SLA18-001

Final report for SLA18-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $44,444.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2020
Grant Recipient: Louisiana State University
Region: Southern
State: Louisiana
State Coordinator:
Dr. Carl Motsenbocker
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Louisiana State University AgCenter (LSUAC) in collaboration with the Southern University Agricultural Research & Extension Center (SUAREC) will implement programs that enhance the capabilities of Louisiana’s agricultural professionals in the area of sustainable agriculture.  Themes for 2018 - 2019 include: small ruminant production and forage crops, fall farming and focus on nethouses/high tunnels, Veggie Compass farm profitability workshop, sustainable farm workshop and farm tour and the Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) annual meeting.  Louisiana State University AgCenter and Southern University Agricultural Center extension personnel will be strongly encouraged to attend the training sessions. Information delivery systems to be utilized include workshops and long-distance education training sessions, field trips, resource manuals and informational bulletins.  The Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board will meet twice annually for programmatic planning and evaluation.  The Program Assistant (half-time), funded by this project, will be responsible for maintaining the state SARE website (http://www.southernsare.org/SARE-in-Your-State/Louisiana) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaSARE/).  The other duties for this position include assisting in coordination of the state workshops and field days, the SSAWG scholarships and arrangements, the sustainable agriculture materials generated by the project, promotion of SARE resources and grant opportunities, and development of on-line and hard copy sustainable agriculture resources.

Project Objectives:

The overall objectives of the Louisiana Model State Plan (MSP) are:

  • Maintain the state SARE website with sustainable agriculture materials and resources, and links to related state organizations.
  • Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
  • Conduct bi-annual state advisory board meetings with the purpose of revising and modifying the strategic plan.
  • Identify annual training objectives with the input from the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board.
  • Encourage extension and agricultural professionals to continue to attend sustainable agriculture meetings such as the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting.
  • Continue participation in workshops, meetings, and field days that highlight sustainable agriculture practices.
  • Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana.

 

The MSP for Louisiana will allow for enhanced programming effort beyond the state plans of work for the separate institutions (Southern University Agricultural Research & Education Center, LSU AgCenter).  The MSP has allowed for the increased number of training sessions per year.  The MSP has allowed the Louisiana SARE PDP program to have greater resources available for training activities, using the Southern SARE Louisiana webpage for sustainable agriculture resources, as well as increased coordination and networking.  The hiring of a program assistant through the SARE PDP allowed for a unified sustainable agriculture programming effort for the state.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • William Afton (Educator)
  • Dr. Grace Peterson (Educator)
  • Emily King (Educator)
  • Allison Guidroz
  • Lee Weeks
  • Emily Mickley-Doyle
  • John Dean
  • Lisa Gray
  • Angelina Harrison
  • Zack McMath
  • Chris Coreil
  • Jeremy Hendrix
  • Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin (Educator)
  • Dr. Maria Bampasidou (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

The SARE PDP will emphasize an interdisciplinary and participatory approach to training. Training will range from beginner to intermediate and be provided in a classroom environment followed by hands-on experiences and demonstrations such as field days and on-farm tours to fortify training subject matter in a variety of ways. Handouts will be provided for attendees to follow along during the training, in order to take notes, and to review after the workshop is over. Subjects for trainings include whole farm profitability, financial management, organic growing, and urban farming with a focus on soil health, marketing, and local food systems. The primary audiences for the trainings are 1862 and 1890 extension agents, NRCS conservation field staff, and other agriculture professionals and mentor farmers. Agriculture professionals and those who train farmers and serve small-scale, minority, and limited resource farmers as well as those who serve larger-scale conventional farms will be encouraged to attend. Educational program participants will increase their competency and skills in areas related to sustainable agriculture. Participants will have increased confidence and knowledge that will enable them to respond to client inquiries with knowledge and authority regarding sustainable agriculture principles and practices.  

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Sustainable Agriculture Promotion and Outreach
Objective:

• Maintain the state SARE website with sustainable agriculture materials and resources, and links to related state organizations.
• Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana.
• Encourage extension and agricultural professionals to continue to attend sustainable agriculture meetings such as the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting.

Description:

In the program year, the Louisiana SARE program utilized the Southern SARE- SARE in Your State Louisiana webpage, the Louisiana SARE Facebook webpage, the Louisiana SARE Listserv through Mailchimp, and direct emails to extension professionals to share and promote sustainable agriculture activities in the state and region.  Those who visited either website or received emails would find helpful resources for sustainable production, grant opportunities, and professional development events in the form of posts, links, flyers, and calendars.

The Louisiana SARE Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaSARE/) shares information frequently (2-3x per week) regarding local food systems, sustainable practices, grant funding, sustainable farmer gatherings, state and regional conferences, and interesting articles concerning the various facets of sustainable agriculture.

The Louisiana SARE Listserv is emailed through Mailchimp about 1x per month to send newsletters containing information for several events, grant opportunities, and sustainable agriculture news as well as advertising and promoting individual events to aid in increasing awareness and attendance of these events.

The Southern SARE- SARE in Your State Louisiana webpage contains the vital information on grant opportunities, grant results, SARE and SARE-related events, and important resources for sustainable producers in Louisiana and the Southern Region.

Extension professionals are emailed directly and through regional extension contacts to share information regarding sustainable agriculture events, grant opportunities, and meetings- such as the SSAWG annual meeting.

Outcomes and impacts:

Louisiana SARE Facebook followers grew from 386 on May 1, 2018 to 481 on April 30, 2019 and are composed of an estimated 65% women, 34% men from ages 18 to over 65.  The highest concentration of followers are 35-44 years old, followed by followers aged 25-34 and then those 45-54.  In the program year, 204 posts were shared with followers reaching up to 1000 people at times.  Through sharing sustainable agriculture conference information and professional development opportunities, Louisiana SARE was able to boost awareness of several events in and around the state, including Back to Your Roots, Louisiana SAWG, the Southern SAWG Annual Meeting, and several Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings.  The Louisiana SARE Facebook page also presented opportunities for individual growth in sustainable agriculture through sharing third-party webinars, toolkits, growing tips, inspirational sustainable news, and information on engaging in your local food systems.

Louisiana SARE FB Growth 
This document shows data from the Louisiana SARE Facebook page in the form of charts to illustrate the growth of followers and reach.  There is also an estimation of the demographic that follows the Louisiana SARE Facebook page including gender and location.

Louisiana SARE FB Posts
This document lists all posts during the program year including the date, type (status, link, video, photo, etc), reach, and engagement (likes and shares).

 

The Louisiana SARE Listserv audience through Mailchimp has grown from 244 in May 2018 to 281 in April 2019.  The listserv received 12 unique emails in the program year, not including corrections or social posts through Mailchimp.  Sending messages through Mailchimp allowed the Louisiana SARE listserv network to view and forward information concerning grant opportunities, sustainable agriculture meetings, and professional development events to additional networks in an easy to access email.  Mailchimp was an effective way to share information with followers on the listserv and to send details straight to an inbox instead of posting online for sustainable agriculture practitioners to find.

Louisiana SARE Reports _ Mailchimp
This document shows the title, date, reach, and activity on all emails sent to the listserv via Mailchimp during the program year.

LA SARE Mailchimp Subscribers 05.31.19
This document contains the emails and opt-in dates of the Louisiana SARE Listserv subscribers.

 

The Southern SARE- SARE in Your State Louisiana webpage was kept up to date on upcoming events utilizing the Southern SARE calendar feature.  As the website has been undergoing design renovations, this feature became unavailable.  Sustainable Agriculture events were featured on the website under Research and Education News to compensate for the lack of calendar feature.  Grant information contains the ongoing graduate student projects in Louisiana along with information on grant opportunities, the Louisiana Competetive Grant Portfolio Summary, and the Competitive Grants List.

 

Agriculture and Natural Resource county agents, other regional and parish extension agents, and state extension specialists were contacted via email regarding sustainable agriculture opportunities in the state and southern region.  Extension professionals were invited to participate in the several events hosted by Louisiana SARE in the program year, as well as bring mentor farmers from their parishes and share the event information with their audiences.  To encourage sustainable agriculture promotion among extension, Louisiana SARE provided support in the form of travel awards to allow extension professionals to attend sustainable agriculture-focused conferences.  Any extension agents who applied to Louisiana SARE for scholarships to attend the Southern SAWG annual meeting were accepted; registration, lodging, travel, and per diem were covered under the PDP funds.  In the program year, there was increased participation and support from the extension agents around the state at Louisiana SARE-coordinated events.  The strengthened partnerships have helped to propel our activities further by providing support in the form of promotion, planning, and logistics for Louisiana SARE sustainable agriculture professional development events and meetings.

Sustainable Agriculture Professional Development
Objective:

• Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
• Continue participation in workshops, meetings, and field days that highlight sustainable agriculture practices.

Description:

For the 2018-2019 year, the priorities for trainings were designated as: farm profitability, sustainable farm workshop and tour, small ruminant production and forage crops, net / hoop houses, urban farming.

Outcomes and impacts:

May 17-19, 2018 - Back to Your Roots 2018 Conference - Natchitoches
BTYR-Poster BTYR Program Final
Louisiana SARE assisted in the promotion, organization, and logistical execution of the first Back to Your Roots master series conference.  This inaugural event was headlined by sustainable agriculture allstars Jean-Martin Fortier and Joel Salatin.  Over 80 farmers, extension agents, non-profit representatives, and other ag professionals were in attendance for the 3-day conference.

 

July 24-25, 2018 - Beginning/Advanced Organic Farming Workshop - St. Martinville, LA
Lafayette July Organic Farming Training Flyer
AGENDA Beginning/Advanced Organic Farmer Training 2018
Beginning Organic Survey Data
Adv Org Survey Data

Alex Hitt, co-owner of Peregrine Farm was the instructor for 2 days on beginning and advanced organic farming techniques.  On day 1, the beginning topics were: getting started, record keeping, weed control, and more.  For the first day 97 farmers, extension agents, and others attended.  On day 2, advanced topics selected from the day 1 surveys were covered and these included soil management, weed management, and crop rotations.  The second day 65 farmers, extension agents, and others were in attendance.  Surveys of the attendees indicated that all (100%) would recommend the training to their colleagues.  Knowledge across the 12 areas presented increased by 23% over the course of the first day.  Knowledge across the 9 areas presented increased 19% over the course of the second day.

Quotes from Day 1 (Beginning):  "The resources alone are worth the time / the opportunity to win valuable books was pretty fun too. And the breaks were at perfect times and completely necessary."  "Love this farmer. Brings a humble approach, full spectrum perspective, holistic management being the key to success!"  "Mr. Hitt is an excellent teacher. A lot of information presented very effectively. Learned a lot."  "What I like most was that the speaker broke down the farming process from the set-up to where the farm is today. The sustainability piece was very informative as well."

Quotes from Day 2 (Advanced):  "What I liked most is that the presenter is an actual farmer. He provided the group with real farm experiences and visual aids of what they produce and how the farm started to where it is currently."  "Vast amount of information sharing between attendees, speaker, ULL, LSUAg, SARE Resources!"

 

July 26 - LA SAWG Conference & Farm Tour - Alexandria, LA
07.26.18 Agenda LaSAWG
Louisiana SARE promoted the statewide sustainable agriculture network through encouraging attendance of the event, as well as presented on the Louisiana SARE PDP during a session about farm to school in Louisiana and its connection to sustainable agriculture.

 

December 10, 2018 - Farm Profitability Workshop - St. Martinville, LA
Farm Profitability Workshop Flyer
Farm Profitability Training Survey Summary
Ellen Polishuk of Plant to Profit presented on the Veggie Compass tool and educated attendees on farm budgets, break even points, crop planning, and labor.  For this one day training 33 extension agents, farmers, and others were in attendance.

 

January 23-26, 2019 - Southern SAWG Annual Meeting - Little Rock, AR
01.23.19 Survey Summary SSAWG
SSAWG Advertisement
Louisiana SARE provided travel scholarships to 8 extension agents, farmers, and NGO representatives to attend the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting, held in Little Rock, Arkansas in January 2019.  These travel scholarships covered the cost of lodging, registration, and travel, encouraging the expansion of sustainable agriculture among extension professionals and other affiliates who otherwise may not have been able to attend.  In total, travel assistance was provided to over 30 SSAWG  participants in the form of large vans reserved by LSU AgCenter and SUAREC.  Louisiana SARE coordinated the state networking meeting and used it as a time to educate the attendees on sustainable agriculture activities and opportunities within the state.

Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board
Objective:

• Conduct bi-annual state advisory board meetings with the purpose of revising and modifying the strategic plan.
• Identify annual training objectives with the input from the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board.

Description:

The Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board meets biannually and reviews the past year’s activities and strategic plan as well as the next year’s activities and plan.  The 2018-2019 strategic plan and cycle is proposed to focus on themes different than the previous year.  The successive years build upon the past workshops and trainings and the needs of the Louisiana SARE PDP stakeholders and feedback from the participants.  The board is composed of farmers, extension agents, and NGO and state agency representatives from across the state.

Outcomes and impacts:

Dec 4 Advisory Board Minutes

Due to date/event conflicts, only 1 of the biannual meetings was held with the Advisory Board during the program year.  The next Advisory Board meeting will take place in July 2019.  Louisiana SARE coordinators met with members of the Advisory Board outside of SARE meetings to discuss events, partnerships, and opportunities.  Several of the Advisory Board are partners with the Louisiana SARE coordinators through other projects.  In the meeting, new topics for professional development trainings were offered, related events and opportunities in the state were shared, and the role of the advisory board was defined and reiterated to the board.

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Journal articles
13 Published press articles, newsletters
2 Tours
10 Travel Scholarships
8 Webinars / talks / presentations
3 Workshop field days
3 Other educational activities: SARE books were distributed at several events

Participation Summary:

15 Extension
5 NRCS
5 Researchers
20 Nonprofit
7 Agency
80 Farmers/ranchers
100 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

5 New working collaborations
5 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
80 Farmers reached through participant's programs

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

The overall objectives of the Louisiana Model State Plan (MSP) are:

  • Maintain the state SARE website with sustainable agriculture materials and resources, and links to related state organizations.
  • Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
  • Conduct bi-annual state advisory board meetings with the purpose of revising and modifying the strategic plan.
  • Identify annual training objectives with the input from the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board.
  • Encourage extension and agricultural professionals to continue to attend sustainable agriculture meetings such as the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting.
  • Continue participation in workshops, meetings, and field days that highlight sustainable agriculture practices.
  • Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana.

The MSP for Louisiana will allow for enhanced programming effort beyond the state plans of work for the separate institutions (Southern University Agricultural Research & Education Center, LSU AgCenter).  The MSP has allowed for the increased number of training sessions per year.  The MSP has allowed the Louisiana SARE PDP program to have greater resources available for training activities, using the Southern SARE Louisiana webpage for sustainable agriculture resources, as well as increased coordination and networking.  The hiring of a program assistant through the SARE PDP allowed for a unified sustainable agriculture programming effort for the state.

https://www.lsuagcenter.com/profiles/lbenedict/articles/page1553613775395
Article in Louisiana Agriculture magazine about the Louisiana SARE PDP.

125 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
75 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.