Progress report for SLA21-001
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 2021 - 2022 include: soil health management, integrated pest management, grant writing, fall garden workshop (vegetable grafting, NRCS grant opportunities), spring garden workshop (small ruminants), spring cut flower workshop, the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (LaSAWG) 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 virtual 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/) and a quarterly sustainable agriculture newsletter. The other duties for this position include coordination of state workshops and field days, 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.
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 state and regional sustainable agriculture meetings.
- Continue participation in workshops, meetings, and field days that highlight sustainable agriculture practices.
- Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana
Due to the ongoing pandemic and many events being delayed, a no-cost extension has been requested as all objectives have not been met as of this date. Many events are scheduled for fall and early winter.
The Louisiana SARE goal to is to provide in-person and virtual trainings and scholarships for county agents and other agricultural professionals who work directly with farmers in order to receive training they can use to assist and work with producers and their communities in sustainable agriculture.
Our educational approach for our sustainable agriculture extension programming for Louisiana has has two components:
1. To provide in-service trainings where the target audience consists of extension agents, mentor farmers, producers’ associations, non-profit, state, and local organizations, and others that work directly with growers.
2. To facilitate participation by extension agents, nongovernmental organizations, growers and industry representatives, and representatives of non-profit, state, and local organizations in on-farm and on-station research, grower assessments of demonstration and research trials, workshops, and on-farm and on-station field days either in state or in the southern region.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
The objective of these activities is to provide information and resources on various sustainable agriculture topics as well as networking opportunities to the target audience of extension faculty, mentor and small to medium-scale farmers, local service providers and others that work directly with farmers.
Sustainable Gardening Workshops
In person workshops to provide classroom and hands-on training in sustainable gardening and market gardening and provide information in the general growing, specific crop sustainable cultural practices, harvest, postharvest and storage, and pest management practices. Sponsor: The Louisiana Farm to School Program.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Webinar
Webinar on successful strategies for starting and growing a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) marketing opportunity for sustainable farms. This webinar was part of the Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education program. Speaker: Allison Guidroz, Fullness Farm, Baton Rouge, LA.
Grant Writing Webinar
This webinar provided information on the various SARE grants for farmers, county agents and communities, and how to apply for a grant, and the basics of creating a good grant. Presenters: Candace Pollock-Moore, Brennan Washington, and Paul Vincelli of Southern SARE. Sponsor - Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education funded program.
National Conservation Resource Service (NRCS) Webinar
Webinar informational session on the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the services they offer, cost-share programs, and how to engage with the NRCS. Presenters: Stephanie Paul, NRCS. Sponsor - Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education funded program.
Finance Basics Webinar
Webinar on business management skills and recognizing financial risk with basic information and computer apps and programs that are useful. In collaboration with Annie’s Project and Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education program. Presenter: Dr. Maria Bampasidou from the LSU Dept. of Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness.
Soil Management, Fertility and Rotations Training
On farm training on successful strategies for soil management, fertility, and crop rotations for sustainable crop production targeting small and medium-scale farmers . On farm training at River Queen Greens, New Orleans, LA. Speaker: Ellen Polishuk (Plant to Profit) in collaboration with the Grow Louisiana beginning farmer training program.
Farming and Taxes (Part 1)
The Farming and Taxes (Part 1) webinar provided information on the basics of farming taxes, useful computer apps and programs, and what to consider concerning the general topic of taxes and farming. Speaker: Adam Kantrovich (Clemson University) and sponsor - Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education funded program. Hosted by the LSU AgCenter, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.
The MarketReady trainings provide professional marketing education in order to improve sales relationships and opportunities and provides up to date marketing information resources. The training uses best business practices identified by buyers, and includes information on the various direct and wholesale markets, communication, pricing, insurance, packaging and GAPs in markets as well as an opportunity for networking.
Bringing the Farm to School Producer Training: Getting to Know School Markets and Selling to School Markets (Webinar)
This webinar provided training on farm to school market opportunities, accessing school markets, growing products for schools and resources in Louisiana to expanding markets and to take advantage of school market opportunities. Speaker: Crystal Besse, Seeds to Success, the Louisiana Farm to School Program. In collaboration with Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education program.
Direct Markets (Webinar)
Webinar about various direct market channels from farmers and market managers Margee Green (Sprout Nola), Sierra Torres (Cicada Calling Farm), and Charlie Loup (Loup Farms) covering farmers markets, roadside stands, and all direct markets. In collaboration with Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education funded program.
In-person workshop on farm bookkeeping tools, best practices and general information. Speaker: Ellen Polishuk (Plant to Profit). In collaboration with Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education funded program and Annie’s Project.
Farming and Taxes (Part 2) Workshop and Farmer Resources Trade Show
In person workshop to provide more in depth information on farming and taxes and also provide answers to questions from the Part 1 webinar. In addition, the workshop provided an opportunity for local resource providers to present information on their services. Speaker: Adam Kantrovich (Clemson University). In collaboration with Growing Farmers, sponsor Growing Farmers, Southern Extension Risk Management Education funded program and Annie’s Project.
At least 75 percent of the participants/attendees of the in-person workshops, on-line webinars increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, and approaches.
A majority of the agriculture professionals intend to use the knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned.
Educational & Outreach Activities
The 2021 Louisiana SARE Advisory Council meeting was held on September 22, 2022. Our next meeting of the Advisory Council will be in the fall 2022. Training activities were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions for in-person events in the fall 2021 and extension activities were limited. Virtual trainings were provided as possible.
Face of SARE
SARE educational materials are distributed at all of our SARE trainings and other relevant programs in Louisiana both at Southern and Louisiana State University. SARE materials are distributed to the public by state and county faculty that participate in our programs. SARE books and educational materials are distributed to our advisory council and scholarship recipients.