SAR17-002 Model State Program

Progress report for SAR17-002

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $11,111.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2018
Grant Recipient: University of Arkansas- Pine Bluff
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
State Coordinator:
Dr. Henry English
University of Arkansas- Pine Bluff
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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. 

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Travel Scholarships to Sustainable Agriculture conferences or 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:

Travel scholarships were provided to 16 agriculture professionals. Recipients attended the Produce Safety Alliance Train-the-Trainer workshop, Cover Crops and Soil Health Harvesting the Potential conference, the Southern Agriculture Soil Health and Water Management Training Conference, a Farm to School conference, 2018 SSAWG conference, a high tunnel workshop, the SARE 30th anniversary conference and a Wildlife Habitat Restoration for Private Lands PDP training. 

Outcomes and impacts:

Producer’s awareness of SARE programs are increasing and so is their focus on local food systems.  After attending educational workshops sponsored by SARE, agents distributed resources to two families. The information (about providing fresh produce and flowers to schools, local institutions and their community) was used for developing marketing and farm plans, as well as, for networking with community leaders. 

One family (Roderick Greene) has secured a local restaurant and is working to establish other markets including a farmers market, area schools and one local hospital. Mr. Greene is waiting to hear from the UALR Bowen Law Clinic for assistance in obtaining legal assistance in a business structure for his farm operation and local farmers market.  Mr. Greene applied for his USDA SNAP permit, while attending a one day sign up event at the Cooperative Extension Service in Little Rock on March 27.

UAPB staff provided information and guidance to vegetable growers on food safety. Approximately 30 socially disadvantaged producers were provided with information on food safety and encouraged to obtain food safety plans. Two individuals obtain GAP Audits for their operations.

The information from the soils and cover crop and water management meetings was shared with the staff and farmers. Farmers were informed about the benefits of cover crops, along with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) payments which were provided to encourage farmers to use cover crops. Approximately 25 socially disadvantaged farmers (SDFs) were informed about cover crops and 2 row crop farmers planted cover crops while about 5 vegetable farmers planted covered crops.

Educational & Outreach Activities

16 Travel Scholarships

Participation Summary:

13 Extension
3 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

2 New working collaborations
4 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
6 Farmers reached through participant's programs

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

SARE publications and resources are shared with participants in UAPB sponsored meetings/workshop. 

20 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.