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: 06/30/2022
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

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  • 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 12 agriculture extension personnel. Recipients were able to attend the North Carolina Muscadine Growers Association Virtual Muscadine Conference, Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association Convention, Southeast Fruit and Vegetable Conference, and the North and Mid-American Strawberry Growers Association Conferences.

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 was developed into a seven-part webinar series held over the course of the year and led by Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station-Fruit Research Station Director Dr. Jackie Lee. The webinar series covered topics that included: fertility, pest and weed control, insect pests, updates on current research and local teaching farm, nutrient sampling, irrigation management, orchard establishment and renovation, varieties, marketing, orchard preparation, and harvesting.

Outcomes and impacts:

The small ruminant webinars had a total of 81 attendees throughout the series. Participants of the small ruminant webinar series stated that the training improved their ability to answer small ruminant production questions and their likelihood of recommending sustainable management of small ruminant livestock. Presentations from the webinars were recorded and posted to the AR SARE YouTube channel where the 3 videos have accumulated a total of 267 views.

The pecan webinar series had a total of 37 attendees throughout the series. Participants of the pecan webinar series stated an improvement in their understanding of pecan production and improved the likelihood of participants using or sharing the information learned from the series. Participants also stated that the webinar series impacted their ability to answer questions about sustainable pecan production practices. Presentations from the webinars were recorded and posted online to a designated page (https://www.uaex.uada.edu/farm-ranch/crops-commercial-horticulture/horticulture/commercial-fruit-production/pecan-school.aspx) that also housed additional resources provided throughout the series. The page has received a total of 323 visits. Recordings from these webinars were also posted to the AR SARE YouTube channel where the 11 videos have accumulated a total of 1.1K views.

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

Educational & Outreach Activities

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

Participation Summary:

94 Extension
3 Researchers
21 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

94 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
21 Farmers reached through participant's programs

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.

 

A new AR SARE blog page was developed, the goal of which is to share SARE resources, highlight SARE project results, and inform people of workshops and information related to sustainable agriculture. A total of 13 blogs were posted to the AR SARE Blog page. Topics of posts included SSARE grant deadlines, information on AR SARE trainings, and upcoming sustainable agriculture events. The blog posts have accumulated a total of 279 page visits.

Link to AR SARE Blog Page: https://www.uaex.uada.edu/farm-ranch/crops-commercial-horticulture/horticulture/ar-southern-SARE-blog/

 

 

21 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
133 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.