The UAPB Project was about helping Socially Disadvantaged Producers (SDPs) increase income on their operations by providing them with information on the economic of vegetable production along with education on sustainable vegetable production. Consequently, SDPs were provided with education on sustainable vegetable production practices in fields and high tunnels. Vegetable education is very limited in eastern Arkansas (this is row crop country, the average farms size can be 1000 acres), therefore, the staff had to attend vegetable meetings in other areas.
As a result of information gained from attending sustainable vegetable production workshops, the UAPB Extension Staff conducted three sustainable agriculture vegetable production workshops for producers. Two of the workshops were conducted in row crop areas to provide small row crop producers (those with less than 300 acres) with profitable alternatives. The staff also sponsored two high tunnel workshops and two food safety workshops.
The objectives are:
To train the UAPB extension associates and staff on sustainable agriculture practices with an emphasis on vegetables production by attending workshops that provides sustainable agriculture education.
To help Limited Resource Farmers (LRFs) and SDPs with limited acres or row crop SDPs use sustainable vegetable production practices to grow vegetable crops to increase income on their small farms.
The educational approaches used in this project consisted of attending educational workshops, field days, sustainable conferences, and one-on-one demonstrations and consultations.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
To educate Small and Socially disadvantaged Producers (SSDPs) on the use of high tunnels to increase income on small farms by conducting workshops and demonstrating production practices in high tunnels
Two high tunnel workshops were conducted. The workshops were conducted in eastern Arkansas or Forrest City, and in southeast Arkansas or Pine Bluff. Both workshops consisted of an outdoor and indoor session. The outdoor session was designed to demonstrate the use of different production practices (the use of black plastic mulch, drip tape, hay mulch, raising side and end walls, etc.).
The indoor session provided a presentation on an overview on the use of high tunnels that included types of high tunnels, selecting suitable sites, controlling high temperatures, using low tunnels and other methods to prevent freezing, pollination, weed control, insect control, disease control, etc.). A second presentation was made on enterprise budgets which included the projected income and expenses associated with growing certain crop. Another presentation was made on marketing or the importance of finding a market before planting and the use of the five Ps: (Price, Place, People, Promotion, and Product).
The final presentation at the workshop consisted of a presentation by the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) on their High Tunnel Initiative and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funds that were available to assist producers in purchasing and installing high tunnels.
During the luncheon a series of YouTube videos on high tunnels were shown to the producers.
60 producers gained knowledge on the economics of different vegetables in the high tunnel.
60 Producers gained knowledge on different production practices to use in high tunnels.
60 Producers gained knowledge on the use of the NRCS’s EQIP Program.
5 Producers signed-up to received EQIP funds to help install high tunnels.
5 producers began to look for markets for their proposed high tunnel crops.
To educate small and Socially Disadvantaged Producers (SSDPs) on the use of vegetable crops to increase income on small row crop (soybeans, corn, wheat, etc.) farms.
Four vegetable workshops were conducted to provide interested individuals with information on raising vegetables. Three workshops were planned and one workshop was requested by the city of Pine Bluff. The city of Pine Bluff requested a workshop for their Urban Garden Initiative.
The workshops generally consisted of presentations on vegetable insects, diseases, and weeds by Extension Specialists from the University of Arkansas, and a Professor of Weed Science. Also, presentations are made on the production of a few selected vegetable crops by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Extension Specialists. In some workshops, a marketing presentation was provided to emphasize the importance of identifying markets before growing.
Most of the information used by the UAPB Specialists was obtained from attending the SARE-funded workshops. Vegetable information is very limited in the row crop area of eastern Arkansas. Consequently, most of the vegetable information is obtained from attending out of state workshops.
Gained knowledge on the different pests that attack vegetable crops and the different methods used to control the pest.
Gained knowledge on testing for compaction and the different methods used to break up compacted layers.
Gained knowledge on the use of cover crops (with NRCS funding) to break-up compacted layer.
10 individuals grew vegetable crops to increase the income on their operations.
5 individuals adopted the methods discussed in the workshops to control pests in their vegetable operation.
Educational & Outreach Activities
The Extension associates had planned to use soil compaction tester to help producers identify compaction layers and to make plans for breaking the layer with cover crops. However, constant rains prevented the extension associates from using the compaction testers.
Face of SARE
The SARE Program is promoted through our communications department. The communication departments publish news articles about the SARE Program and placed them on the School of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Human Science Facebook Page. The news articles are also placed in in local news papers in the targeted area and in the Small Farm Newsletter that is provided to approximately 500 socially Disadvantaged Producers (SDPs).