2020 Model State Program- University of Arkansas- Pine Bluff

Progress report for SAR20-002

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $11,111.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2022
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 UAPB SARE Program will provide sustainable agriculture training to UAPB Extension associates, program aides, mentor farmers, and CBOs. The UAPB Staff is located in eastern and southwest Arkansas therefore farmers in these areas will received training from the UAPB Staff. Training emphasis will be on improving soil health for row crops, vegetable crops, and pastures. Trainees in eastern Arkansas will work primarily with row crops and vegetable crops, while trainees in southwest Arkansas will work primarily with pastures and vegetable crops.

UAPB will partners with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide the trainees with information on NRCS conservation programs. These programs provide financial assistance to help producers install cover crops and other sustainable agriculture practices on their farms and ranches. Trainees will provide this information to participants along with information on different cover crops that are recommended by the Cooperative Extension Service. In addition, trainees will use soil compaction testers to help participants understand the need to break plow pans with cover crops.

Trainees will be educated on the benefit of rotational grazing for livestock producers. The trainees will also provide this information to livestock producers to help them improve their soils and their operation.

Project Objectives:

The objectives of this project are:

To teach and train the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB) Extension associates, program aides, mentor farmers, and community-based organization (CBO) agents, on sustainable agriculture practices with an emphasis on improving soil health for row and vegetable crop producers.

To teach and train UAPB Extension associates, program aides, mentor farmers, and CBO agents, on sustainable agriculture practices with an emphasis on practicing rotational grazing to improve soil health.

Advisors

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

Education

Educational approach:

Due to the ongoing COVID19 Pandemic that occurred during this period, most of the educational information was provided through zoom meetings. The educational field days that we normally attended were canceled, however, some were conducted virtually. There was, however, a limited number of face-to-face visits that were conducted with social distancing and face masks.

 

Extension associates, program aides, and mentor farmers participated in several zoom meetings to obtain education and training on sustainable agriculture.  Some of the zoom meetings were: (1) Soil and Water Conservation Field Trip – Soil Health, (2) Building Soil Heath in Arkansas, (3) Wildlife Discovery Farm Virtual Field Tour, (4) Pipe Planner Webinars (computer irrigation program that provides hole sizes for polypipe tubing), (5) Pivot Bio Virtual Field Day, and (6) LSU AgCenter 2020 Sweet Potato Research Station Virtual Field Day.

 

The UAPB Staff received education on the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and its many conservation Practices. All producers received funding as incentives for installing these conservation practices, and Socially Disadvantaged Producers (SDP) received a payment of 90% of the average cost of the practice. Consequently, SDPs are informed about this payment especially about cover crops, residue management, no-till, prescribed grazing (rotational grazing), etc.

 

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Soil Health
Objective:

To train UAPB Extension Staff and Mentor Farmers on sustainable agriculture practices with emphasis on improving soil health for row and vegetable crop SDPs.

Description:

The UAPB Staff received education from the many zoom meeting that included NRCS education on conservation practices used to build soil health and the zoom educational conservation field days. This information was shared or discussed with SDPs who were planning for their 2021 spring crops. The advantages and benefits from cover crops, n0-till, or residue management, etc. were discussed with SDPs. All were advised to consider signing up for the EQIP Program which provided incentive payments for installing conservation practices. 

The UAPB staff also discussed the selection of cover crops and advised SDPs to use the Cooperative Extension Service Cover Crop Fact Sheet to help in selecting their specific cover crop.  Planting times, moisture needed for planting, where to buy seeds, and different ways (airplane, spreaders, planters, etc.) of planting were discussed. The staff also discussed terminating cover crops and planting into the residue of cover crops and planters or adjustments for planting into residue. A big concern with SDPs is obtaining a no-till planter or making adjustments to planters for no-till planting.  

Educational & Outreach Activities

10 Consultations
4 On-farm demonstrations
8 Online trainings
2 Published press articles, newsletters

Participation Summary:

4 Extension
8 NRCS
3 Researchers
2 Nonprofit
2 Agency
2 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
100 Farmers/ranchers
30 Others

Learning Outcomes

50 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
6 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
100 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

The project staff is working with two additional community based organizations that targets SDPs. 

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

The SARE Program is promoted through our “Farm Sense” Quarterly Newsletter and our School of Agricultures Fisheries, and Human Sciences Facebook Web Page.  It is also promoted through news articles that are placed in local newspapers. 

20 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
40 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.