2019 Model State Program- Mississippi State University

Final report for SMS19-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $11,111.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2022
Grant Recipient: Mississippi State University
Region: Southern
State: Mississippi
State Coordinator:
Dr. Leyla Rios
Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences at Mississippi State University
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Project Information


Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Model Plan of Work is a culmination of the involvement of the State Sustainable Agriculture Committee. This committee is composed of representatives from both 1862 & 1890 Extension Organizations, Federal and State Government Agencies, NGOs, and farmers. A program assistant has been employed to assist the state coordinators and the members of this committee in carrying out the training objectives set forth in this model plan. The main objective of this plan is to include all of the various SARE programs into a seamless program. This plan includes more public awareness of SARE through either individual contacts made during regional/district/county workshops or a state wide Sustainable Agriculture conference. Training goals will be reached by means of in-service education, conferences, workshops, demonstrations, field days, tours, and publications. The different media sources of the stakeholders will also be used to help reach the different focal groups set forth in this plan. Training materials developed by SARE will be incorporated into the training for extension staff. Attendance at National/Regional Conferences will be encouraged as a means of further professional development in sustainable Agriculture. Some training may be conducted jointly between both land grant universities in the state. Evaluation will be done using the logic model by the evaluation team. All institutions and agencies involved are committed to this plan and have committed resources of time, money, and personnel to carry it out.

Project Objectives:

The main objective of the Model State Program is to incorporate all aspects of SARE into our State outreach program to expand knowledge and promote the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices to all farms and farmers regardless of size and type of production throughout Mississippi. The Committee will evaluate the objectives of the Model State Program and prioritize the programs and training that meets the most crucial needs in our state. Efforts will be made by the committee to leverage other resources with our funds in order to most effectively meet these needs.
To accomplish our mission our specific objectives are:
A) Strengthen links of communication among Mississippi Universities, State and Federal Agencies, NGO’s, Farmers, and Communities.
B) Seek to establish SARE as a familiar positive concept with farmers, NGO’s and public.
C) Increase efforts to get Extension Specialists, Field Agents and other Agency staff members to incorporate Sustainable Agriculture concepts in educational activities.
D) Increase involvement in the various grant programs.
E) Seek to make both commodity groups and legislative leaders aware of Sustainable Agriculture and its implications to all-Mississippians – both producers and consumers
F) Investigate the potential of expanding sustainable small ruminant operations.

Previously committee members have networked with other agencies and stakeholders to provide support and education and/or research needs for the transfer of information to promote adoption of sustainable agriculture practices by end users. We intend to continue in these efforts and feel we have made progress with Sustainable Ag concepts over the years. In the coming year, we will utilize new stakeholder involvement to leverage our support that focuses on the development of markets and introduction of new sustainable, microscale small ruminant productions systems. We will focus on developing funding opportunities with state commodity groups as well as create new funding opportunities to address production questions. We plan to create Three (3) new programs that will be integrated into the Extension program training for agents allowing for quicker adoption of new management practices. Each year we involve different extension faculty and agents that may not be familiar with SARE and the programs and opportunities available for their use in their educational efforts. We are developing a support program that encourages application to SARE grant opportunities, encouraging Extension and Research Faculty, NGO, Farm Groups, Graduate Students and Farmers to submit a proposal. This effort will be the cornerstone of activities in 2019-2020.


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Educational approach:

FAMACHA training face to face was delivered to agents, farmers, and students during 2019, including presentations and hands-on activities to practice the scores from the animals. A total of two training with 41 participants were performed, 2 agents committed to implementing Small Ruminant FAMACHA Training for Parasite Management as part of their statewide or local programmatic efforts in 2019.


Small Ruminant Workshop.  2019.  Hattiesburg, MS.  May 11.


Participants heard presentations on (1) forage selection and grazing management, (2) breeding and reproduction, (3) kidding and lambing management, (4) nutrition, (5) NRCS forage and livestock programs, (6) fecal collection and parasite identification, (7) AI, and (8) FAMACHA certification.  The topics were presented by Mississippi State University Extension Specialists, State, and Federal Agencies and they were available to answer questions and provide detailed information on each of the subjects that were covered.


There was a total of 67 participants across 20 counties in Mississippi and 3 parishes in Louisiana.  Seventy-two percent of workshop participants (N= 67) were male and 28% female.  Fifty percent of the respondents are under the age of 50.  Participants were asked to complete a survey at the event of the event.  In some cases, percentages do not total 100% due to the differing numbers of respondents who answered land cover questions above. Sixteen percent of the participants (N=45) indicated that agriculture is their primary occupation, and the rest are part-time farmers.  Seventy-two percent of the attendees indicated that they have been in agriculture less than 10 years and 51% are meat goats, 21% dairy goats, and 28% sheep. Participants indicated that they like to adopt the new management practices in their farms.  Forty-five percent plan to incorporate new forage varieties and 62% plant to do more routine inspection for parasites.  Forty-two percent of the respondents also indicated that they knew some of the information presented at the event while 22% will use some of the information and 66% will use a lot of the information. On average, respondents indicated that would earn approximately $1,435 in additional income per individual based on the information received and the knowledge gained by attending this program.  This expectation resulted in an approximate cash flow of $96,145.


Participants were asked to rate the quality of instruction presented to them by the Extension faculty.  They were rated using a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).  Instructors were found to be knowledgeable of the subject matter (4.82) and they also related the content of the program to real-life situations (4.73).  Participants indicated that the content was relevant to their needs (4.64) and was at an understandable level (4.61).  They also indicated that the content was well-organized (4.64) and based on credible, up-to-date information (4.67).  Participants also indicated that attending the field day was worth their time (4.67) and they will recommend this program to others (4.71).  They also indicated that they increased their knowledge (4.62) and learned new skills related to the topics covered (4.62).  They also indicated that will use the information gained in this program (4.62) and will also provide information to others (4.62). Eighty-two percent of respondents indicated that the information presented met a lot of their expectations.  Most of the respondents learned about the event through Facebook (33%), a friend/colleague (27%), and their local Extension Office (40%).

Education & Outreach Initiatives

FAMACHA Training

Help farmers to achieve more sustainable control of parasites avoiding as much as possible the resistance from the parasite population to the commercial drugs available


FAMACHA training is important to develop the awareness of the need to avoid the wrong use of dewormers in farms, and to reduce the progress of resistance in the parasite population. This is an important tool and the people trained to use it find an easier path to keep controlled the parasites in their herd.


Outcomes and impacts:

FAMACHA was a tool not known or used in the state, after the training of 4 agents and they start to deliver this training more farmers, students and agents become aware of the need to control in a sustainable way parasites of their animals. 

Educational & Outreach Activities

10 Consultations
2 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
10 On-farm demonstrations
2 Online trainings
5 Webinars / talks / presentations
4 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

30 Extension
10 Researchers
60 Farmers/ranchers
15 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

4 Grants received that built upon this project
6 New working collaborations
20 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
75 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

From the Workshops and Famacha training, the outcome was positive. FAMACHA was a tool not known or used in the state, after the training of 4 agents and they start to deliver this training more farmers, students and agents become aware of the need to control in a sustainable way parasites of their animals. The Small Ruminant Workshops also helped a large number of farmers to integrate knowledge into their farms and to check on important topics needed to improve the efficiency of their operations. 

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

For both activities the Small ruminant Workshop and for the FAMACHA program the SARE contribution and support was always highlighted

108 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
40 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources

Information Products

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.