SAR17-001 Model State Program

Final report for SAR17-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $44,444.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2018
Grant Recipient: University of Arkansas
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
State Coordinator:
Dr. M. Elena Garcia
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Arkansas SARE PDP for 2017-2018 will focus on providing sustainable agriculture education and training opportunities for Extension agents, associates and program aides, USDA staff, farmers’ market managers, farmer leaders and other agriculture professionals. Key issues in the 2017-2018 program include cover crop demonstrations and workshops, a food safety and food safety modernization act workshop, wildlife management in agriculture, and travel opportunities to sustainable agriculture events in and out of state. These priorities were identified through the AR SARE advisory committee, feedback from previous events, and conversations with extension agents and growers on emerging and current needs. These activities and opportunities will allow agriculture professionals to advance their skills, confidence and understanding of sustainable agriculture issues, allowing them to communicate and educate growers and producers on the benefits more easily.

Project Objectives:

The objectives of the Arkansas SARE PDP program are:
1) To provide learning opportunities for Extension agents and specialists, farmers market managers, and farmer
leaders in Arkansas to expand their understanding and application of sustainable agriculture, and increase their
ability to implement and share information on sustainable agriculture.
2) To increase the awareness of the SARE program among agriculture leaders in Arkansas, the resources it provides
and increase awareness of training opportunities and scholarships for Arkansas agriculture leaders interested in
sustainable agriculture.
3) To continue to employ the advisory board to provide input to the AR SARE PDP program, and share information
about the AR SARE program through their professional circles.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Obadiah Njue (Educator)
  • Dr. Sixte Ntamatungiro (Researcher)
  • Dr. Donn Johnson (Researcher)
  • Berni Kurz (Educator)
  • Jim Morgan
  • Stephan Walker (Educator)
  • Margo Hale (Educator)
  • Liz Young (Educator)
  • Dr. Amanda McWhirt (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Henry English (Educator)
  • Dr. Elena Garcia (Researcher)
  • Heather Friedrich

Education

Educational approach:

The AR SARE MSP is designed to increase knowledge, gain confidence and change attitudes of agricultural professionals on sustainable agriculture issues. Opportunities are provided for travel scholarships to increase networks and gain insight on new ideas and methods in sustainable agriculture. And educational workshops are developed to include practical application of knowledge with on-farm and/or on-site demonstrations.  

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Travel Scholarships
Objective:

To provide learning opportunities for Extension agents and specialists, farmers market managers, farmer leaders in Arkansas to expand their understanding and application of sustainable agriculture, and increase their ability to implement and share information on sustainable agriculture.

Description:

Travel scholarships were provided to 14 agriculture professionals including extension personnel, farmers market managers, farmer leaders and agricultural non-profits community organizers.  Recipients traveled to SSAWG, the OK-AR Horticulture Industry Show and the SARE 30th Anniversary Our Farms Our Future conference. 

Outcomes and impacts:

Because of the travel scholarships, recipients indicated they increased their knowledge of sustainable agriculture issues, advanced their skills, and increased their networks.  As a result, they indicated the the following: 

  • I will collaborate or follow up with new contacts for work.
  • I will incorporate new ideas and information into regular programming or an event.
  • I will change/implement the following practices
    • Change my approach to healthy eating curriculum within the context of garden education
    • Cover cropping, organic agriculture
  • I will consider changing/implementing the following practices
    • New strategies for weed management & irrigation design, lasagna garden beds for next winter
    • Reduced tillage
  • I will share information on :
    • social agriculture, soil health
    • General sustainable ag, cover crop practice, soil health and conservation
Workshops
Objective:

To provide learning opportunities for Extension agents and specialists, farmers market managers, farmer leaders in Arkansas to expand their understanding and application of sustainable agriculture, and increase their ability to implement and share information on sustainable agriculture.

Description:

A workshop on specialty crop production was held in Eureka Springs in March 2018.  Workshops on Managing Wildlife Pests in Agriculture and Food Safety will be held June 27 and 28, 2018.  A workshop on cover crops has been postponed until later this year due to drought conditions at planting leading to poor establishment. 

The specialty crop workshop covered topics that included information on considerations for greenhouse production, high tunnel fruit production, tools for recordkeeping, farmscaping with native plants for pollinators, soil health and a greenhouse tour. 

 

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants stated several practices they would implement or share information about including adding pollinator plants to the farmscape, adding a crop journal to help with farm recordkeeping, and growing grapes in high tunnels.

This report will be updated in July to reflect the evaluations from the upcoming late June 2018 workshops. 

Awareness of SARE
Objective:

To increase the awareness of the SARE program among agriculture leaders in Arkansas, the resources it provides and increase awareness of training opportunities and scholarships for Arkansas agriculture leaders interested in sustainable agriculture.

Description:

Extension personnel, farmers market managers, farmer mentors and UA faculty regularly receive emails and information on SARE grants and publications, AR-SARE travel scholarship opportunities and workshops. Extension and UA personnel also have the opportunity to receive SARE books and publications.

Our previous AR-SARE blog is defunct but we are in the process of evaluating other options to share important SARE information. 

Outcomes and impacts:

Recipients of SARE information and opportunities are increasing their awareness and knowledge of the breadth of SARE activities.  

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Minigrants
14 Travel Scholarships
5 Webinars / talks / presentations
1 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

3 Extension
4 Researchers
5 Nonprofit
3 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
13 Farmers/ranchers
7 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

1 Grant received that built upon this project
2 New working collaborations
2 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

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

southern SARE grant programs are shared with Arkansas extension agents, UA researchers, and list serves for the Arkansas Farmers Market Association, Arkansas SSAWG, and the NWA Farmers Market Alliance.  SARE materials and publications are incorporated into trainings where subject matter is applicable.  Extension agents are given the opportunity to receive SARE books for their office.  

The Arkansas SARE Exhibits is often displayed at various conferences, meetings, field days and workshops. This exhibit highlights SARE sustainable agriculture practices and producers who may be implementing such practices. 

100 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
50 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.