Final report for NCIN17-001

Indiana Annual State Report

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $110,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Grant Recipient: Purdue
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
State Coordinators:
Roy Ballard
Purdue Extension
Co-Coordinators:
Dr. Tamara Benjamin
Purdue University
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Project Information

Abstract:

 

While the terms “conventional” and “traditional” agriculture still well describe the vast majority of commodity grain (corn and soybeans) and livestock production there is increasing interest from farmers and the larger Indiana community in more crop and livestock diversification and their production and marketing in more “sustainable” ways.

Through the work of the Conservation Partnership members and the farmers they serve, Indiana is now a leader in the adoption of cover crops as a part of a crop rotation and soil health management plan.

Additionally, a growing Master Cattleman program is evidence of an increasing interest in rotational grazing management systems. There also seems to be an increase in interest in pasture poultry and hog production and a variety of integrated pest management strategies and pollinator protection practices among others not just among farmers but also the ag professionals who serve them.

A hugely successful Beekeepers of Indiana program with well over a thousand in attendance at their annual meetings and dozens of regional organizations focuses attention among their members about sustainable beekeeping practices even in light of bee declines and among the general population about pollinator habitat installation and management. A series of nine Purdue Publications addressing the issue of Protecting Pollinators has been completed and enjoyed wide distribution with still additional documents under development.

Indiana is making strides in its move toward awareness of and even implementation of practices that could be considered as more sustainable in nature.

The hiring of a Purdue Local Foods Coordinator, two GAPs Educator positions, as well as Assistant ANR program leader positions in Soil Health/Cover Crops and Diversified Farming and Food Systems (DFFS) and the more recent addition of a full time Statewide Organic educator position are clear evidence of the growing commitment to Sustainable practices.

The growth of the Indiana Small Farm Conference (now in its 6th year) as a means of outreach to a previously largely underserved audience is an additional strong sign of the evolution that is underway and evidence of Indiana’s awakening to the concept of sustainable agriculture and local food system development. The Small Farm Conference is a substantial undertaking that is the work of a core team of extension educators who see this as a priority in their work.

The Indiana SARE PDP program continues to extend its reach to new audience and to engage new groups of educators in its programmatic efforts. The IN SARE Advisory Committee is increasing in its diversity of representation and continues to seek suitable talented and passionate representatives from multiple disciplines, agencies and institutions. Their direct engagement in the identification of Plan of Work initiatives and the development and delivery of the programs to address them is a source of strength of the Indiana SARE program.

Additionally, there continues to be a tangible increase in the willingness of various agencies to collaborate and work toward identifying and addressing issues at the State and local levels. Cover crops and soil health are topics seen a “common ground” between various groups within Indiana agriculture and is a subject area on which we continue to build true collaboration.

Project Objectives:

State initiatives for 2017-18 are:

• “Scaling Up Local Food Systems”- Farm to School Initiative

• Crop and Livestock Diversification Practices to Enhance Agricultural Sustainability (to include Small Farm Conference)

• Cover Crops and Soil Health

• Agricultural Interface with Urban Food Needs

Additionally, IN SARE is committed to participating in the NCR-SARE 2017-18 Regional Initiative.

Indiana will participate in the NCR-SARE 2017-18 regional initiative on soil health and water by supporting the involvement of selected agriculture educators in one or more soil health-related professional development events during the two-year time frame. We will support this regional initiative through our continued Indiana commitment to Cover Crops and Soil Health as a major State initiative, and through the development of a Vegetable Cover Crop Decision Maker appropriate for Indiana growers. In addition we expect to send interested educators to the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health (November 2017 in Indianapolis) and to the upcoming Midwest Cover Crops Council meeting in Grand Rapids, MI (March 2017).  We also will plan to have educators from our state participate in the Soil Health Nexus extension program being developed by the NCR Water Network and the NCR-SARE program.  Based on these professional development experiences, we expect the educators we have sponsored to come back and offer training events and programs for other farm advisors and producers in our state during the 2017-2018 time frame and beyond.  We anticipate that at least 40 farm advisor and farmer-educators will participate in these state programs during the time of the regional initiative, and additional individuals will be reached through webinars or other web-based distribution of information.  For outcomes we expect that at least 75% of the individuals trained will distribute information on soil health management practices, including those pertaining to water quality/quantity issues, and that at least 50% of the producers impacted will adopt one or more practices to improve their soil health management.

Our objectives are to increase to the knowledge of Agricultural Professional from across Indiana about these key initiatives through a variety of means that are both readily accessible and financially responsible. To accomplish this we will collaborate with a variety of agricultural and food related agencies, institutions and organizations across Indiana and engage them in problem identification, selection of educational outreach type, program delivery and evaluation.

Additional information regarding outreach efforts and information specific to each about audience, justification, outputs, outcomes and evaluation can be found in the “Education” section of this report.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Anna Morrow (Educator)
  • Becky Fletcher
  • Chad Martin (Educator and Researcher)
  • Curtis Johnson
  • Deb Trocha (Educator)
  • Emily Toner (Educator)
  • James Farmer (Educator and Researcher)
  • Jon Zirkle (Educator)
  • Julia Angstmann (Educator and Researcher)
  • Kevin Cooley
  • Laura Hormuth (Educator)
  • Joe Rorick (Educator)
  • Lisa Holsher
  • Liz Brownlee
  • Mathew John (Educator)
  • Michael O'Donnell (Educator)
  • Nathan Boone
  • Rachel Beyer (Educator)
  • Roy Ballard (Educator)
  • Suzie Spahr
  • Robert White
  • Kris Medic (Educator)
  • Jodee Ellett (Educator)
  • Tamara Benjamin (Educator)
  • Walt Sell (Educator)
  • Tony Bailey (Educator)
  • Mark Kepler (Educator)
  • Amy Thompson (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

Initiative 1.-“Scaling Up Local Food Systems”-Farm to School Initiative

Audience: Farm to School Action Committees comprised of: Extension Educators, Extension Community Wellness Coordinators, K-12 Teachers, K-12 Superintendents, K-12 Food Service Directors, staff, dieticians. Audience may also include Farmers, Local food distributors and Food hub representatives.

Justification: Indiana has 400 K-12 school districts with over 1 million students, of which 31%* are currently participating in some farm to school activity. Purdue Extension, the Indiana State Departments of Health and Education have staff committed to farm to school technical assistance, but we have yet to offer a formal training for Educators in Extension or the schools on an annual basis.

Outputs: We will contract with the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems Specialists to conduct a one-day workshop in conjunction with Purdue Extension for the first year. Workshop attendees will have the end of school year 2017 and summer to finalize plans for farm to school for their school or school district. In 2018, we will host five webinars with each F2SAC to cultivate interest in the 2018 F2S workshop training. These webinars will be recorded and hosted on the Purdue Extension Local Foods Website: www.purdue.edu/dffs/localfood. In 2017, we will hire a consultant to develop the online resources for Indiana Farm to School and help develop the workshop syllabus for a second round of Farm to School Action Committee applicants in 2018.

Expected Outcomes: 40-50 Extension staff, K-12 school staff and administrators and farmers and distributors would collaborate as Farm to School Action Committees and develop a short and long term plan for farm to school in their respective 5 schools/districts. Purdue Extension will assemble agritourism information for their region to assist with school tour plans and information dissemination to students for family outings. Purdue Extension and the Indiana Farm to School Network would develop an annual training program for Farm to School Action Committees. Each of these action committees would share their program ideas, successes and challenges with others in ongoing webinar format and at the annual training. Purdue Extension and Indiana State Department of Health will use SARE funds to leverage additional funds for ongoing program development and delivery costs.

Evaluation- Participants will report back to the State SARE Coordinator, by Dec. 2017 and 2018, the number of their outreach activities (programs, individual consultations, newsletter articles, workshops, etc.) that include information they learned at these events, and an estimated number of producers impacted by those activities.

 

Initiative 2. Crop and Livestock Diversification Practices to Enhance Agricultural Sustainability

Primary audience- Extension Educators, Extension Specialists, NRCS District Conservationists, SWCD Specialists, Organic/Transition Grain Producers/Consumers

Justification- Certified organic production serves as an opportunity for some farms to secure more stable or increased profits, increase quality of life (e.g., from reduced handling and exposure to pesticides), and reduce environmental impacts from their farming operations (e.g., less nutrient runoff, increased soil health, reduced pesticide use, etc). In turn, this has created a need for training and educational opportunities for educators, specialists, and district conservationists across the state to support farmers who may be looking to transition acreage to organic production.

Expected Outcomes– Short term- Participants will increase their knowledge of organic certification, production, and markets. They will use this knowledge and information to better support farmers and landowners that are interested in transitioning acreage to organic production, and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector assisting farmers and landowners (e.g., lenders, crop insurance providers, crop consultants, etc).  This transfer of knowledge could be facilitated through one-on-one consultation and formal educational programs, workshops, and field days.

Long term- Participants (educators, specialists, district conservationists, etc), through this transfer of knowledge, will play a key role in supporting the growth of the organic sector in Indiana.

Outputs- Introductory training /Organic basics – A day-long introductory or organic “basics” workshop will be developed and offered in 2017.

Intermediate trainings /Organic site visits – Organic farmers and processors in Indiana will be identified to host educational visits, 2018. The visits will expose participants to certified organic crop and livestock farms and a certified-organic processor. A partnering organic certifier will discuss the inspection process and nuances of the NOP regulations that apply to each type of operation in a morning session. 

A field trip to Wisconsin and/or Central Illinois will be planned to visit organic farms and processors in 2018 to better understand how they have developed their systems and markets. The regional “experts” will have the opportunity to travel to an out of state conference that focuses on organic production (with an emphasis on grain and livestock production).  As a capstone project, the “experts” will then visit and work with the Purdue student farm (or alternative case study farm) to develop and write an Organic System Plan and accompanying recordkeeping system. 

Evaluation- Evaluations will be completed by participants at each of the workshops or training opportunities to assess knowledge gained and share ideas on how they will apply this new knowledge. Participants will report to the Indiana SARE Coordinator through an annual survey, by December 2017 and 2018, the number of outreach activities (programs, consultations, articles, etc) that include information they learned through this series of organic agriculture professional development opportunities, along with an estimated number of farmers/producers impacted by those activities. 

 

Training Extension Educators to Respond to Producer Interest in Permaculture Methods

Overview: A proposal for two levels of educational experience for Educators and others to increase their capacity to address producer interest in Permaculture methods on small acreage/sustainable farms.

Primary audience: Extension Educators, Extension Specialists, NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District personnel, NRCS staff, particularly those people who are asked to address interests of small acreage or diversifying farmers in methods of Permaculture practice.

Justification: The diversification of farms and farming practices has been challenging for Extension in Indiana. A one-day learning session will be offered, as well as the opportunity for up to five Educators or others to seek certification in Permaculture Design, to raise the level of staff understanding of permaculture practices in service to clientele.

Expected Outcomes: One Day Session- We expect that participating educators will become familiar enough with the principles and practices of Permaculture Design to help producers to evaluate those methods for their own agricultural enterprises.

Outputs: One Day Session to learn about the principles and practices of Permaculture. This training will raise awareness and understanding about this system in which clientele may be interested. 

Evaluation: One-Day Session participants will complete pre- and post-event evaluations. Those taking Certification will complete a summary on 1.) How Permaculture practices scale for production on small acreage/sustainable farms in Indiana, and 2.) Programming that may apply to their own clientele in the long and short term.

 

Animal Welfare Considerations

Primary audience-Extension Educators

Justification: we are finding more and more people including 4-H members becoming involved in the livestock industry with little or no experience.  There is enumerable disease, conditions and feeding maladies that can happen to livestock. Proper housing, handling areas, pen designs also enter into the welfare of the animal. Extension Educators have had little training in animal welfare issues.

Expected Outcomes: Educators will increase their knowledge of in the area of animal welfare issues and animal handling techniques.

Outputs: A two day training program will be held that will include animal welfare discussions by Purdue Educators and specialist and tours of facilities designed with animals in mind. The current welfare climate, rules and issues will also be covered.

Evaluation- Participants will report back to the State SARE Coordinator, by Dec. 2017 and 2018, the number of their outreach activities (programs, individual consultations, newsletter articles, workshops, etc.) that include information they learned at these events, and an estimated number of producers impacted by those activities.

 

Indiana Small Farm Conference offers unique educational and networking opportunities for Extension Educators and Specialists

Primary audience– Extension Educators and Extension Specialists

Justification– According to the 2012 Ag census, small farms (< $250,000 in gross sales) make up 85% of all farms in Indiana. Since its inception in 2004, the Purdue Small Farms Team, made up of Extension Educators, Specialists and Faculty, has used learning opportunities, like the Indiana Small Farm Conference, to connect with small farmers. The Indiana Small Farm Conference, an annual 3-day educational and networking program, offers a great opportunity not only for small farm clients and stakeholders to learn and network, but also for Extension Educators and Specialists. In order to build the capacity of Extension to support this important and growing clientele, SARE PDP funds will be leveraged to increase Extension staff attendance at the program, and to bring in high quality speakers for conference sessions and small group discussions with Extension staff.

Expected Outcomes– Short term- Participating educators and specialists will increase their knowledge about small farm production, marketing, and management practices and the challenges and opportunities that face small farmers in Indiana. Long term- Educators and specialists, through the transfer of information and knowledge to small farmers, will play a key role in supporting the continued growth, productivity, and sustainability of the small farm community in Indiana.

Outputs- Extension Educators and Specialists will attend day-long workshops and 2-day conference sessions and trade show, and small group discussion with invited speakers, and be provided with appropriate reference and resource materials. Educational events and resources include the following:

  • Indiana Small Farm Conference 2017/18. Attendance at March 2 day-long workshops and March 2-4, 2017 and March 1-3, 2018 conference and trade show. Small group discussion with invited speaker.

Evaluation- Participants will report back to the State SARE Coordinator, by Dec. 2017 and 2018, the number of their outreach activities (programs, individual consultations, newsletter articles, workshops, etc.) that include information they learned at these events, and an estimated number of producers impacted by those activities.

 

Initiative 3 – Cover Crops and Soil Health

Situational Overview: Indiana remains a leader in soil health practices and cover crop adoption. The various levels of knowledge across the state provide a need for a tiered training program for professionals, and specialized training for specific production models. Each program focuses on the environmental and economic sustainability of soil health practices while touching on the social aspects of these practices.

Basics of Soil Health – Single Day Trainings for Educators.

Primary audience: Primary and Secondary Educators, Extension Educators, Extension Specialists and NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff

Justification: New educators have not likely attended soil health training classes. Understanding and building upon a foundation of basic soil science and its correlation to basic soil health principles is key to laying the groundwork for future education as well as underpinning their efforts to advance soil health system adoption with farmers, landowners and others.

Expected Outcomes: Short term: 25 educators will increase their knowledge of inherent and dynamic properties of soils – and their impacts on soil health.  They will learn skills to help them demonstrate soil health related assessment tools and techniques.

Intermediate term-Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to ag students, local farmers, and rural landowners.

Outputs: Ag professionals will attend workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in newsletters, blogs, news releases and local/ regional meetings.

Evaluation: Participants will report back to the State SARE Coordinator the number of farmers impacted, number of newsletters and local meeting containing their information etc at the end of 2017 and 2018.

 

Core Cover Crops – Single Day Trainings for Educators

Primary audience: Primary and Secondary Educators, Extension Educators, Extension Specialists and NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff, Agronomists and Peer-based Mentors

Justification: To help insure continued successful adoption of cover crops as a soil health practice, recently hired staff and ag professionals newer to cover crops require training on core cover crop concepts and management techniques. Through this training, individuals will receive consistent, science-based training that will provide a foundation for future education as well as their efforts to advance successful adoption of cover crops with farmers, landowners and others.

Expected Outcomes: Short term: 70 educators, agronomists, farmers, conservation staff and other ag professionals will increase their knowledge of cover crops and their impacts on soil health and crop management strategies. They will learn to identify impacts of management decisions on the cropping season and successful adoption of cover crops

Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to ag students, local farmers, and rural landowners.

Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in newsletters, blogs, news releases and local/ regional meetings.

 

Core Soil Health Systems – Single Day Trainings for Educators

Primary audience: Primary and Secondary Educators, Extension Educators, Extension Specialists and NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff, Agronomists and Peer-based Mentors

Justification: To help insure continued successful adoption of conservation cropping practices and systems that can lead to improved soil health, recently hired staff and ag professionals newer to cover crops require training on core cover crop concepts and management techniques. Through this training, individuals will receive consistent, science-based training that will provide a foundation for future education as well as their efforts to advance successful adoption of cover crops with farmers, landowners and others.

Expected Outcomes: Short term: 70 educators will increase their knowledge of conservation cropping systems and their impacts on soil health. They will learn to identify impacts of management decisions on the cropping season and adoption of soil health practices such as no-till, strip-till, cover crops, nutrient and pest management.

Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to ag students, local farmers, and rural landowners.

Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in newsletters, blogs, news releases and local/ regional meetings.

 

Advanced Cover Crops Training (Commodity Crop Emphasis) – Single Day Trainings

Advanced Cover Crops Training (Specialty Crop Emphasis) – Single Day Trainings

Primary audience: Primary and Secondary Educators, Extension Educators, Extension Specialists and NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff

Justification: Because of the significant differences between specialty crop and commodity crop production, separate trainings will be held to address each systems’ specialized needs. Through these trainings, individuals will receive consistent, science-based training that will provide support for their efforts to advance successful adoption of cover crops in both commodity crop and specialty crop production.

Expected Outcomes: Short term: 200 educators, agronomists, farmers, conservation staff and other ag professionals will increase their knowledge of the various benefits, uses, and management of cover crops. They will learn skills to help address specific resource and cropping system concerns (specialty and commodity crop systems) through the use of prescribed cover crops. 

Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to other educators, conservation staff, ag students, local farmers, rural landowners.

Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in newsletters, blogs, news releases, one-on-one technical assistance/mentoring, and local/ regional meetings.

 

Advanced Soil Health Systems Training (Commodity Crop Emphasis) – Single Day Trainings

Advanced Soil Health Systems Training (Specialty Crop Emphasis) – Single Day Trainings

Primary audience: Primary and Secondary Educators, Extension Educators, Extension Specialists and NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff

Justification: Because of the significant differences between specialty crop and commodity crop production, separate trainings will be held to address each systems’ specialized needs. Through these trainings, individuals will receive consistent, science-based training that will provide support for their efforts to advance successful adoption of soil health cropping systems in both commodity crop and specialty crop production.

Expected Outcomes: Short term: 200 educators, agronomists, farmers, conservation staff and other ag professionals will increase their knowledge of the impacts of reduced soil disturbance, increased residue cover, increased biodiversity, and year-round living roots on soil health. They will learn skills to help address specific resource concerns through soil health systems management, including use of prescribed cover crops, no-till, nutrient/pest management, livestock management and emerging technologies. 

Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to other educators, conservation staff, Ag students, local farmers, rural landowners.

Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in newsletters, blogs, news releases, one-on-one technical assistance/mentoring, and local/ regional meetings.

 

Livestock, Manure, and Compost Management for Soil Health Education Series for Educators

Primary audience: Primary and Secondary Educators, Extension Educators, Extension Specialists and NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff

Justification: A growing number of farmers are incorporating livestock, manures, and/or compost into their cropping systems as a tool to improve soil health. Farmers are also realizing the economic and environmental benefits of reducing stored feed needs by grazing more days per year. It is important to not only understand the potentially positive effects of these practices, but to also raise awareness of how to properly handle and manage them to avoid negative regulatory, environmental, and health consequences.

Expected Outcomes: Short term: 200 educators, agronomists, farmers, conservation staff and other ag professionals will increase their knowledge of how to incorporate livestock, manure, and composts in a way that mitigates negative environmental impacts and food safety implications. They will learn skills to help improve nutrient management while reducing costs on the farm through grazing cover crops, manure and compost application. 

Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to other educators, conservation staff, Ag students, local farmers, rural landowners. Webinars will be recorded for future review or training of incoming staff and interested farmers.

Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in newsletters, blogs, news releases, one-on-one technical assistance/mentoring, and local/ regional meetings.

 

Education/Presentation Skills Development for Educators and Peer-Based Mentors

Primary audience: Peer-based Mentors, NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff

Justification: There is a substantial lack of education opportunities for Indiana Conservation Partnership (ICP) Staff and Peer-based Mentors to help them develop effective presentation and workshop development skills. Presentation skills trainings will help ICP staff and mentors to effectively convey their knowledge of soil health systems.

Expected Outcomes: Short term: 60 educators improve their presentation and communication skills.  They will learn techniques to effectively demonstrate soil health related topics and systems.

Intermediate term: Through improved communication skills, local educators will be more effective in their outreach and education efforts. They will also share techniques with other local staff.

Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in the form of effective teaching skills.

 

Influencer Marketing Training for Educators

Primary audience: Educators, NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff

Justification: Linda Prokopy and J Arbuckle studies on demographics that influence conservation adoption.

Lack of basic sales skills by field staff. Need to engage local Ag retailers and professionals to reach ‘new markets’ of potential conservation adoption. Would also be pilot with the Indiana Nutrient Management Reduction Strategy.

Expected Outcomes: Short term: 60 educators improve their conservation sales and marketing skills.  They will learn techniques to effectively identify win-win opportunities to advance adoption of conservation practices and systems.

Intermediate term: Begin developing cadre of Ag professionals who will see conservation as a business opportunity and model… advancing the adoption of conservation practices

Outputs: ICP field staff will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to counties and regions to more effectively market conservation practices to influencers of conservation adoption.

 

*Evaluation: For all Cover Crop and Soil Health programs Pre- and Post-event assessments will gauge increased knowledge. Participants will report back to the State SARE Coordinator the number of farmers impacted, number of newsletters and local meeting containing their information etc at the end of 2017 and 2018.

 

Initiative 4 – Agricultural Interface with Urban Food Needs

Audience: Extension, NRCS, SWCD and other related nonprofit personnel

Justification: Extension Educators and NRCS, SWCD staff are often unfamiliar with the unique agricultural challenges facing urban food growers and the factors which limit access to healthy food for urban populations, especially underserved populations.

Outputs: Over 2017-2018 Fifteen educators will attend training to gain understanding of how issues such as poverty, racism, education level and other factors influence the availability and access to healthy foods and how those issues can be addressed to improve access.  A training group such http://www.pisab.org/programs will be brought to Indiana to help Educators. This initiative will help educators better serve the urban food growers and populations with limited access to fresh, healthy food, educators, need to increase their understanding of issues which limit access to healthy food, what solutions have proven to be effective in similar situations, how urban food production can be increased and how to work with organizations already addressing these issues.

  • Food Access: Although food access issues extend beyond racial issues this will hopefully be the beginning of conversation and this training and future trainings will increase the capacity of educators in Indiana to address the breadth of food access issues.
  • Urban Ag Certificate program: 10 educators will be trained in the newly developed urban agriculture certificate program which will be offered by Purdue Extension beginning in November 2016.
  • Citizen Soil Scientist: 10 educators and 40 community members will experience a program on assessing urban soil quality, Citizen Soil Scientist. This is a newly developed program piloting in fall 2016. As part of the program, participants learn how to investigate the land use history of a property, sample the soil, and interpret the soil sample results in order to make informed decisions about whether to use a site for agriculture and how to lessen risks related to soil and environmental quality.

Evaluation: Participants will report back to the State SARE Coordinator the number of presentations, number of attendees etc. at the end of 2017 and 2018

 

NCR-SARE 2017-18 Regional Initiative

Indiana will participate in the NCR-SARE 2017-18 regional initiative on soil health and water by supporting the involvement of selected agriculture educators in one or more soil health-related professional development events during the two-year time frame. We will support this regional initiative through our continued Indiana commitment to Cover Crops and Soil Health as a major State initiative, and through the development of a Vegetable Cover Crop Decision Maker appropriate for Indiana growers. In addition we expect to send interested educators to the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health (November 2017 in Indianapolis) and to the upcoming Midwest Cover Crops Council meeting in Grand Rapids, MI (March 2017).  We also will plan to have educators from our state participate in the Soil Health Nexus extension program being developed by the NCR Water Network and the NCR-SARE program.  Based on these professional development experiences, we expect the educators we have sponsored to come back and offer training events and programs for other farm advisors and producers in our state during the 2017-2018 time frame and beyond.  We anticipate that at least 40 farm advisor and farmer-educators will participate in these state programs during the time of the regional initiative, and additional individuals will be reached through webinars or other web-based distribution of information.  For outcomes we expect that at least 75% of the individuals trained will distribute information on soil health management practices, including those pertaining to water quality/quantity issues, and that at least 50% of the producers impacted will adopt one or more practices to improve their soil health management.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Addressing Initiative 1.-Farm to School Initiative
Objective:

The farm to school initiative uses collaborative training, travel scholarships, and other programs to help connect agriculture professionals at and around area schools with the knowledge on how they can connect with area farmers for a more sustainable food system.

Description:

Indiana has 400 K-12 school districts with over 1 million students, of which 31% are currently participating in some farm to school activity. Purdue Extension, the Indiana State Departments of Health and Education have staff committed to farm to school technical assistance. This initiative offers a formal training for Educators in Extension or the schools on an annual basis. It also offers assistance with scaling up local food systems. Local educators and community members can learn how to provide elementary and high school students with healthy meals and nutrition education through the training program.

Events and activities related to this initiative included:

Indiana Farm to School Training for Action Committees, August 29th at Purdue Extension in Marion County

MIFMA Market Manager Training

Travel Scholarships Funded For Farm to School Education

 

Outcomes and impacts:

Indiana Farm to School Training for Action Committees, August 29th at Purdue Extension in Marion County

61 attendees from the state department, Purdue extension, and area schools.

Presentations from: Colleen Matts, Farm to Institution Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems – Abby Harper, Community Food Systems Educator, MSU Extension Indiana – Jodee Ellett, Local Foods Coordinator, Purdue Extension – Ginny Roberts, Farm to School Lead, Purdue Extension – Laura Hormuth, Indiana State Department of Health – Maggie Schabel, Indiana Department of Education

Five Action Committees were selected from a pool of applicants. Action Committees discussed ideas and left with a plan to implement.

MIFMA Market Manager Training

Five webinars were hosted with each Farm to School Action Committee to cultivate interest in the 2018 Farm to School workshop training and to train on the management of local farmers markets. These webinars were recorded and hosted on the Purdue Extension Local Foods Website: www.purdue.edu/dffs/localfood

Travel Scholarships Funded For Farm to School Education

Sent Purdue Extension educators (4) to Shared Kitchen Tours in Fort Wayne and Michigan, to “Buying Local & Regional Food in Child Nutrition Programs” in Chicago, and to “Great Lakes Grown Local Procurement Train the Trainer” to further sustainable education on local food.

Addressing Initiative 2.- Diversifying Crop and Livestock Practices to Enhance Agricultural Sustainability
Objective:

Through workshops, sponsorship, and travel scholarships, this initiative provides the educational opportunity for agriculture professionals to increase knowledge in sustainable crop and livestock practices, production and marketing topics pertaining to small and diversified farming, and to better support their farmer clientele.

Description:

Organic farming practices can not only provide a more sustainable future for agriculture, but can also offer farmers an increase in profit, and better quality of life. This initiative fills the need for training and educational opportunities for educators, specialists, and district conservationists across the state to support farmers who may be looking to transition acreage to organic and more sustainable practices for their farm.

Events and activities related to this initiative included:                    
Grazing Management & Pasture Plant ID Workshop for ICP Employees, September 13 at Ancilla College

Building Resiliency to Extreme Weather Conditions Across Indiana Farmlands, August 8-10, at the Farm Bureau Banquet Hall 

Animal Welfare, September 14, at Training Beck Center in West Lafayette

Sustaining Natural Resources on Farms and in Communities, May 1, at Southeast Purdue Ag Center (SEPAC)

Travel Scholarships for Crop and Livestock Education

Travel Scholarships for Beginning Farmers Education

Outcomes and impacts:

Grazing Management & Pasture Plant ID Workshop for ICP Employees, September 13 at Ancilla College

25 attended the workshop and 25 reported that they had furthered their knowledge.

Building Resiliency to Extreme Weather Conditions Across Indiana Farmlands, August 8-10, at the Farm Bureau Banquet Hall 

Partnered with CCSI to support the attendance of agriculture professionals to the conference.

Animal Welfare, September 14, at Training Beck Center in West Lafayette

11 agriculture professionals from Purdue Extension attended the training.

Sustaining Natural Resources on Farms and in Communities, May 1, at Southeast Purdue Ag Center (SEPAC)

Extension and other educators (10) were taught about many different farm practices that can increase diversity and resilience on sustainable farms to better serve their clientele. These topics included forest management, timber marketing, on farm wildlife management, pollinator habitats, and aquaponics production. 

Rather than doing a written evaluation, we held a discussion with a subset of educators who attended.  They agreed that the workshop was useful and much of the information was new to them. Given the complexity and contextual nature of natural resource management, they suggested we continue these types of in-person trainings as well as webinars as needed.

Travel Scholarships

Small Farm Conference, March 2-4, Four Extension educators were able to attend the 2017 Indiana Small Farm Conference in Danville, Indiana.  This provided them with an opportunity to attend a range of educational sessions and network with farmers and other agricultural professionals from around Indiana, better equipping them to serve their farmer clientele in their counties.  Two of the educators have joined the conference planning committee to support the 2018 conference. 

One farmer was sent to Western Illinois University’s 2017 Allison Organic Research Farm to be trained in organic practices.

One extension educator was sent to Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin for the Organic Valley Mideast Region Agronomy School, WIU Organic Research Farm Field Day, the 2017 Organic Ag Research Symposium, and the MOSES 2017 Organic Grain Seminar. In visiting organic farms and processors he gained understand on how they have developed their systems and markets. His networking has also laid the groundwork for others to visit organic farms in 2018 because he will be the one spearheading this initiative’s programs further next year.

A group of 10 Extension Educators, 1 NRCS employee, and 8 farmers went on the “Missouri Beginning Farmer Field Trip” in Indiana and Missouri. By visiting many different diary, goat, sheep, grass-fed beef, chicken, and hog farms, the participants gained knowledge for their own farms and outreach initiatives.

 

Addressing Initiative 3- Spread Knowledge and Implementation of Cover Crops and Soil Health
Objective:

This initiative meets the need for further education and implementation of cutting edge sustainable soil health farm practices through collaborative training, travel scholarships, and other programs.

Description:

Indiana is a leader in sustainable cover crop practices. This initiative allows a place to channel the current knowledge base into a tiered training program for professionals, and specialized training for specific production models. 

Events and activities related to this initiative included:

CCSI -SARE Advanced Cover Crops Training-Specialty Crop Track(One day Labor Intensive and one day mechanized), June 20-21st, at the Daniel Turf Center in West Lafayette

CCSI-SARE Advanced Cover Crops Training- Commodity Track September 25-26, at the Burney-Clay Fire Department and VU

Basics of Soil Health Training, February 8, at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette

Core Cover Crops, April 4 and 6, at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette and at NEPAC

CCSI Workshop: Core Soil Health Systems, April 11 and 13, at SEPAC in Butterville, IN and at VUJC in Jasper, IN

2017 Soil Health Workshop, January 31, at Cornerstone Hall in
Salem, IN

Travel Scholarships to the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health

Travel Scholarships for cover crop and soil health education

Outcomes and impacts:

CCSI -SARE Advanced Cover Crops Training-Specialty Crop Track(One day Labor Intensive and one day mechanized), June 20-21st, at the Daniel Turf Center in West Lafayette and CCSI-SARE Advanced Cover Crops Training- Commodity Track September 25-26, at the Burney-Clay Fire Department and VU

A group of 27 extension educators, farmers, and state educators attended the Core Cover Crops Training in September and in July.

Basics of Soil Health Training, February 8, at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette

A group of 42 extension educators, farmers, and state educators attended the Soil Health Training.

Core Cover Crops, April 4 and 6, at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette and at NEPAC

A group of 36 extension educators, farmers, and state educators attended the Core Cover Crops Training.

CCSI Workshop: Core Soil Health Systems, April 11 and 13, at SEPAC in Butterville, IN and at VUJC in Jasper, IN

A group of 8 government educators attended.

2017 Soil Health Workshop, January 31, at Cornerstone Hall in
Salem, IN

A group of 53 participants attended this workshop.

Travel Scholarships to the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health

A group of eight educators and farmers were sent to the National Conference on Soil Health held in Indianapolis, IN.

Travel Scholarships for cover crop and soil health education

One educator was sent to “Soil Health Nexus Grant Meeting” in Indianapolis, IN. One educator was sent to “Cover Crops: Doing What Can’t Be Done” in Fort Wayne, IN. One educator was sent to “Soil Summit 2017” in Geneva, New York. All of these purposed to increase the research and knowledge of cover cropping and soil health in Indiana.

Addressing Initiative 4- Increasing the Agricultural Interface with Urban Food Needs
Objective:

To fill the knowledge gap for agriculture professionals who work with urban food growers.

Description:

This initiative will help educators better serve the urban food growers and populations with limited access to fresh, healthy food, educators, need to increase their understanding of issues which limit access to healthy food, what solutions have proven to be effective in similar situations, how urban food production can be increased and how to work with organizations already addressing these issues.

Events and activities related to this initiative included:

Indianapolis Urban Agriculture Tour, March 1, at Indianapolis farms

Outcomes and impacts:

Indianapolis Urban Agriculture Tour, March 1, at Indianapolis farms

Supported the team putting together the  tours around Indianapolis with a mini-grant. 

Educational & Outreach Activities

2 Minigrants
1 Online trainings
1 Tours
29 Travel Scholarships
2 Webinars / talks / presentations
13 Workshop field days
1 Other is a Conference (Indiana Small Farm Conference)

Participation Summary

80 Extension
38 NRCS
3 Researchers
26 Nonprofit
111 Agency
21 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
17 Farmers/ranchers
23 Others

Learning Outcomes

122 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
92 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

2 Grants received that built upon this project
107 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
Additional Outcomes:

It is notable that in a survey with 141 educators, the educators reported reaching out to 7060 farmers this year with the SARE information they learned. There can be some overlap with this number (some farmers may have been reached twice acc. to two different educators).

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

The Indiana Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator leads the efforts to promote activities throughout the year to both Indiana Ag Professionals and the public at large. We are committed enhancing the visibility of SARE educational materials, training /learning opportunities and grants.

Throughout 2017, we advertised all calls for proposals for the various competitive grant opportunities offered through NCR SARE and other granting agencies in a timely manner and assisted all callers concerning SARE programs and opportunities. Our first priority is to extend the word regarding the availability of grants and then to make sure that the individual proposals are an appropriate “fit” for potential applicants even before they begin the writing process.

Farmer Rancher (and Youth Educator) proposals as well as Partnership, PDP and R&E grants are promoted, calls to discuss welcomed, grant coaching offered and draft applications are reviewed and feedback both oral and written offered to applicants from across Indiana. Two webinar grant trainings were publicized and offered in the fall of 2017.

The SARE displays and/ or related materials is setup and staffed at all SARE sponsored programs, workshops (live or electronic), conferences and field days. These include but are not limited to the Indiana Horticulture Congress, Indiana Farm Bureau annual convention, State and National Vo-Ag teacher workshop, Beef Improvement Workshop, Soil and Water conference, IN Small Farm Conference, Illiana Veg Grower meeting, Grazing workshop, Women in Ag, ANR training/Retreat, Indiana Bee School, IN Farmers’ Market Forum, various Food Summits, Purdue Hort seminar, Heartland Apicultural Society, Indiana barn program etc. Every effort is made to engage new educators regarding SARE resources and to provide them with a small reference library of books and materials.

The 2017 IN Small Farm Conference contained a very successful and well attended session about SARE grant types and tips on how to apply and increase the potential for success.

In 2017, two Face of SARE kits were funded, developed and located with a host educator South (Bloomington) and North (Muncie). Extension staff have been made aware of availability of these materials and to contact these representatives in advance of conferences etc where the availability of such materials would be helpful.

All sponsored program agendas, advertising and promotional brochures prominently carry the NC-SARE logo. SARE related materials are made available to Extension staff for local distribution to farmers and others and a concerted effort is made by all Extension staff to promote SARE activities and opportunities to the citizens of the state. All Power point presentations made by the IN state coordinator include a slide or two introducing the concept of SARE…its purpose and available reference materials and funding opportunities.

Periodic notifications are made to all advisory members and extension staff as well as all IN NRCS, SWCD staff and all Vo-Ag teachers regarding upcoming SARE and related activities and opportunities.

IN SARE provided staff to attend the National FFA Convention to assist NC-SARE in staffing an informational booth to engage Vo-Ag instructors (and youth) from across the United States. 

IN SARE hired a part time Program Assistant in 2017 to facilitate the work of IN SARE. Initial efforts to increase visibility were the creation of an Indiana SARE FaceBook page and the refinement of content on the Indiana SARE Website.

Additional SARE resources were purchased and distributed to include factsheets, Books and flash drives. In large these are shared with Indiana Ag professionals. IN NRCS now provides flash drives to their employees and conference participants.

IN SARE collaborates closely with the emerging Diversified Farming and Food System (DFFS) program and a diverse and active Advisory Council is in place to guide the growth of the IN SARE program.

 

750 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
72 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
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.