2020 Model State Program- University of Arkansas

Progress report for SAR20-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $11,111.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2021
Grant Recipient: University of Arkansas
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
State Coordinator:
Dr. Amanda McWhirt
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Arkansas 2020-2021 SARE PDP Model State Program will focus on increasing knowledge and developing skills for pecan production, small ruminant livestock production, and soil health. The developed trainings and events will be made available to Cooperative Extension staff, UA and UAPB faculty, staff and students, USDA staff, farmers’ market managers, other agriculture professionals, and farmer leaders. Proposed activities include a workshop for pecan production, two webinars on best practices for small ruminants, speakers on cover crops and soil health, and travel scholarships for agriculture leaders to attend the SSAWG and Horticulture Industries Show annual conferences. Participants in these programs will be assessed for changes in knowledge, confidence, and ability to share new information. As a result of these opportunities, the knowledge, interest, and application of sustainable practices for Arkansas farmers and agriculture professionals will continue to expand in Arkansas, leading to thriving farms and vibrant communities.

Project Objectives:

The objectives of this AR-SARE Model State project are:

1) To increase the knowledge, awareness and resources for sustainable agriculture issues related to pecan production, small ruminant livestock and soil health, among extension agents, farmers market managers, farmer mentors and other agriculture leaders in Arkansas.

2) To increase the confidence of extension agents, farmers market managers, farmer mentors and other Arkansas agricultural leaders in extending sustainable agriculture information and practices related to pecan production, small ruminant livestock and soil health.

3) To increase the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices among farmers in Arkansas.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Aaron Cato (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Henry English (Educator and Researcher)
  • Heather Friedrich (Educator)
  • Dr. Mildred Griggs (Educator)
  • Margo Hale (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Chelsey Kimbrough (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Amanda McWhirt (Educator and Researcher)
  • James Morgan (Educator and Researcher)
  • Ryan Neal (Educator)
  • Dr. Obadiah Njue (Educator)
  • Dr. Sixte Ntamatungiro (Educator)
  • Stephan Walker (Educator)
  • Elizabeth Young (Educator)

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 4 agriculture extension personnel to the Virtual Muscadine Conference hosted by the North Carolina Muscadine Grape Association.

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.

Workshops
Objective:

To increase the knowledge, confidence, awareness, and resources for sustainable agriculture issues related to pecan production, small ruminant livestock, and soil health, among extension agents, farmers market managers, farmer mentors and other agriculture leaders in Arkansas.

Description:

A three-part webinar series on small ruminant livestock was held for University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture county agents and led by small ruminant extension specialist Dr. Chelsea Kimbrough. The webinar series covered topics that included information and resources on the health, parasite identification and management, and nutrition of small ruminant livestock. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the pecan production workshop has been developed into a seven-part webinar series that is scheduled to begin in May until November of 2021.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants of the small ruminant webinar series stated that the training improved their ability to answer questions about small ruminant production and their likelihood to recommend sustainable management of small ruminant livestock. Webinars were recorded and uploaded to the new Arkansas SARE YouTube channel, accumulating a total of 26 views thus far. 

Link to Arkansas SARE YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHgPyz3IvlvfNjpCqn_MBKg

 

This report will be updated in November to reflect the participation and evaluation for the upcoming pecan webinar series.

Educational & Outreach Activities

4 Online trainings
4 Travel Scholarships
4 Webinars / talks / presentations

Participation Summary

81 Extension

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

81 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 and the NWA Farmers Market Alliance. SARE materials and publications are incorporated into trainings where the subject matter is applicable.

Extension agents are given the opportunity to receive SARE books for their office.

The AR SARE team participated in the Arkansas NRCS Virtual Pasture Training series sharing information on SARE funding opportunities for districts and other non-federal organizations to a variety of groups such as NRCS and county extension agents, conservation districts, and NGO representatives.

Four virtual SARE visits were led by SARE administrators and Arkansas SARE PDP program leaders to share updates on current programs and grants as well as be available to answer questions. Each virtual visit was structured depending on the audience, which composed of the following groups: administrators, faculty and staff, county agents, and NGOs. The goal of these virtual visits was for these groups to be more aware of Southern SARE programs and grant opportunities as well as provide the opportunity to give feedback and ask questions of Southern SARE program leaders.

  • 13 administrators received information about SARE grant programs and information resources.
  • 21 extension agents received information about SARE grant programs and information resources. 
  • 56 university faculty and staff received information about SARE grant programs and information resources.
  • 18 non-profit ag organizations received information about SARE grant programs and information resources.
39 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.