Final report for SLA18-002

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $11,111.00
Projected End Date: 04/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center
Region: Southern
State: Louisiana
State Coordinator:
Mila Berhane
Southern University Agcenter
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Southern University Research and Extension Center (SUAREC) in collaboration with The Louisiana State University AgCenter (LSUAC) will implement programs that enhance the capabilities of Louisiana’s agricultural professionals in the area of sustainable agriculture.  Themes for 2018 – 2019 include: Urban Farming and non-traditional growing methods in Southwest Louisiana; Farm tour with emphasis in Small Farmers growing agronomic crops, in North Louisiana; Field day in St. Helena Parish targeting small vegetable farmers; a fall garden workshop in Baton Rouge and the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (LA SAWG) annual meeting, as well as regional sustainable agriculture related conferences and workshops.  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.  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 and 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

2018 Fall Garden Workshop
Objective:

• Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
• Encourage extension and agricultural professionals to continue to attend sustainable agriculture meetings such as the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting.
• Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana.

Description:

A Fall gardening workshop was conducted to train farmers, extension agents, teachers, and community garden leaders to address issues and to increase knowledge of fruit tree grafting, fermentation and wine making, backyard birds, and non- traditional vegetable production and marketing.

SU Fall Garden Workshop 2018.png

Outcomes and impacts:

November 20, 2018 Southern University AgCenter hosted the 2018 Fall Garden Workshop in Baton Rouge, LA. 89 participants were in attendance.

The training included topics such as wine making, fruit tree grafting, production and marketing.  The workshop also included a session on growing and marketing non-traditional vegetables, which discussed the types of vegetables that can be grown in each season.

The Fall Gardening Workshop was co-sponsored by the Southern University AgCenter, The Wisteria Alliance Program, and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program.

Here’s a link to the story on NBC Local 33’s website on the Fall Garden Workshop, https://bit.ly/2FMgWbF. The station also posted the flyer on their Facebook page with a link to the story on Nov. 20.

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Annual Conference
Objective:

• 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.

Description:

Travel to SSAWG conference and meeting with LA SAWG group in order to address issues related to sustainable agriculture in Louisiana.

Outcomes and impacts:

January 23-26, 2019 – At Southern University we were able to secure funds for 12 participants, and because of having a smaller group and budget, we decided to drive university vehicles, selected Ag professionals, and extension agents from Southern University and LSU as well as mentor farmers were able to travel to Chattanooga, TN.

9th Louisiana Small Farmers Conference
Objective:

• Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
• Encourage extension and agricultural professionals to continue to attend sustainable agriculture meetings such as the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting.
• Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana.
• Continue participation in workshops, meetings, and field days that highlight sustainable agriculture practices.

Description:

The conference was designed to provide expanded awareness of educational opportunities; U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and services; and other resources to help small farmers stay in business. The event was targeted at beginning farmers, small and urban farmers, agricultural business owners, community leaders, extension agents, Ag professionals, and community-based organizations.

Outcomes and impacts:

March 14-16, 2019 – The theme for this year was “Unlocking your Potential.”  120 participants were in attendance.

A Pre-conference workshop on Produce Safety Alliance was conducted on Wednesday , March 13, 2019.

Sessions were held on grant writing, Southern University Ag Center Certification Courses, soil health, small ruminant reproduction, Backyard chicken production, self- sufficient farming practices, and value added products.

Presentation on income taxes, branding and land and property rights

A full day was dedicated to a Pasture walk for best management practices in action. This event took place at a cattle operation ranch owned by Ricky Gutierrez and Lynette Felder.

Other events during the conference include the Louisiana Living Legends Banquet and the graduation ceremony for the 2016 Class of the Louisiana Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

Mr. Brennan Washington, Minority Farmer/Outreach Specialist from SARE, was one of the presenters.

Mr. Yasin Muhaimin, Value added Specialist from Pride Road LLC presented a session on Value added of Hibiscus and tea products.

SUAREC faculty and staff members and experts from other governmental, NGO’s and private organization from Louisiana and other states provided their expertise to make all the mentioned events a success.

 

The Cut Flower and Spring garden workshop
Objective:

• Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
• Encourage extension and agricultural professionals to continue to attend sustainable agriculture meetings such as the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting.
• Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana.

Description:

A Training workshop on cut flower production was conducted, giving emphasis on production and marketing of cut flowers, edible hibiscus(Hibiscus sabdarifa) and value added products, house plant care and business, hands-on demonstrations on construction of rain barrels, raised beds and hydroponic systems. This workshop is put together by Southern University Agcenter in partnership with “Flower Lovers Garden Guild” and Wisteria Alliance (SU Women in Agriculture group).

Spring Flower Workshop 2019 flyer 3.19

Outcomes and impacts:

The Cut Flower and Spring Garden Workship took place April 24, 2019.  95 participants were in attendance.  The target audience was low income women in urban and rural communities, extension agents, agricultural professionals and small farmers. A diversity of speakers were invited.  Three horticulturists and nursery owners conducted lectures and extension agents conducted hands on trainings.

Educational & Outreach Activities

20 Consultations
2 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
2 On-farm demonstrations
3 Published press articles, newsletters
3 Study circle/focus groups
1 Tours
12 Travel Scholarships
3 Workshop field days
5 Several classes on Sustainable agriculture for Farmers and extension agents, SARE books were distributed

Participation Summary

35 Extension
10 NRCS
10 Researchers
15 Nonprofit
60 Farmers/ranchers
120 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

3 New working collaborations

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

The MSP for Louisiana will allow for enhanced programming effort beyond the state plans of work for the separate institutions (Southern University Agricultural Research and 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.

50 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
100 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.