2020 Model State Program- Florida A&M University

Progress report for SFL20-002

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $11,111.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2022
Grant Recipient: Florida A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Florida
State Coordinators:
Dr. Cassel Gardner
Florida A&M University
Co-Coordinators:
Dr. Marilyn Swisher
University of Florida
Expand All

Project Information

Abstract:

Florida activities for 2020-2021 will build upon the basic framework for the model state program. Planned activities include integrating results of SARE funded research and Extension activities, and other relevant research, and using this information as resources for educational programs. We also plan to continue to strengthen our focus on targeted training for state and county Extension faculty, representatives of non-profit organizations, representatives of state and federal government agencies, and farmer representatives. To fulfill the priorities and objectives of our program, our training funds will be used to address programs in one subject matter area:
(1) advancing Extension capacity in sustainable agriculture.

Project Objectives:
  1. Maintain existing and establish new collaborative Extension trainings and programs with faculty members and county agents at University of Florida and Florida A&M University whose work addresses sustainability in production agriculture.
  2. Extend collaboration with organizations that are active in the post-production components of food systems, particularly non-profit, state, and governmental organizations whose work fosters development of food and agriculture businesses.
  3. Support the development of Extension programs in food systems, including Regional Specialized Agents whose work includes both on-farm production and post-farm gate aspects of food system development.
  4. Expand participation of minority, women, and limited resource farmers and professionals in SARE activities and programs, ensuring that these groups are well represented in the full range of SARE-funded professional development opportunities.

Florida SARE Expected Outcomes:

  1. County faculty members will participate in regional and national training programs in sustainable agriculture and will apply the lessons learned in their own programs.
  2. At least two of the statewide Extension priority teams will include information and resources about sustainable agriculture and SARE in their professional development training programs and Extension programming.
  3. Extension agents and farmers will identify opportunities, such as SARE-funded Research & Education, Professional Development, and On-Farm Research projects, for the development of alternative crops and enterprises and will play key roles in outreach and research projects that focus on alternative crops and enterprises.
  4. Regional and local county agents will develop new collaborations with organizations, agencies, and groups working in sustainable agriculture, including non-profit and for-profit organizations involved in post-farm gate food processing, marketing and distribution, and policy development.
  5. State, regional, and county Extension faculty members and agents will make increased use of resources to support programming in sustainable agriculture, including fiscal resources such as Southern SARE grants.
Introduction:

The 2020-21 Florida SARE programming built upon our previous years’ work in two ways.

(1) We continued focusing on outreach and training that enhances the environmental and economic benefits of production agriculture.

(2) We continued hosting trainings that emphasize local and regional food systems to address issues and policies that impact our food system.

The new cycle differed in several ways. Due to our extensive outreach work over the years to increase consciousness of sustainable agriculture programming and resources, sustainable agriculture is now prominent in many Florida Extension programs.  The training needs of state and county faculty have changed and they are making additional demands on our SARE program.

(1) The need for SARE to provide training to county faculty in IRB requirements for human subjects research has declined somewhat because the IFAS Extension training staff has initiated a training program. We do anticipate some continued needs to train county agents and state extension specialists in the requirements when they will be working on integrated research and extension grants, particularly biological scientists who do not normally need to include IRB in their work.  Overall, however, our effort will decrease in this area.

(2) County, regional and state Extension personnel continue to press for more training in how to develop research and outreach proposals and how to assemble and train teams to implement their projects. We will continue to expand this training to include identification of potential funding sources (public and private).

(3) County faculty want more access to cutting edge research in sustainable ag to reduce the time between research and adoption. We are accommodating this need by involving county faculty in field assessments of various research projects. Through this venue, county faculty have a voice in the development of research projects and in the data generation process.

(4) We will expand our training program that integrates grower and technical advisor input into ecological and biological research to enhance research outcomes.

(5) One of the most useful roles we play for IFAS faculty members is to gather preliminary data regarding grower needs, barriers and priorities. We will develop protocols for this kind of data collection and continue to work with faculty members to facilitate the data collection. These data are often critical to the development of good grant proposals.

(6) We will continue to offer training about how to strengthen the outreach and evaluation components of extension projects and incorporate more on-farm trials into their work. 

(7) Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all training activities are being held virtually, when possible.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand

Education

Educational approach:

Our educational approach used in this project provides:

  1. Training scholarships for faculty, staff, and the State Co-Coordinator to attend virtual trainings.

The target audience for these events consisted of county Extension agents, industry collaborators, research scientists, private sector technical advisers, small scale crop producers, pasture and hay producers, organic growers, home gardeners, agriculture teachers, students and citizens.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Advancing Extension Capacity in Sustainable Agriculture
Objective:

This initiative provides individualized training in specialized topics in sustainable agriculture. Cooperative extension faculty, food system NGOs, and mentor farmers can participate in trainings relevant to their programs that may not be a focus or an emphasis in the other Florida SARE initiatives. We allow cooperative extension faculty, food system NGO leaders, and mentor farmers to develop their own training objectives and propose venues that will provide the training they need. We also advertise training opportunities that may be of interest to Florida faculty, food system NGOs, and mentor farmers.

Description:

Advanced Individualized Training

The target audience consists of cooperative extension faculty, food system NGOs, and mentor farmers that host trainings or engage in peer-to-peer learning groups. Scholarships are available to support attendance to a professional development program where the participant will receive training in topics relevant to sustainable agriculture. Program objectives:

  1. Increase participation in trainings related to sustainable agriculture that are associated with the SSARE Program.
  2. Increase participation in relevant national and regional trainings offered by other programs and organizations.
  3. Enhance the ability of the participant to develop and deliver local programming relevant to the goals of the Florida SARE program.
  4. Expand the current extension responsibilities of cooperative extension faculty participants to include programming related to sustainable agriculture and food systems.
Outcomes and impacts:

Advanced Individualized Training

We will provide training scholarships for participants to complete virtual training workshops and virtual conferences that support sustainable agriculture. Upon completion of the event, scholarship recipients are required to send a report to us about the event, what they learned, and how they are currently using or plan to use what they learned in their sustainable agriculture programming.

Educational & Outreach Activities

91 Consultations
20 Published press articles, newsletters
2 Webinars / talks / presentations

Participation Summary

167 Extension
6 NRCS
87 Researchers
56 Nonprofit
25 Agency
41 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
211 Farmers/ranchers
96 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

4 New working collaborations
34 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
Additional Outcomes:

We held our 2020 Florida SARE Advisory Council meeting on 1/29/2020.  Our next scheduled meeting is 5/17/2021.  Training activities are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions for in-person events.  Virtual trainings are being developed where possible and in-person events will resume in 2021.

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

We distribute SARE educational materials at all of our SARE trainings and other relevant programs in Florida. SARE materials are distributed to the public by state and county faculty that participate in our programs. We also distribute SARE books and educational materials to our advisory council and scholarship recipients.

361 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
313 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.