Michigan 2019-20 SARE State Plan of Work

Final report for NCMI19-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $130,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Michigan State University
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
State Coordinators:
Dr. Dean Baas
Michigan State University Extension
Co-Coordinators:
Dr. Adam Ingrao
Michigan State University Extension
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Project Information

Abstract:

Dr. Dean G. Baas, Educator – Sustainable Agriculture, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension (MSUE), is the State Co-coordinator for Michigan. Sarah Hanks served the Michigan SARE leadership team as Program Assistant from 2016 through 2018, leaving MSU for a job with University of Kentucky Extension. In February 2019, Dr. Adam Ingrao – Veterans Liaison and Agricultural Entomologist with MSUE, was appointed Michigan SARE State Co-coordinator. The Michigan SARE State Sustainable Agriculture PDP program is jointly coordinated by Drs. Baas and Ingrao through MSUE. Dean has office locations in the St. Joseph County MSUE office in Centreville, MI and at the MSU W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) in Hickory Corners, MI. Dean’s position is partially funded by SARE. Adam’s office is in the Luce County MSUE office in Newberry, MI in the Upper Peninsula. Adam’s position is partially funded by SARE. Dean and Adam provide overall SARE leadership and coordination with MSU, MSUE, MSU BioAgResearch and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Michigan is home to more than 300 commodities: with national rankings in the top 5 in production in over 35 different crops ranging from hay to carrots to dry kidney beans. 7th in the nation for maple syrup and milk and 8th in egg production and potatoes. This diversity is only second to California. Michigan agriculture takes place on 9.9 million acres across the state, averaging 193 acres per farm, with approximately 52,000 farms. In the North Central region of SARE Michigan stands out as the most diverse.

We believed the impact of the SARE PDP program could be increased by changing our strategy from the past plans of work by identifying a few cross-cutting sustainable agriculture initiatives that would serve more sectors and commodities. To this end, during the previous planning period we identified and interviewed a large number of stakeholders across the diversity of agriculture and geography in Michigan. Two major sustainable issues emerged from the interviews and they were of equal importance. They are:

  1. Increasing pressure from insects, diseases and weeds. This was either the first or second issue identified by over 50% of the respondents. This issue crossed commodities including fruits, vegetables and row-crops. There is a general consensus that resistance to chemical controls is developing across the spectrum of agricultural pests and that current integrated pest management (IPM) practices are not incorporating natural and sustainable methods to combat this threat to sustaining economic productivity. There are environmental sustainability concerns due to overuse of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. Pollinator protection is also cited as an on-going concern. Social sustainability of synthetic control, perception of farms and future loss or limits on these methods due to regulation were also cited. There is an opportunity to bridge the gap between organic and conventional IPM. Sustainable practices including cover crops, diversity, habitat for natural predators/pollinators and soil health are viewed as tools that need to be re-introduced as part of the solution.
  2. Sustainability of small/beginning farmers and the local food system. This was also the first or second issue identified by over 50% of the respondents. While this was an overarching issue, many facets were identified as contributing to this concern. Some of these include equitable access to programs, land access, limited financing options, declining CSA memberships, slowing growth in farmer markets, changing consumer choices (locally produced food in large stores), barriers to the wholesale market, resources for beginning farmers (in particular under-served audiences), food/community sovereignty and the need for small scale mechanization. There are many organizations working in this arena in Michigan including Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS), Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance (MOFFA), MSU Department of Community Sustainability, MSU Student Organic Farm and local foods networks in major cities such as Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint and Lansing. We believe the SARE PDP program should have a role both as a facilitator in the discussions and a supplier/supporter of educational programs in collaboration with the partners and organizations that are currently working closely with the local food system and its stakeholders.

We and the Michigan SARE Advisory Council believe the SARE PDP program in Michigan can be a major driver for increasing the sustainability of agriculture by continuing to focus our resources in these two areas. We propose to continue this work with partners and stakeholders to identify strategies and programs whereby the Michigan SARE PDP can address these issues. These issues are broad-based and not limited to certain geographic areas or locales. Addressing these issues also supports our efforts to have a greater impact and elevate the presence of SARE in Michigan.

Project Objectives:

Professional Development Initiatives

The 2019 – 2020 Michigan professional development initiatives will be focused in three areas, two as identified through the process detailed in the background and stakeholder involvement sections and one to provide a modest level of support for other sustainable agriculture requests that have merit. The initiatives are:

  1. Sustainable integrated pest management (40% of resources)
  2. Sustainability of beginning/small farms and local foods (40% of resources)
    1. Including support for the NCR-SARE regional training 2019-20. We will plan to send several representatives of our state to a regional professional development event organized by NCR-SARE on beginning farmers and ranchers, to be offered during calendar year 2019. Educators who are given support from our state SARE funds to travel to this regional training will be asked to come back to our state and serve on the planning team for our state training for beginning farmers and ranchers. During the two-year plan of work period, we will also offer additional SARE-funded travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming than increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers.
  3. Other sustainable agriculture requests (20% of resources)

A similar approach and similar resources are proposed for the first two major initiatives listed above one. Consisting of the following:

  • Establish initiative training planning committees made up of educators and stakeholders.
  • One workshop/conference per year to train educators about sustainable approaches to address the issue.
  • Mini-grant support for event planning, promotion and implementation.
  • Speaker and participant travel support for the events.

The events will consist of one or more sustainable agriculture components: education, demonstration, facilitated discussion, issue identification and/or network development as determined by the initiative planning committee.

Estimated PDP budget below includes each initiative’s percentage for mini-grant funds, travel scholarship funds and program co-coordinator time. The program co-coordinator will provide coordination and support to project teams planning and implementing programming for the initiatives.

Initiative 1:

Sustainable integrated pest management (40%)

Audience: Educators from universities, Extension, NGO’s, non-profits, agencies, commodity groups, lead farmers and other stakeholders engaged in IPM research, education and consultation in fruits, vegetables and row crops from across Michigan.

Background: Agricultural leaders identified sustainable integrated pest management as a leading issue related to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of agriculture in Michigan (see Stakeholder Involvement). This issue is universal as a top one or two issue across all commodities. MSU AgBioResearch and Extension surveys support the priority in this area. Examples of pest problems associated with current IPM practices include increases herbicide resistant marestail and palmer amaranth; spotted wing Drosophila, western bean cutworm, spider mites, aphids and soybean cyst, sugarbeet cyst and root knot nematodes; and soybean sudden death syndrome, fusarium and Goss’s wilt. Leaders have expressed renewed interest in sustainable IPM practices to fight these increases. The MSUE Agricultural and Agribusiness Institute Field Crops Team has established a working group on Pest Resistance Issues. Dean is amember and chair of this workgroup. He will leverage this group in support of the SARE sustainable IPM issue.

Activities: Assess sustainable agriculture professional development training needs and lead the development/implementation programs to address issues through the sustainable IPM initiative.

Initiative 2:

Sustainability of beginning/small farms and local foods (40%)

Audience: Educators from universities, Extension, NGO’s, non-profits, agencies, local food groups, urban agriculture, lead small/beginning farmers and other stakeholders engaged in research, education and consultation for beginning/small farms and local foods from across Michigan.

Background: Agricultural leaders identified the sustainability of beginning/small farms and local foods as a leading issue related to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of agriculture in Michigan (see Stakeholder Involvement). This issue was a top one or two issue for many agricultural leaders inside and outside the local foods leadership. Within this issue area there were many contributing factors and a number of established organizations to collaborate with on identifying the best use of SARE PDP resources to support sustaining this critical segment of agriculture in Michigan. SARE can make its greatest contribution through collaboration/facilitation with existing groups. Following up on the interview input from the MIFFS report, partner organizations such as MIFFS, MOFFA, MSU Community Sustainability, etc. will be utilized to support the sustainability of beginning/small farms and local foods initiative.

Activities: Facilitate discussions, assist issue identification and definition, strengthen networks and support the development of collaborative programs to increase the sustainability of small/beginning farms and local foods in Michigan.

Initiative 3:

Other sustainable agriculture requests (20%)

Audience: Extension educators and specialists, NRCS, NGOs, MDA and CDs.

Background: Mini-grants and travel scholarships can help educators, NRCS, governmental and non-governmental organizations develop and deliver professional development programs or demonstrations that promote sustainability of rural and urban communities. Additional issues identified through the processes above include soil health, climate change/resiliency, labor issues, health of farm families, public/regulatory perception of farmers, educating the public about farming and concerns over the next generation of farmers. To receive these funds, applicants must submit a professional development proposal that addresses agriculture or community sustainability. This initiative addresses support for those deserving proposals outside of the two major initiatives

Activities: Promote mini-grants and travel scholarships for educator programs.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Jason Rowtree (Educator and Researcher)
  • Julie Lehman (Educator)
  • Boyd Byelich (Educator)
  • Marilyn Thelen (Educator)
  • Jennifer Silveri (Educator and Researcher)
  • Abbey Palmer (Educator)
  • Nathan Pufpaff
  • Filberto Villa-Gomez (Educator)
  • Naim Edwards (Educator)
  • Jeremy Huffman
  • Erin Satchell

Education

Educational approach:

A similar educational approach and similar resources are proposed for the two major initiatives, consisting of the following:

  • Establish initiative training planning committees made up of educators and stakeholders.
  • One workshop/conference per year to train educators about sustainable approaches to address the issue.
  • Mini-grant support for event planning, promotion and implementation.
  • Speaker and participant travel support for the events.

The events will consist of one or more sustainable agriculture components: education, demonstration, facilitated discussion, issue identification and/or network development as determined by the initiative planning committee.

In addition, for the beginning farmer initiative, several representatives of our state were supported to attend the regional professional development event organized by NCR-SARE on beginning farmers and ranchers in 2019. Educators were given support from our state SARE funds to travel to this regional training and are serving on the planning team for our state training for beginning farmers and ranchers. Additional SARE-funded travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Sustainable integrated pest management (40%)
Objective:

Increase knowledge and application of sustainable practices for integrated pest management including weeds, diseases and insects to address increasing threat to economic sustainability due to resistance issues. Assess sustainable agriculture professional development training needs and lead the development/implementation programs to address issues through the sustainable IPM initiative.

Description:

The Sustainable Integrated Pest Management Initiative was not worked on in 2019. We have been slow to start on the initiative in part due to the unusually wet growing season in 2019 and the demands placed on many of the specialists and educators required to implement it. This will be a major focus in 2020. A planning team has been identified and will meet to develop and host a conference in the fall on sustainable pest management.

In 2020, we worked with the Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District to offer two on ground events focused on educating livestock farmers on biological control tactics for control of pest flies and parasitic worms in livestock systems. The events took place on January 15th and 16th, 2020 in Chippewa and Luce counties and were attended by 7 and 8 local farmers, respectively. Curriculum covered was focused on integration of biological control tactics into larger IPM programs, new biological control tactics for livestock systems, and SARE resources and programs. Due to COVID19 all other 2020 planned field events were cancelled.

Outcomes and impacts:

There have been no learning and action outcomes or impact from this initiative in 2019. 

In 2020, the two events we participated in resulted in survey responses from 7 individuals of the 15 participants we engaged. Those individuals reported the following learning outcomes:

  • 100% learned something new about biological control tactics in livestock systems
  • 57% planned on implementing a biological control tactic presented on their own farm
Sustainability of beginning/small farms and local foods (40%)
Objective:

Increase the sustainability of beginning/small farms and therefore the local food system and supply through facilitate discussions, assist issue identification and definition, strengthen networks and support the development of collaborative programs to increase the sustainability of small/beginning farms and local foods in Michigan.

Description:

The Sustainability of Beginning/Small Farms and Local Foods was a major focus in 2019. This initiative was support through:

  • Support of seven participants to attend the NCR-SARE regional training, Enhancing the Success and Sustainability of Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
    • Comprised of educators from MSU, NGO’s, and community organizations supporting beginning farmer education programs.
    • This group is working collectively over 2020 to develop a database of beginning farmer rancher programs in Michigan that will be used throughout the state to promote existing education, training, and resources that support beginning farmers.
      • During 2020 the working group met and developed a plan for collection of data and implementation of a statewide database to connect beginning farmers to education programs, training and resources. The plan includes a beginning farmer page on the MI SARE website that includes an interactive map that has beginning farmer education programs designated with promotional videos, website, and contact info for each program embedded in the map. This tool is currently in development with collaboration from Katie Brandt of MSU’s Organic Farmer Training Program who was brought on to this project to lead the effort. We plan to launch the site in late 2021.
  • One mini-grant (2019)
    • Support for the Food System Plan National Convening Conference
    • The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) hosted an invitation-only, three-day gathering for food system plan leaders who are working towards or supporting food system plans, primarily at the state level.
  • 5 travel scholarships (2019) for:
    • One scholarship for WISEWOMAN Farm Conference Support – Participants in the WISEWOMAN Entrepreneurial Gardening Program attending the 2019 Michigan Family Farms and Northern Michigan Small Farms Conferences.
    • Two scholarships for participants from the Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) non-profit to attend the National Farm Viability Conference.
    • One scholarship for a participant from the SE Michigan Producers Association (SEMPA) non-profit to attended the National Conference on Outreach and Agriculture Development.
    • One participant from the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe attended the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Food Summit.
  • 1 Travel Scholarship (2020) for:
    • One scholarship for WISEWOMAN Farm Conference Support – Participants in the WISEWOMAN Entrepreneurial Gardening Program attending the 2019 Michigan Family Farms Conference.
Outcomes and impacts:
  • Mini-grants (2019) for:
    • Food System Plan National Convening Conference
      • A total of 70 people participated in the convening, which included five funders and representatives from 24 states and regions.
      • The convening evaluation survey (National Convening Report_v2) was completed by 36 representatives from twenty states and two regions for a 51% response rate.
      • Half (18, 50%) of survey respondents indicated that they are currently implementing a food systems plan. Several (4, 11%) respondents reported that they do not currently have a food systems plan, and another 4 (11%) are beginning conversations to develop a food systems plan. Another two people (6%) said that they have a food systems plan but are not currently implementing it. Of the 8 people who indicated “other,” four (11%) of them are in the process of developing a “2.0 plan,” (the second phase of the food system plan, after the timeline of the initial plan has expired) two of them are working towards a vision, and two of them have a vision, but no plan.
      • Almost all respondents agreed that they planned to contact someone who they met at the convening in the hopes of finding a way to collaborate, including 81% who strongly agreed and 14% who agreed. One person disagreed with this statement and one person strongly disagreed.
      • For many (9, 25%) respondents, one of the biggest takeaways from the convening related to themes of racial equity and justice.
  • Travel scholarships (2019) for:
    • WISEWOMAN Farm Conference Support
      • The women attended many different sessions, but their favorite by far was the session on the 2018 Farm Bill. They had no idea that there were so many resources out there that could potentially help them improve their farming and gardening operations.
    • Two scholarships for participants from the Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) non-profit to attend the National Farm Viability Conference.
      • Received templates and learned about best practices from technical assistance providers across the country.
      • Learned about available curriculum for helping farmers with land access.
      • Learned about farm viability programs (nonprofit, government, etc) from across the country and are planning to develop a farm viability working group in 2020.
      • This was the best professional development conference I have ever participated in. It offered powerful networking and learning opportunities fostering strategies to bring innovative new programming to Michigan as well as opportunities to share the excellent work already taking place in the state through collaborations with our partners.
      • MIFFS identified new partners to collaborate in developing an environmental scan of existing statewide farm viability initiatives in other states and their funding strategies, to compile a report that can be used to draw support and replicate a collaborative statewide initiative in Michigan.
      • It provided a library of resources, curricula and innovative tools to support accessing Capital to support sustainable farm business development & growth. These will be shared through MIFFS social media, website and outreach events.
      • It provided meaningful opportunities to discuss equity & social justice in the food system and developed alliances to share resources and support with similar organizations in Minnesota and other states. As a result MIFFS is committed to partnering with similar organizations, especially Hmong American Farmer Association and Latino Economic Development Center to share programming, replicate technical assistance models and share resources that will strengthen and enhance services available to historically underserved sustainable agriculture and immigrant communities farming in MI.
      • Pakou Hang of Hmong American Farmer Association was recruited as the keynote speaker for the MI Family Farms Conference 2020. Personal invitations to participate in the conference were accepted by leadership of many organizations in the NC SARE region.
    • One scholarship for a participant from the SE Michigan Producers Association (SEMPA) non-profit to attended the National Conference on Outreach and Agriculture Development.
      • Learning outcomes include 1) networking with organizations with similar objectives, 2) identifying existing and new resources available to improve our programs, 3) obtain knowledge from case studies of programs utilizing resources, and 4) learn about the emerging issues in performing agriculture outreach.
  • Travel Scholarships (2020) for:
    • WISEWOMAN Farm Conference Support
      • Five women attended a number of different sessions, which provided them with information to improve their farming and gardening as well as assist in mentoring other gardeners.
Other sustainable agriculture requests (20%)
Objective:

Provide support for sustainable agriculture professional development that are outside of the two major initiatives that advance sustainable agriculture in Michigan by promoting mini-grants and travel scholarships for these educator programs.

Description:

SARE PDP support was given for Other Sustainable Agriculture Requests in the following areas:

  • Three mini-grants (2019):
    • Agroforestry Professional Development Opportunity for Natural Resource Professionals in Michigan – Provided professionals in the agriculture and forestry sectors the opportunity to learn about agroforestry rotations and the associated economic benefits of managing two crops rather than one. The workshop was an ideal venue to spark partnerships, provide a networking opportunity and promote collaboration on future grants and educational programs.
    • MSU Vegetable Team Summer Tour – An annual event that takes the team of extension educators, specialists, and graduate students to vegetable farms and supporting businesses around the state. The 2019 tour had stops at 6 distinct farms and 1 agricultural manufacturer. 
    • Michigan Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) Organic Intensives 2019 – Organic Intensives provided a full-day, intensive program in a single topic area. In 2019 the topics were Healthy Organic Livestock, Organic Mushroom Cultivation, Technology in Organic Field Crops, and Advanced Organic Soil Management.
  • Two mini-grants (2020):
    • Michigan Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) Organic Intensives 2020 – Organic Intensives provided a full-day, intensive program in a single topic area. In 2020 the topics were Successful Biological Orcharding, Organic No-Till Farming, and Local Organic Herbs for Health.
    • Michigan State University Extension, Beginning Grazing School online in 2020. The eight-week course was designed for beginning farmers and livestock owners who graze dairy, beef, and small ruminant animals and want the latest animal and forage research on grazing management.
  • Four travel scholarships (2019):
    • Two scholarships for educators to attend the How to Teach Soil Health Conference by the Soil Health Nexus.
    • One scholarship for an educator to attend the International Symposium on Vegetable Grafting.
    • One scholarship for an NRCS MAEAP technician to attend the National No-till Conference.
  • Nine travel scholarships (2020):
    • Seven scholarships for educators to attend the 2020 Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting and Conference.
    • One scholarship for an educator to attend the 2020 Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference.
    • One scholarship for an educator to attend the 2020 Craft Malting Conference.
  • Two speaker travel scholarships (2019): 
    • Provided one scholarship for speaker travel for the Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference on sustainable forage management.
    • Provided one scholarship for speaker travel for the Great Lakes Hops and Barley Conference on soil and plant nutrient testing recommendations. Conference had 100 participants.
  • One speaker travel scholarship (2020):
    • Provided one scholarship for speaker travel for the Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference on the uncertainty of producing forages in 2020. Conference had 90 participants.
Outcomes and impacts:
  • Mini-grants (2019) for:
    • Agroforestry Professional Development Opportunity for Natural Resource Professionals in Michigan
      • Two Silvopasture Train the Trainer Workshops were held in Harrison (Mid-Michigan Community College) and Chatham, MI (U.P. Research and Extension Center).
      • The workshops were attended by 67 people in total; 40 at the Harrison location and 27 at the location in Chatham with participants from 36 different Michigan counties.
      • At the end of each workshop, participants were asked to complete an evaluation of the program. The evaluation was completed by sixty-two of the sixty-seven participants. The event is summarize here (Survey results for JEAN minigrant).
      • When asked how the workshop affected their knowledge of the subject, eighty-seven percent reported an increase in knowledge, with fifty-six percent of those reporting their knowledge increased a great deal as opposed to moderately. Participants reported that prior to the workshop forty-seven percent were not likely to recommend silvopasture or agroforestry techniques, while 53 percent reported that it was somewhat or very likely. However, eighty-eight percent reported that their likelihood of recommending the techniques increased as a result of attending the program (18% increased slightly, 35% increased moderately and 35% increased a great deal).
    • MSU Vegetable Team Summer Tour
      • The tour was attended by 15 participants including Extension educators, specialists and graduate students.
      • The outcomes were expanded knowledge of Michigan vegetable production and improved team cohesion
      • This program provided a seamless experience for participants.
      • It was especially exciting to have graduate students attend the tour allowing them to see new areas of Michigan agriculture, hear about grower issues, and see the work extension does.
      • This program helps cultivate the next generation of extension educators and specialists.
    • Michigan Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) Organic Intensives 2019
      • More than 100 people attended and participated in in-depth educational sessions on one of four topics: Healthy Organic Livestock (with an emphasis on small ruminants (18), Organic Mushroom Production (31), Emerging Technology in Organic Row Crop Production (15), and Advanced Organic Soil Management (37).
      • Participants were asked to evaluate their experience
        at the end of the day, and 84% responded, the event summary is here (OI2019-General-Report-final Biernbaum).
      • Close to 40% of those returning evaluations said they were MOFFA members, and an additional 13% were not, but said that they plan to join. Just under half of the participants were farmers, 19% represented a food or farm related business or non-profit organization, 13% identified as organic gardeners, 6% were educators (including MSUE and Conservation District personnel), and 10% were students.
  • Mini-grants (2020) for:
    • Michigan Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) Organic Intensives 2020
      • Seventy-six people attended and participated in
        in-depth educational sessions on one of three topics: Successful Biological Orcharding (41), Organic No-Till Farming (19), and Local Organic Herbs for Health (16).
      • Participants were asked to evaluate their experience
        at the end of the day, and 83% responded, the event summary is here (MOFFA Organic Intensives Report – 2020).
      • Just under half of those registered identified as farmers, 18% identified as gardeners, 18% represented a food or farm related business or non-profit organization, 12% were educators (including MSUE and Conservation District personnel), and the remaining 5% fell into other categories.
    • MSUE, Beginning Grazing School online in 2020
      • The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Forage and Grazing team to conduct the traditional face-to-face school. It was moved completely to a virtual setting and offer eight topics in 1.5-hour blocks two times per week during the month of October.
      • This program was attended by 69 participants including participation by 7 educators. The summary and evaluation for the program is here (2020 Virtual Beginning Grazing School Evaluation Final).
      • This mini-grant supported the purchase of educational materials mailed to participants including the MCCC Cover Crops Field Guide and the Purdue Forage Guide.
  • Travel scholarships (2019) for:
    • How to Teach Soil Health Conference by the Soil Health Nexus
      • Know how the Soil Health Nexus defines soil health.
      • Be able to conduct demonstrations that show effects of soil health practices.
      • Be able to make research-based recommendations that promote soil health and are economical, based on field assessments and current management practices.
      • Suite of tools to teach growers to evaluate for compaction, aggregation OM etc.
    • International Symposium on Vegetable Grafting
      • I learned about rootstock and scion compatibility, healing, and yield/quality effects from these technologies.
      • I also expanded by network of industry professionals who supply materials and equipment for the practice.
  • Speaker travel scholarships (2019) for:
    • Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference
      • This program makes it possible to bring in keynote speaker from out of state.
      • Increase knowledge of sustainable and improved production practices.
    • Great Lakes Hops and Barley Conference
      • Increased knowledge and intent to improve sustainability of farming operations.
      • Specifically, we hosted John Taberna (Western Labs) to discuss soil and plant nutrient testing recommendations. (see Impact Report, 2019 GLHBC Report).
  • Travel scholarships (2020) for:
    • 2020 Midwest Cover Crops Council Annual Meeting and Conference
      • Participants increase their knowledge of cover crop practices and research around the Midwest.
      • Networking opportunities were invaluable for future cover crop and soil health programming.
    • 2020 Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference
      • Participant appreciated this professional development opportunity to gain new knowledge in cropping systems and practices.
    • Craft Malting Conference
      • Opportunity to bridge the gap between farmers, maltsters, brewers and distillers.
      • Learned about the sustainability measurements for future barley and rye growth in Michigan.
      • Sustainability is an important measure to consider in order for malting barley to succeed in Michigan in the future.
  • Speaker travel scholarships (2020) for:
    • Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference
      • This program makes it possible to bring in keynote speaker from out of state.
      • Increase knowledge of sustainable and improved production practices with the uncertainties of 2020.

Educational & Outreach Activities

60 Consultations
1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
5 Minigrants
3 On-farm demonstrations
9 Online trainings
7 Published press articles, newsletters
1 Tours
22 Travel Scholarships
9 Webinars / talks / presentations
9 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

46 Extension
29 NRCS
12 Researchers
66 Nonprofit
16 Agency
58 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
919 Farmers/ranchers
143 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

919 Farmers reached through participant's programs

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

During 2019, Drs. Baas and Ingrao hosted outreach tables and made presentations across the state to promote SARE programs and engage farmers and ag professionals with SARE literature and grant opportunities. These efforts took place at the following events reaching the identified stakeholders:

  • 1/18/19 Farmer Veteran Coalition of Michigan annual meeting (outreach table/presentation): 48 farmers engaged, 2 ag professionals engaged
  • 1/25-26/19 Veterans of Foreign Wars Mid-Winter Conference (outreach table): ~50 farmers engaged
  • 1/25-26/19 Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference (outreach table): ~600 conference attendees, 80 farmers engaged
  • 2/9/19 Michigan Family Farms Conference (outreach table/SARE Farmers Forum/grant writing presentation): ~400 Conference attendees, 75 farmers engaged
    • SARE Farmers Forum – Coordinated with Joan Benjamin and Beth Nelson to include a SARE sponsored Farmers Forum Track in the conference featuring five SARE projects and a grant writing session. The Farmers Forum presentations were video taped and provided to NCR SARE for posting on their website.
  • 3/8-9/19 Michigan Beekeepers’ Association Spring Conference (outreach table/presentation): ~300 farmers engaged
  • 4/25/19 Little Band of Traverse Bay Indians (presentation): 5 farmers engaged, 1 ag professional engaged
  • 4/26-28/19 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit: ~700 Conference attendees, 100 farmers engaged
  • 8/3/19 Michigan Honey Festival (outreach table/presentation): ~100 farmers engaged
  • 8/15/19 Upper Peninsula State Fair (outreach table): 75 farmers engaged, 6 ag professionals engaged
  • 10/10/19 Koppert Biologicals Field Day (presentation/tour): 50 farmers engaged, 10 ag professionals
  • 10/12/19 Marquette Master Gardners (presentation): 42 farmers engaged
  • 11/13/19 Governor Whitmer’s Policy Team (presentation): 4 ag professionals (Governor’s Policy Team)
  • 11/18-19/19 Farmer Veteran Coalition National Stakeholders Conference (outreach table/presentations): ~200 farmers engaged, ~30 ag professionals engaged

Face of SARE outreach efforts in 2020 were impacted due to COVID19 and resulting cancellations starting in mid-March of many conferences, field days, and on-ground events that we would normally participate in. However, despite this challenging year, we were able to adapt quickly and participated in many virtual events which allowed us to promote SARE programs and resources to broad audiences. Below we report the Face of SARE efforts for 2020.

  • 1/15/20 Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District Sustainable Pest Management in Livestock Systems event (presentation): 7 farmers engaged
  • 1/16/20 Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District Sustainable Pest Management in Livestock Systems event (presentation): 8 farmers engaged
  • 1/24-25/20 Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference (outreach table): ~700 conference attendees, 100 farmers engaged
  • 2/6/20 Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District Annual Dinner (outreach table): 10 farmers engaged, 5 ag professionals engaged
  • 2/8/20 Michigan Family Farms Conference (outreach table/SARE Farmers Forum/grant writing presentation): ~450 Conference attendees, 100 farmers engaged
  • 2/26/20 Invited speaker Bay de Noc Beekeeping Club (presentation): 30 farmers engaged
  • 2/29/20 Invited speaker Great Lakes Lavender Growers Association (presentation): 80 farmers engaged
  • 3/4/20 Conscious Cafe (outreach table): 10 farmers engaged
  • 3/6/20 Michigan Food and Farming Systems Cultivating a Legally Resilient Farm workshop (outreach table): 50 farmers engaged
  • 3/6-7/20 Michigan Beekeepers’ Association Spring Conference (outreach table/keynote presentation): ~500 farmers engaged
  • 4/11/20 Invited speaker National Agriculture Hall of Fame Beekeeping Conference (virtual presentation): ~50 farmers engaged
  • 7/16/20 Invited speaker Superiorland Beekeeping Club (virtual presentation): 15 farmers engaged
  • 8/1/20 Heroes to Hives 2020 cohort (virtual presentation): 426 farmers engaged
  • 11/18-19/20 Farmer Veteran Coalition National Stakeholders Conference (virtual outreach table): 148 farmers engaged
2529 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
58 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.