Progress report for SKY19-001
Dr. Paul Vincelli is the UK State Coordinator and Brett Wolff as the Kentucky Program Assistant. In addition to his leadership of the program, Dr. Vincelli has brought expertise in the areas of climate change, cover crops, and GMO technology. Brett continues to act as a networker for the program, identifying new opportunities for collaboration and new venues to share SSARE resources. In our proposed programming this year, we have decided to focus on a topic we have not previously covered in our SARE programming: farm transition. We also plan to work with one of the most impactful non-profit organizations in our state, the Kentucky Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (KCARD) to promote the SARE program, resources, and grant programs. While the bulk of programming costs associated with the Third Thursday Thing are included in the Kentucky State University proposal, we do provide support to their monthly workshops and have included travel support here. Finally, Dr. Vincelli is regularly asked to present on sustainability-related topics across the state including agent and ag professional trainings. As always, we plan to continue promoting the SARE website, grant programs, and other resources throughout the year.
– Expand programming to include “quality of life” principles of Sustainable Agriculture through discussions of farm transition.
– Build capacity for these kinds of conversations by training-the-trainer and then supporting trainees in hosting their own local follow-up meetings.
– We will also continue expanding our visibility and relationships with NGOs through the KCARD Grant Workshops
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Our approach with the University of Kentucky portion of MSP funds continues to provide support for existing initiatives or to convene groups of people with common interests in the hopes of spurring action. The educational approaches of the programs we support are quite diverse, but we are guided by the principle of focusing on trainees who can then go forth to impact additional members of the community.
This project’s initiatives include a blend of direct train-the-trainer by SSARE personnel, direct training provided by SARE personnel, providing funding in support of travel to professional development opportunities, and general promotion of the SARE program, materials, and general mission.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
For Extension agents to be able to produce their own simple informational videos based on topics most relevant to their clientele
In spring of 2019, Brett Wolff was approached by two extension agents interested in developing the skills to produce their own simple videos. Brett has developed these skills himself over the last few years. The core group of two agents first worked intensely directly with Brett to learn the video editing and podcast development process themselves over the course of 3 months and around 6 intensive sessions in late summer 2019. Then the team identified internal professional development funds from UK, the three led a two-day training of 12 extension agents on the basics of video and podcast production in fall 2019. The two agents who started with no knowledge of video production have now become leaders in extension in this area, training others across the state.
Macy Fawns (left) was one of the two agent team leaders. Here she gives other agents some tips on setting up a shot.
Most of the agents involved in this program have produced video content of their own throughout 2019, 2020, and into 2021 and these skills were particularly important through the COVID-19 pandemic. This has allowed for more thorough engagement with their communities and for better proliferation of sustainability practices and science-based best practices. Below are a few examples of their self-produced videos:
These agents have creatively engaged their community members and farmers, other agents, and campus specialists to create practical content that has been very popular.
To make attendance at the inaugural Southeastern Grain Gathering affordable to ag professionals and producers.
The Southeastern Grain Gathering was funded in part from a SSARE Research and Education grant. Given the local sourcing of the products and some of the logistical considerations, the cost of this conference was out of reach for several of the producer leaders and ag outreach professionals that most needed to attend. The MSP provided scholarships for these attendees.
Conference Webpage: https://localgrains.ca.uky.edu/segg
Participants from across the Southeast gained knowledge about the various applications and potential opportunities for small and specialty grains. Even more importantly, participants established networks of participation that have lasted beyond the Grain Gathering itself. There is a pilot “Neighbor Loaves” project now in Lexington, Kentucky and the last year has seen considerable additional interest in Kentucky-grown rye for the distilling industry.
To continue to foster communication around Food Safety issues throughout the Kentucky.
Brett Wolff has provided video production support, survey development support, and in-person communication support to food safety changes both in state-level policy and in rollout of the Food Safety Modernization act. His role in this coordination work began with SARE MSP efforts in 2016 and continue today.
We continue to offer the FSMA questionnaire allowing producers to assess how they will be affected by FSMA. There are several FSMA videos forthcoming though they were initially delayed by changes from FDA.
To enhance the visibility of SSARE resources and Grant Programs thoughout Kentucky.
Throughout the year we have travelled across the state to dozens of events in collaboration with Grow Appalachia, the Kentucky Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and Community Farm Alliance among other governmental and NGO partners to promote the programs and materials that SSARE has to offer.
Participants expanded their understanding of SSARE grant programs and received publications, books, and flashdrives of SSARE materials to take home.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Face of SARE
Kentucky’s SARE PDP program objective is to build a broad base of interest and skills in agricultural sustainability among extension agents and other professionals in the state, equip them with the needed skills to assist farmers, marketers, and community leaders, and to facilitate a diverse range of collaborative projects. The way that we manage our programs has led to strong partnerships with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, NRCS, FSA, Community Farm Alliance, Kentucky Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, the Cooperative Extension Service, Grow Appalachia, as well as grower groups across the state
Our Program Assistant continues to serve as one of the primary faces of the KYSARE program. He networks extensively across the state and beyond to identify new partners and new ideas for amplifying our financial investment. The core job of KY SARE’s Program Assistant is coordinating all of the SARE-promoted trainings and programs. This includes working with the content providers (faculty, private sector, government, NGO) and SARE leadership to develop effective programs. He provides logistical support (finding meeting space, arranging travel, access to materials) and assisting program evaluation.
The Program Assistant also manages the SARE grant funds, helping with budgets, arranging for reimbursement and overall management. Because sustainable agriculture programs in Kentucky extend much beyond the SARE-supported programs, the program assistant actively participates in other activities. This includes attending extension and grower events where he simultaneously represents KYSARE and the UK Center for Crop Diversification, allowing him to provide SARE resources anywhere they might be helpful and relevant. His engagement and connections markedly enhance the visibility of the SARE Program. He is actively involved in Kentucky State University’s “Third Thursday Thing”—monthly sustainable ag field days covering a wide range of topics. The current Program Assistant has strong networking and leadership skills that help us build productive partnerships with Farm Services Agency, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and numerous NGOs. The program assistant also oversees reporting and proposal development.