South Dakota 2019-20 SARE State Plan of Work

Final report for NCSD19-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $129,998.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2021
Grant Recipient: South Dakota State University
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
State Coordinators:
Dr. David Karki
South Dakota State University
Co-Coordinators:
Dr. Rhoda Burrows
South Dakota State University
Expand All

Project Information

Abstract:

South Dakota is a rural state with a population of about 869,666 people (US Census 2018). The unemployment rate in SD was 3.2% in June 2018, below the national average of 4% (SD Bureau of Finance and Management 2018). Agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry with over $25 billion dollars in generated revenue contributing to 20% of state’s economy and employing 15% of the population in agriculture production and related fields in 2012 (South Dakota Department of Agriculture 2014). However, the farm economy has weakened over the last few years due to low commodity prices and SD Farm income is at its lowest since peaking in 2011 (SD Bureau of Finance and Management 2018). South Dakota’s beef industry is the main driver of the livestock economy, with 1.69 million beef cows in the state, it ranks 7th in the nation (USDA-NASS 2016). Pasture and rangeland account for half of the land use with the remaining used for crop production. The major crops are corn, soybeans, wheat, all hay, sunflower, oats, and sorghum (USDA-NASS 2016). Conventional agriculture tends to dominate the state with only a small minority of producers that are involved with alternative, sustainable, or organic agricultural practices. There are very few non-governmental agencies (NGOs) working on sustainable agriculture issues in the state.  

South Dakota State University (SDSU) is the Land Grant institution with missions in research, teaching, and extension. SDSU Extension has seven regional hubs strategically located across the state where 37 field specialists and associated field staff, with specific duties in generally one discipline reside (iGrow 2018). Extension’s core focus areas are: 4-H & youth, livestock, agronomy, healthy families, community development, and gardens. Extension mirrors the agricultural climate in South Dakota, however, local foods, community development and soil health are gaining traction. South Dakota SARE has been coordinated by Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Smart, a rangeland ecologist, in the Department of Natural Resources, since January 2015. Dr. Smart has spent considerable time rejuvenating the advisory board and increased activity to outreach professionals through travel scholarships and mini-grants. In 2018, Dr. Smart recruited Dr. Rhoda Burrows, SDSU Extension Horticultural specialist, to help co-coordinate the FACE of SARE portion plan of work.

Project Objectives:

Initiatives for 2019-20 are:

  1. Soil health
  2. Livestock-crop integration
  3. Local foods
  4. Beginning Farmers/Ranchers: Building sustainable operations

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand

Education

Educational approach:

What is sustainable agriculture? SARE defines sustainability using three key concepts: Profit over the long-term; Stewardship of our nation’s land, air, and water; and Quality of Life for farmers, ranchers, and their communities. This definition is similar to the concept of triple bottom-line economics: financial, environmental, and social. A business needs to be profitable, a good steward of its natural resources, and socially responsible.  Moving toward sustainability should be seen as a continual process and not viewed dogmatically as “either you are or aren’t”.

The goal of the South Dakota PDP SARE program is to provide professional development opportunities for outreach personnel in state, federal, and non-governmental agencies. Travel scholarships are designed to provide opportunities for outreach personnel to gain new ideas, skills, and networking relationships that will enhance their work toward delivering sustainable agriculture programming. Usually individuals will apply for a travel scholarship to attend a professional conference, workshop, or meeting. Mini-grants are designed to provide opportunities to train the trainers. Mini-grants typically deliver training at conferences, workshops, or meetings to outreach personnel and can include end users, but that’s not its main audience.

We funded six mini-grants in South Dakota in 2019, for events with sustainable agriculture professional development aspects: Community Garden Coordinator Training; West River Field School; SD Master Gardener Training Update (continuing education); Lakota Food Summit (held Feb. 2020); SD Local Foods Conference (held virtually in Nov 2020); and SD Soil Health Coalition Annual Conference and Soil Health School. After March 2020, most events moved to online formats.  We supported speakers and technology for the SD Local Foods Conference, and provided SARE "Building Soil" books for the Soil Health Coalition's Soil Health School attendees.
We funded nine travel grants in 2019 for professionals to attend conferences, workshops, and other events, ranging in topics from 4-H Leadership, to Dairy and Livestock; Local Foods; and Climate and Soil Health. The attendees are selected based on their plans to utilized information gained at these conferences in sharing their knowledge/teaching others principles related to sustainable agriculture.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Soil health
Objective:

Expected outcomes. Short term: extension, public sector, and private consultants will be provided with opportunities for training on increasing soil carbon, efficiency of the water cycle, and use of cover crops. Intermediate term: 50% of trained extension, public sector, and private consultants will provide training to producers on topics related to soil carbon, efficiency of the water cycle, and use of cover crops. Long-term: 25% of producers attending training will adopt practices related to the above topics.

Description:

Various opportunities will exist through SDSU Extension, SDSHC, SDGC, NRCS, and others to provide meetings, workshops, and schools on soil health, cover crops, no-till, efficient water cycle, and efficient nutrient cycle on croplands and grazinglands. We expect to support two to three soil health workshops which will occur in 2019 and 2020 and the SDSHC Soil Health School each fall. Participants will learn basic principles of; soil structure, microbiology, no-till and cover crop management. One hundred fifty participants are expected consisting of; SDSU Extension, NRCS personnel, NGO’s, private industry and farmers. SARE will continue to provide travel scholarships to assist individual educators to attend regional meetings on sustainable agriculture and on cover crops.  Educators will use information gained at workshops to educate producers about sustainable agriculture.

Outcomes and impacts:

Travel Scholarships: One travel scholarship was awarded to support an SD Grassland Coalition Board Member's travel to the GrassfedExchange conference in Santa Rosa, CA. Another scholarship was awarded to the Communications Coordinator of the SD Soil Health Coalition to attend the 2019 Sustainable Agriculture conference in Indianapolis, IN. Another extension educator was supported for travel to the National Adaptation Forum in Madison, WI.

Mini grants: Mini grants were awarded to support the Soil Health Conference and Annual Meeting, and the West River Field School in South Dakota.

Livestock-crop integration
Objective:

Expected outcomes. Short term: extension, public sector, and private consultants will be provided with opportunities for training on integrating the use of livestock and crop production. Intermediate term: 50% of trained extension, public sector, and private consultants will provide training to producers on topics related to grazing fall cover crops, full season cover crops, and residues. Long-term: 25% of producers attending training will adopt practices related to integrating livestock and crop production.

Description:

Support a workshop and field day with intensive grazing at Southeast Research Farm in July or September. This workshop will include a pasture walk through the intensive grazing trials at SERF. One Hundred Fifty participants are expected consisting of; SDSU Extension, NGO’s, private industry and farmers.  The audience will learn the basics of intensive grazing.  We plan to provide funding for mini-grants and travel scholarships supporting sustainable agriculture.  Extension personnel will utilize gained knowledge by sharing it with producers.

Outcomes and impacts:

Travel scholarships: An extension educator was awarded a scholarship to attend the American Sheep Industry Association Conference in New Orleans, LA. Another educator received funding to attend the 2019 National Mastitis Meeting in Savannah, GA.

Livestock-crop integration was also featured heavily throughout SARE-supported events that were focused on soil health.

Local Foods
Objective:

Expected outcomes. Short term: extension, public sector, and private consultants will be provided with opportunities for training on local vegetable and fruit cooperatives, production techniques, marketing, and pest management. Intermediate term: 50% of trained extension, public sector, and private consultants will provide training to producers on topics related to vegetable and fruit cooperatives, production techniques, marketing, and pest management. Long-term: 25% of producers attending training will adopt practices related to local food production

Description:

Support the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) in their field tours and workshops. We anticipate about 100 participants consisting of SDSU Extension, NGO’s, private industry and farmers. The audience should better understand the principles of sustainable food production; general production, high tunnel management, marketing, food hubs and CSA’s. We also will support the South Dakota Local Foods Conference held in November each year. SARE will support travel scholarships and mini-grants concerning high tunnels, producer cooperation and general production practices. Educators will use information gained at workshops to advise and educate producers.

Support a local food production/marketing workshop, held in conjunction with the Sioux Falls Organic Conference in early December. Fifty participants are expected consisting of; SDSU Extension, NGO’s, private industry and farmers. The audience should better understand the principles of food production; general production, high tunnel management, marketing, food cooperatives and CSA’s.

Outcomes and impacts:

A scholarship was awarded to support travel to the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Albuquerque, NM.

Mini grant funding supported several Local Foods events across the state: Gardening for Health - Community Garden Coordinator Training; South Dakota State Master Gardeners Yearly Update; 1st Annual Lakota Food Workshop; and the 2019 Local Foods Conference.

SARE funds were used to support speaker expenses, including keynote Carol Ford, who detailed experiences with food production in "winter greenhouses" in Minnesota, as well as demonstrating how local food production and marketing can help create opportunities for rural communities to attract new residents.

Beginning Farmer/Ranchers: Building sustainable operations
Objective:

Expected outcomes. Short term: extension staff will be provided training on how to better assist beginning farmers and ranchers on: general production, financial management, marketing, financial assistance and the establishment of a relationship with a farmer mentor. Intermediate term: 50% of trained extension staff will provide training to producers on topics related to general production, financial management, marketing, financial assistance and the establishment of a relationship with a farmer mentor. Long-term: 25% of producers attending training will adopt practices related to beginning farmer and rancher programs.

Description:

Expected outcomes. Short term: extension staff will be provided training on how to better assist beginning farmers and ranchers on: general production, financial management, marketing, financial assistance and the establishment of a relationship with a farmer mentor. Intermediate term: 50% of trained extension staff will provide training to producers on topics related to general production, financial management, marketing, financial assistance and the establishment of a relationship with a farmer mentor. Long-term: 25% of producers attending training will adopt practices related to beginning farmer and rancher programs.

Outcomes and impacts:

An SDSU Extension educator received funding to travel to the AgLead Summit in Appleton, WI. Another Extension educator was awarded a scholarship to attend the Agri Eco Tourism Workshop in Ord, NE.

Additionally, there was significant overlap between the Sustainable Operations and Local Foods initiatives, with several of the workshops being highly relevant to both initiatives.

Educational & Outreach Activities

6 Minigrants
9 Travel Scholarships
6 Webinars / talks / presentations
4 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

50 Extension
50 NRCS
10 Nonprofit
10 Agency
550 Farmers/ranchers
150 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

20 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
500 Farmers reached through participant's programs

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

In 2019, South Dakota SARE was represented at an array of venues, including

  • High Tunnel training in Wanblee SD (on the Pine Ridge reservation)
  • A FSMA Produce Safety Rule training in Rapid City, SD
  • High Tunnel workshop in Fargo, ND
  • Producer Food Safety training at Oyate Teca, Kyle SD (on the Pine Ridge reservation)
  • Fruit Workshop, Martin SD
  • Master Gardener trainings in Sturgis, Yankton, and Watertown
  • Soil Health Coalition
  • Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Conference in Fargo, ND
  • 40th Annual Rancher's Workshop in White River, SD

In 2020, South Dakota SARE was represented at

  • Lakota Food Summit, Rapid City, SD
  • SD Soil Health Coalition Soil Health School 
  • SD Local Foods Conference (virtual) 
800 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
300 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.