2. Faculty Specialists and agents will offer 3 farmer and community resilience workshops (one each in three rural counties that have the largest network of producers served by the extension program) for rural families and grassroots organizations to help develop emergency plans that include water supply, food security and first aid.

Task 3. Agents and resource specialists will collaborate in areas including: developing disaster plans, logistics for animal care and crop insurance.

Participation Summary

Education

Educational approach:

Unfortunately, work on the project has not started due to COVID-19 pandemic related delays which affected creation of the subcontracts to the partner institutions. Therefore, no project data is available. In addition, university travel was suspended due to the pandemic, all in-person public programs, events and meetings have been canceled until further notice.

However, in the interim, the research team has acquired IRB approval, and have been communicating virtually on a quarterly basis to update project materials and plan for adjustments. The proposed start date is April 1, 2021.

 

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

Unfortunately, work on the project has not started due to COVID-19 pandemic related delays which affected creation of the subcontracts to the partner institutions. Therefore, no project data is available. In addition, university travel was suspended due to the pandemic, all in-person public programs, events and meetings have been canceled until further notice.
However, in the interim, the research team has acquired IRB approval, and have been communicating virtually on a quarterly basis to update project materials and plan for adjustments. The proposed start date is April 1, 2021.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

Unfortunately, work on the project has not started due to COVID-19 pandemic related delays which affected creation of the subcontracts to the partner institutions. Therefore, no project data is available. In addition, university travel was suspended due to the pandemic, all in-person public programs, events and meetings have been canceled until further notice.

However, in the interim, the research team has acquired IRB approval, and have been communicating virtually on a quarterly basis to update project materials and plan for adjustments. The proposed start date is April 1, 2021.

Recommendations:

Unfortunately, work on the project has not started due to COVID-19 pandemic related delays which affected creation of the subcontracts to the partner institutions. Therefore, no project data is available. In addition, university travel was suspended due to the pandemic, all in-person public programs, events and meetings have been canceled until further notice.

However, in the interim, the research team has acquired IRB approval, and have been communicating virtually on a quarterly basis to update project materials and plan for adjustments. The proposed start date is April 1, 2021.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.