2020 Model State Program- Louisiana State University

Progress report for SLA20-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $11,111.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2022
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 Land- Grant Campus (SUAREC) will implement programs that enhance the capabilities of Louisiana’s agricultural professionals in the area of sustainable agriculture. Themes for 2020 – 2021 include: sustainable farm tour, pollinator workshop, fall garden workshop (vegetable grafting, NRCS grant opportunities), spring garden workshop (sustainable poultry production), the Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) annual
meeting, and the Louisiana SAWG annual meeting, as well as regional sustainable agriculture related conferences and workshops. The target audience for trainings will be extension, non-profit representative, and mentor farmers who will share information and skills gained with local audiences. LSUAC and SUAREC extension personnel will be strongly encouraged to attend the training sessions. Information delivery systems to be utilized include trainings, workshops, conferences, networking sessions, farm tours, field days, hands-on demonstrations, handouts, resource manuals, SARE publications 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 coordination of state workshops and field days, SSAWG travel awards and arrangements, promotion of SARE resources and grant opportunities, promotion of related sustainable agriculture resources, events, and opportunities across the state, management and reporting of the PDP organization of advisory board, and collaboration with advisory board members’ programs when applicable.

Project Objectives:

The overall objectives of the Louisiana Model State Plan (MSP) are:
• Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
• Maintain the state SARE website with sustainable agriculture materials and resources, and links to related state organizations.
• 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.

Advisors

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Education

Educational approach:

Due to the COVID-19 health pandemic, in-person farm tours were no longer possible because many social-distancing restrictions mandated by local, state, and the federal government. In order to still provide their clientele with insight into some innovative farms around the state, the Louisiana SARE program coordinator as well as program assistant decided to record those tours instead and provide these recordings to their clientele online allow others to watch from home and thus virtually participate in these farm tours.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Louisiana SARE Virtual Farm Tours
Objective:

Provide LA SARE clientele with the opportunity to virtually participate in four (4) sustainable agriculture farm tours.

Description:

The Louisiana SARE program team travelled to four (4) farms in Louisiana and Mississippi to video record a tour of the agricultural operations and provide these recording later to their clientele so that they can participate in the tour virtually. The farms visited and toured were Mushroom Maggie's, a sustainable mushroom farm in St. Francisville, LA; River Queen Greens, a sustainable vegetable farm in New Orleans, LA; Fullness Farms, a sustainable vegetable farm in Baton Rouge, LA; and Compostella Farm, a sustainable farm in Picayune, MS. The latter is located in Mississippi, however, provides its products to many Louisiana residents via New Orleans area farmers' markets. The tours typically included a walk around the farm, especially highlighting the fields as well as washing and packing stations, and featured the owners and operators speaking about the background of the operation as well as other important information.

Outcomes and impacts:

These recordings will allow farmers as well as extension personnel to participate virtually in four (4) farm tours and learn more about the operations and the sustainable agriculture practices and methods they utilize. Louisiana SARE is able to promote sustainable agriculture and highlight innovative farms around the state while adhering to the guidelines and restrictions set in place to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, it has taken longer than anticipated to create the videos due to the ongoing health pandemic, however, the farm tours were conducted. Because of this, no virtual participants have seen the video yet, no in-person participants were part of the farm tour due to COVID-19.

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Online trainings
1 Tours
1 Webinars / talks / presentations

Project Outcomes

Additional Outcomes:

Due to the COVID-19, it has taken longer to create the videos but the farm tours were conducted. Because of this, no virtual participant has seen the videos yet, no in-person participants were part of the farm tour due to the ongoing health pandemic.

Face of SARE

8 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
4 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.