2020 Model State Program- Oklahoma State University

Progress report for SOK20-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $22,222.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2022
Grant Recipient: Oklahoma State University
Region: Southern
State: Oklahoma
State Coordinator:
Jason Warren
Oklahoma State University
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Oklahoma SARE Professional Development Program strives to promote an exemplary level of cooperative commitment between Langston University and Oklahoma State University to encourage and further the sustainability of Oklahoma agriculture by promoting the economic viability, sound environmental practices and natural resource management along with bringing awareness and recognition of social responsibility in Oklahoma. This Plan of Work builds upon and extends prior programming efforts. The goal of the program is to integrate and increase sustainable agricultural practices in the historically mainstream agricultural endeavors of our state while enhancing the quality of our natural resources and the rural way of life. Objectives remain to train agricultural professionals (Land Grant, federal/state agencies, and NGOs) and mentor farmers in the concepts and best management practices of sustainable agriculture as well as disseminating information regarding sustainable agriculture through various outlets. It is recognized that the topics for our focus do not change over time. They remain: integrating sustainable practices into daily agricultural operations; management and enhancement of soil and water quality; integrated resource management for large and small scale livestock, horticulture and agronomic enterprises; strategic use of fertilizer and herbicides in crop production; production and marketing of organic crops; sustainable forage-based livestock systems; and production/marketing for community-based organizations. Training will be provided via participation at national, regional and local workshops and trainings, demonstrations, tours, research presentations, online and small group in-service trainings. Evaluation will be conducted on an on-going basis and feedback on the effectiveness of these various trainings and programs will be tracked and reported

Project Objectives:

1.) Sustainable agricultural concepts such as cover cropping, crop rotations and rotational grazing will be included in programing offered by at least ninety agricultural educators. a) In 2020, the training provided to these educators will be offered through the OSU Winter Crop School, the Panhandle Crops Clinic, the Red River Farming Conference and Regional Farming and Small Grains Conferences to be held in various locations around Oklahoma.
2.) That thirty agriculture professionals will be able to provide information and education on organic certified production and marketing of agricultural products. a.) In 2020, this will be accomplished through the Organic Oklahoma Farm Tour, Educator attendance at the 2020
SSAWG Conference and the Horticulture Industry Show. A new program which has been proposed as a direct result of Educator participation in the SSAWG Conference will be an inservice training to be held to encourage the establishment of honey bee colonies to support pollinators and provide new and alternative products for producers in our state.
3.) Twenty educators would receive training on community-based markets for fruit and vegetable production. a) In 2020, this will be accomplished through the Market Garden Training, the Organic Oklahoma Farm Tour, and Educator attendance at the Horticulture Industry Show and the Southern SAWG Conference, the OSU Plant Materials Conference, the Langston University Small Farms Conference and the Global Horticulture Conference.
4.) Eighty agricultural professionals will be able to provide the latest information with respect to the environmentally sound management of natural resources – especially water, soil and air. a) In 2020, this will be achieved through the OSU Winter Crop School, the Panhandle Crops Clinic, the Red River Crop School, and the Oklahoma Irrigation Conference.
5.) Twenty extension educators would be better prepared to assist and provide technical direction for producer driven research and on- farm demonstration activities through producer program granting opportunities such as the USDA and SARE. a) In 2020, this will continue to be encouraged through the distribution of Educator Kits containing information with respect to the SARE, ODAFF and USDA granting programs.
6.) Fifty educators and others will attend trainings such as field days and workshops covering topics such as cropping systems and conservation tillage to subsequently help producers in developing alternative economic opportunities in their operations to improve sustainability. a) In 2020, this will be accomplished with programming such as the OSU Winter Crop School, the Regional Farming and Small Grains Workshops, the Red River Crops Conference, the proposed Honeybee Inservice training and local field days and tours.
7.) Sixty professionals will be trained in sustainable alternative livestock practices to include beef, poultry and goat production for both large and small scale producers. a) In 2020, this will continue to be addressed through the Oklahoma State University Meat Goat Boot Camp and the Langston University Goat Conference programs as well as rotational grazing presentations at the Red River Crop School the OSU Winter Crop School. We will also work closely with coordinators of a recently funded NIFA Sustainable Ag systems Grant entitled “ Enhancing livestock production from rangelands in the great plains” to facilitate training on multi-species patch burn grazing strategies.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Steven Alspach (Educator)
  • Brian Arnall (Educator and Researcher)
  • Lynn Brandenberger (Educator and Researcher)
  • Damona Doye (Educator and Researcher)
  • Jeff Edwards (Educator and Researcher)
  • Brian Freking (Educator and Researcher)
  • Gilbert Guerrero (Educator)
  • Dwight Guy (Educator and Researcher)
  • James Jones (Educator and Researcher)
  • Chris Kirby (Educator)
  • David Lalman (Educator and Researcher)
  • Julia Laughlin (Educator and Researcher)
  • George Luker (Educator and Researcher)
  • Roger Merkel (Educator and Researcher)
  • Tracey Payton-Miller (Educator and Researcher)
  • David Nowlin (Educator and Researcher)
  • Sara Siems (Educator)
  • Tom Royer (Educator and Researcher)
  • Micah Anderson (Educator)
  • Jim Shrefler (Educator and Researcher)
  • Jeff Stearns (Educator)
  • Haldor Howard (Educator)
  • Julie Gahn
  • Steve Upson (Educator and Researcher)
  • Kenda Woodburn (Educator and Researcher)
  • Josh Lofton (Educator and Researcher)
  • Misha Manuchehri (Educator and Researcher)
  • Cody Linker (Educator)
  • Kyle Worthington (Educator)
  • Greg Scott (Researcher)
  • Steven Glasgow (Educator)
  • Joshua Ringer (Educator and Researcher)

Education

Educational approach:

Please note that the activities outlined in this report cover that were supported by the Oklahoma Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program underwent a fairly drastic change in the winter of 2020. Until this time, the most widely used was a directed teaching format. This format involves a designated speaker (or panel) presenting information to a group of attendees. This format is utilized in both a classroom setting and a tour/field setting. In both, the speaker (or instructor) discusses data supported by examples (photos, graphs, charts or actual physical specimens) to explain a concept. Experience (and attendee feedback) continues to indicate that the audience tends to gain more understanding when physical specimens are presented. This is why short courses, small groups and field tours tend to be very appreciated by our agricultural professionals. “Hands on” type learning is generally more effective for us versus a “theory only” program. In March of 2020, this came a rather abrupt halt.  We then saw many of our programs switch to an online format during the early days of the pandemic.  Most of these meetings were strictly web based utilizing Zoom, YouTube and podcasts.  It should be noted that not all of our programming became online.  There were accommodations made for small group meetings held under controlled conditions.  Arrangements were made to provide ppe in the form of masks, sanitizing products, individual sets of educational materials, and social distancing (indoors and outdoors.) As there were plenty of opportunities for electronic instruction, the OkSARE PDP elected to also encourage a continuance of a previous training initiative.  We partnered with several of our cooperators to encourage the establishment of a series of Demonstrations at the county and area level.  These outdoor locations provided an outlet for producers to tour/visit on their own schedule and acquire printed handouts reinforcing the concepts covered by the demonstration.  These localized sites proved to be very popular with many receiving over 80 visits during the early days of the program.  Our program participants have also expressed appreciation for the Southern SARE printed publications which we continue to make available free of charge through the auspices of the Southern SARE office.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Sustainable agricultural concepts such as cover cropping, crop rotations and rotational grazing will be included in programs
Objective:

To ensure that ninety Educators and other agriculture professionals will be exposed to the latest data in cover cropping, crop rotations and rotational grazing

Description:
  1. The following programs historically significantly supported by the Oklahoma SARE PDP were converted to online programming due to the Covid-19 Pandemic which severely limited large public gatherings such as conferences.  OkSARE was able to provide limited support in terms of speake and educational materials.
    1. The 2021 OSU Winter Crop School was held in November and December of 2020
    2. The Red River Crops Conference was held in January of 2021
    3. The Great Plains Cotton Conference was held in February of 2021
    4. The 2021 Cotton Physiology Meeting was held in February of 2021
Outcomes and impacts:

The learning and action outcomes and impacts of these initiatives are as follows

1.  The 2020 OSU Winter Crop School event focused on winter crops, summer crops and forage production. The WCS consisted of five sessions each with a specific topic. Over the course of WCS a great group of speakers from around the Plains covered topics in Cover Crops and Soil Health, Rain fed Ag research, Wheat production, Nutrient Management and Advanced Agronomy.

2.  The theme of the 2021 Red River Crops Conference was "Planning for Success - Crop Production Information Designed for Southwest Oklahoma and the Texas Rolling Plains." and focused on the following educational information:

             - National Cotton Council Update, Jody Campiche, Ph.D., National Cotton Council director of economics and policy analysis, Memphis, Tennessee.                                                                                          – Cotton Market Update, John Robinson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension cotton marketing economist, Bryan-College Station                                                                                                                                      – Cotton Equipment Technology, John Long, Ph.D., Oklahoma Cooperative Extension agricultural engineer, Stillwater                                                                                                                                          – Herbicide Program Updates, Peter Dotray, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research weed scientist, Lubbock                                                                                                                                                         – Cotton Plant Pathology Update, Tom Isakeit, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension plant pathologist, Bryan-College Station                                                                                                                                               – Cotton Area Program Update, Seth Byrd, Ph.D., Oklahoma Cooperative Extension cotton specialist, Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Kimura.                                                                                                     – Economic Comparison of Perennial and Annual Grazing Systems, Francisco Abello, AgriLife Extension farm management economist, Vernon.                                                                                             – Current Wheat Crop Status and In-Season Management, Fernando Guillen-Portal, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension small grains and oil seed crops specialist, Bryan-College Station                                                           – Brush and Weed Control in Pasture Systems, Laura Goodman, Ph.D., Oklahoma Cooperative Extension range specialist, Stillwater                                                                                                               – Grain and Livestock Markets, Trent Milacek, Ph.D., Oklahoma Cooperative Extension West District area agriculture economist, Enid, Oklahoma                                                                                                                                                    – Grain Sorghum Cropping Systems, Jason Warren, Ph.D., Oklahoma Cooperative Extension soil and water conservation management specialist and OkSARE State Coordinator, Stillwater, and Strickland.

3.  The Great Plains Cotton Conference and the 2021 Cotton Physiology Meeting presented Evapotranspiration and soil water depletion under SDI irrigated cotton in the Oklahoma Panhandle by Jason Warren, Ph.D., Oklahoma Cooperative Extension soil and water conservation management specialist and OkSARE State Coordinator, Stillwater, Oklahoma

 

 

Environmentally sound management of natural resources-especially water, soil and air
Objective:

That eighty agricultural professionals will be able to provide the latest information with respect to the environmentally sound management of natural resources – especially water, soil and air.

Description:
  1.  The Green Country Crops Conference was held in March 2021 in Pryor, Oklahoma.  This meeting was held in person with very limited spaces available.
  2. The Late Season Cotton Management Seminar was held online in September 2020. 
  3. The OCES Coffee Shop Series are held online hosted by the three area OCES offices.
  4. The Colorado Master Irrigators Training was held in February in Wray, CO.
  5. The OSU Master Irrigator's Training was held in the Oklahoma Panhandle in January and February of 2021. 
Outcomes and impacts:

The learning and action outcomes of these activities are as follows.

  1.  The Green Country Crops Conference included a presentation, Biologicals for soil and soil health presented by Brian Arnall and Jason Warren, OSU State Specialists, Stillwater, Oklahoma
  2. The Late Season Cotton Management Seminar included a presentation by Jason Warren entitled, Soil moisture trends under irrigated cotton in SW Oklahoma and the Panhandle of Oklahoma.
  3. The OCES Coffee Shop Series included an Update on soil health testing procedures by Jason Warren. 
  4. The Master Irrigators Training is a direct result from previous training initiatives of the OkSARE PDP programming.  As previously discussed, in early 2020 an advisory committee was formed to provide guidance in developing the curriculum for training farmers and crop consultant to provide advanced training on irrigation water management, irrigation equipment maintenance, energy conservation, water conservation, and economics of irrigated agriculture. The program includes classroom training, peer-to-peer exchange of information between producers, field demonstrations, and free-of-charge services such as energy audits through mobile irrigation laboratories. The instructors include extension specialists, irrigation specialists, and economists from OSU and adjoining states, producers, crop consultants and NRCS personnel. The overall goal of the program is to facilitate improved water use efficiency and farm income via increased farmer adoption of advanced water management strategies and technologies.

    Participants are required to complete four days of training to be eligible for the following benefits:

    • Four days of basic and advanced training on irrigation, crop choices and irrigation systems.
    • Participants will be eligible for reimbursements of $2000 on purchase of soil moisture sensors. through funding provided by Oklahoma Conservation Commission and Oklahoma Water Resource Board.
    • Free of charge energy and irrigation system efficiency audits will be provided to the participants through mobile irrigation laboratory.

      Use of irrigation scheduling tools to manage irrigation water application can increase water productivity, but with less capital cost than installation of new irrigation systems. However, use of irrigation scheduling technologies and tools, such as soil moisture sensors and/or crop growth model based irrigation schedulers, require advanced knowledge to apply effectively. Prior research in the High Plains region found that using precision irrigation scheduling increased water productivity by 25% compared to conventional irrigation application. This was achieved with a 10% reduction in water use and a 13% yield increase. This suggests that adoption of precision irrigation management could reduce water demand by 76,000 acre-feet/year statewide without impacting, and potentially increasing, productivity.

       

      The Master Irrigator program initially focuses on the declining water levels of the Ogallala Aquifer in the Oklahoma Panhandle region. The Oklahoma Panhandle receives the least rainfall in the state, yet the area is actively farmed for grain production. Irrigation helps with increasing and stabilizing the crop yields therefore supporting the local economy. However, the groundwater table in the region is declining due to water extraction at rates exceeding recharge of the aquifer. As a result, the well capacities have declined. Producers in the area are already combining multiple wells to meet crop water demands, reducing irrigated acreage or exploring alternative crops with low water demand. These water saving technologies and strategies could be used for sustainable use of irrigation water. However, there are limitations in adoption of water conservation strategies including limited technical know-how, inadequate knowledge on cost-to-benefit ratio of the technology, inability to interpret digital data and decision making. The Oklahoma Master Irrigation Program aims at providing training regarding these issues to help producers better manage their limited water and increase the longevity of the aquifer, while maintaining/improving the farm income.

Sustainable livestock practices to include bee, beef, poultry and goat production
Objective:

To ensure that at least sixty professionals will be trained in sustainable alternative livestock practices to include bee, beef, poultry and goat production for both large and small scale producers

Description:
  1.  The Langston University Goat and Hair Sheep Field Day for 2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions on the Langston University campus.  The event for 2021 is scheduled to be held online beginning in April and extending for 6 weekly sessions through the end of May.  This meeting will, as in the past, be heavily supported by the OkSARE PDP.  More reporting on these weekly webinars will be included in the 2021 OkSARE PDP Annual Report.
  2. The 2020 OSU Meat Goat Boot Camp was held in Ada in September of 2020.  This three day event was held in person with restrictions placed on the number of participants allowed in order to maintain social distancing.  Strict protocols regarding wearing masks and frequent sanitation were strictly followed.  There were 40 participants (allowed) from 15 states representing Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Kansas. 
  3. The New and Beginning Farmer Training is a series of online and in-person small group trainings that has been developed in Oklahoma County as a direct result of past attendance of our Educators at SSAWG and the HIS.  It will graduate 40 participants this year.
  4. The OSU Honey Bee Demonstration Project has been established to enable Educators and other interested stakeholders to get hands-on training in the establishment and management of honeybee hives.  This project is also a direct result of several Educators attending the honeybee training offered at the 2020 SSAWG.  The project was originally intended to be one demonstration site, however the incredible response from multiple counties has made it popular enough that the decision was made to establish eight demonstration sites (nine including the honeybee project on organic cover crops at the Lane Agriculture Experiment Station) for in-service trainings commencing the spring of 2021.  It is anticipated that following the initial Educator training, further trainings will be conducted at each demonstration site for other agriculture professionals and interested parties.  The learning action outcomes and impacts from this initiative will be reported in the 2021 annual report.
Outcomes and impacts:

The learning and action outcomes of this initiative along with the impacts from these events are as follows.

  1.  The OSU Meat Goat Boot Camp reports.....
  2. Goat Herd size and Value of Goat Camp
    • The average herd size was 89.
      • Herd size ranged from 15 to over 500

     

    Each participant were asked to place a value of the education and skills learned at the goat camp. Below is there response.

    • Total value equals $238,305

      Session Rankings

      Each participant was asked to indicate the knowledge learned from each session during the boot camp. A five point scoring system was used were 1 = no knowledge gained and 5 = great deal of knowledge gained. Below are the results.

       

      • Average score for all 22 sessions was 4.45.
      • Session scores ranged from 3.98 to 4.74
      • Top five sessions were:
        • Fecal Egg Count – 4.74
        • Parasite De-wormer Resistance and Eye Scores – 4.72
        • Fecal Egg Count Demo - 4.70
        • Birthing and Neonatal Care - 4.68
        • Parasite Life Cycle Management - 4.66

       

      Adoption of New Skills

      Participants were asked if they planned to adopt any of the practices taught during the 20 sessions. The average adoption rate for all sessions was 76.8%. Across all sessions, the range of planned adoption was 55.3% to 93.6%.

      Session Rankings

      Each participant was asked to indicate the knowledge learned from each session during the boot camp. A five point scoring system was used were 1 = no knowledge gained and 5 = great deal of knowledge gained. Below are the results.

       

      • Average score for all 22 sessions was 4.45.
      • Session scores ranged from 3.98 to 4.74
      • Top five sessions were:
        • Fecal Egg Count – 4.74
        • Parasite De-wormer Resistance and Eye Scores – 4.72
        • Fecal Egg Count Demo - 4.70
        • Birthing and Neonatal Care - 4.68
        • Parasite Life Cycle Management - 4.66

       

      Adoption of New Skills

      Participants were asked if they planned to adopt any of the practices taught during the 20 sessions. The average adoption rate for all sessions was 76.8%. Across all sessions, the range of planned adoption was 55.3% to 93.6%.

       

      Pre and Post Test Score Results

       

      Methodology

      In an attempt to measure the amount of knowledge gained during the Oklahoma Meat Goat Boot Camp, a 30 question test multiple choice/true-false test was developed by the instructors of the Boot Camp. Each question was taken from the material being presented at the Boot Camp. This test was then given to each participant at the beginning and the end of the Boot Camp. The following are the results:

       

      Results

       

      Test                              Average Score                   Range                       % Correct

      Pre-Test                               17.5                            11-24                           58.5%

      Post-Test                             23.0                            15-30                           76.7%

       

      The results show that participants improved their test scores by 31.2%.

      Further, we can group the 30 questions into 7 areas of production and management. Then we can look at the test scores to determine which areas the group were the most and least knowledgeable before the Boot Camp and which areas had the biggest improvement in knowledge gained. The seven areas are as follows:

       

      1. Parasite Management and Control
      2. Record Keeping
      3. General Herd Management including Herd Health
      4. Herd Nutrition
      5. Forages and Forage Production Systems
      6. Marketing
      7. Business Planning

       

      Test Results

                                                                % Correct

      Group                               Pre-Test                      Post-Test                    % Change

      1. Parasite                     70.8%                          89.8%                          26.8%
      2. Record Keeping          85.6%                          78.4%                           -8.3%
      3. Herd Mgmt                 75.2%                         90.2%                          19.9%
      4. Nutrition                     27.4%                         49.5%                          80.7%
      5. Forages                      55.0%                         78.8%                          43.3%
      6. Marketing                   50.6%                         81.7%                          61.3%
      7. Business Planning        36.5%                         50.0%                          36.8%                *Please note:  Some of the data included in this report is a compilation of both the 2019 and 2020 Boot Camp results as submitted by the cooperators of the program.                             
To assist and provide technical direction for producer drive research and on-farm demonstration activities
Objective:

That twenty extension educators would be better prepared to assist and provide technical direction for producer driven research and on- farm demonstration activities.

Description:
  1.  The Properly Implementing Agronomy Research and Demo Trials Outdoor Program is the continuation of a previous OkSARE PDP initiative.  The purpose of this program is to encourage the County Educator, Area Specialists and other stakeholders to identify and assist the establishment of research and demonstration programs in their locales. Research Demo Outservice Announcement
Outcomes and impacts:

The learning and action outcomes and impact of this initiative are as follows:

  1.  The Properly Implementing Agronomy Research and Demo Trials Outdoor Program reports that starting in the summer of 2020, Extension Educators from 42 eastern Oklahoma counties were invited to attend in-service training focusing on revitalizing the use of county-led research trials and demonstrations.  This training series was comprised of three-parts, held chronologically to coincide with events occurring related to forage production.  All invited Educators attended the training series, as well as area and some state specialists.  The goal was to provide training that the Educators could immediately take back to their counties and implement.

    The first part consisted of a discussion on: when to use research vs demos, identifying topics of relevance, identifying stakeholders, sourcing funding for your trials, marketing and promotion, and the proper equipment and techniques for the application of fertility and herbicide treatments.  Educators also assisted in the installation of a research trial.

    The second session reconvened at the same plot locations approximately 30 days later.  Topics included: proper and accurate sampling methods, sample preparation and processing, data recording, spreadsheet preparation and photography.   The Educators then assisted in taking data from the plots they helped establish in the first training.  Before adjourning, Educators were given the materials needed to install fall fertility demonstrations on forage in their respective counties.

    The third session addresses: statistical analysis of data, the initial steps of “building your talking points”, methods of information distribution, recognizing cooperators and the decision-making process of wrap-up or ramp-up of the trial.

    This training gave Educators the required knowledge and skills to manage their own fertility plots assessing the impact of fall fertilization for stockpiled forage production.  The Initial results of this thrust has gathered over 2,200 sample points in 42 Oklahoma counties across three warm season grass species.  On-going work will take this data to Oklahoma producers through news articles, an OSU factsheet, videos, website content and posters.

    SARE funding was used to purchase signage that was installed at each county research plot location offering an increase in outreach and education capabilities.  These signs will continue to be used in future trials hosted by each Educator.  At the initial outservice meeting, a presentation was held to discuss the Southern SARE granting opportunities for on-farm research.  Additionally, the OkSARE PDP program has made provisions to assist with the sharing of supplies between these demonstration sites to further leverage the funds needed for this program. 

    It is important to note that at this time, several of the county educators that have cooperated with this program report that they have had more than 100 site visits by producers and stakeholders.  This is an increase from the normal attendance at county field days and farm tours.  These demonstrations have proven very popular as they allow attendance as an individual schedule allows.  Most of the Educators have printed educational materials available at their sites to explain the demonstration and encourage readers to contact them with any questions. 

Community-based market for fruit and vegetable production and the production and marketing of organic products
Objective:

To ensure that twenty educators would receive training on community-based markets for fruit and vegetable production.

Description:
  1.  The OSU Market Garden School which is historically supported by the OkSARE PDP program and offered in conjunction with Langston University was held virtually this year.
  2. The Organic Oklahoma Conference was not held in 2020.
  3. The SSAWG Conference has been cancelled permanently.
  4. The Horticulture Industries Conference for 2021 has been cancelled.
Organic production and marketing of agricultural products
Objective:

That thirty agriculture professionals will be able to provide information and education on organic certified production and marketing of agricultural products.

Description:
  1.  The WWAREC Honey Bee Project:  Development of cropping systems to provide season-long forage for Honey bees is in it's second cycle located in Lane, Oklahoma.  Dr. Jim Shrefler, Area Extension Horticulture Specialist has established and maintained certified organic acres with respect to fertility and cover cropping in an attempt to provide extended periods of forage production for honeybee populations.  Each year he has held a field day to discuss the status of this effort for Educators and other identified stakeholders.
Outcomes and impacts:

The learning and action outcomes and impact of this initiative thus far are as follows:

  1. The biggest challenge to maintaining healthy and productive honey bee colonies is the continuous availability of an adequate quality food supply for bees during the period from April through October.  Food needs include nectar and pollen.  When honey bees cannot find sufficient nectar and pollen supplies, hive growth is slowed, colony strength is reduced, and honey production is limited and may actually be consumed by the bees.  Adequate honey production is critical to get the bees through the winter months when there is no forage available.  In southeastern Oklahoma this is estimated to be about 60 pounds of honey required for an average colony.  In order to harvest honey from the hive for marketing without jeopardizing colony strength, additional honey production is required.  Under ideal conditions, an established hive with ~70,000 bees can produce 50 or more pounds above the 60 pounds required for over-wintering.  Bee population maintenance during the winter is critical not only for winter survival but also to have the early season (April) bee population required for colonies to produce the new season maintenance honey and additional honey for harvest.   If hives are too small the colony is as risk of not surviving.  During a typical summer such small hives produce honey during April and May, bees consume honey in June, and then bees are at risk of starvation by July.  This is especially true of a young (newly established) hive during a “typical” summer when rainfall is scarce after May, resulting in limited summer food availability.  Small hives require supplemental feeding using pure cane sugar solutions containing Honey-B-Healthy to build the required comb and store enough honey for overwintering, which means additional labor and monetary expense for the bee keeper. 

    An initial outreach activity was a presentation on the project overview and preliminary results that was made to County Extension Educators in November of 2019.  During 2020, brief mention of aspects of the project, such as pest incidence in the crops was made from time to time during in-service training sessions for County Extension Educators.  Due to the public health situation of 2020, no on-site training was scheduled. 

    Crop Planting and Honey bee hives in 2020:

    To control Varroa mites, weekly treatments (three total) of Oxalic Acid were applied to each hive starting 10 March 2020.  About 15 March, began feeding using 2 parts pure cane sugar and 1 part water plus Honey-B-Healthy.  Fed five 5-gallon buckets up until 15 April when the honey supers were put on Hives JH-2 and JH-3.  On 19 May, bees in JH #2 swarmed taking a lot of honey and bees from the hive.  Below are selected notes on each hive over the summer of 2020.

    Hive #B

    On 13 May, caught a swarm of bees in Trap Box #44 and transferred it to the Bruton/Morgan Apiary in Atoka to transfer to a Deep Hive Box (Hive #B).  On 22 June, Hive #B was transferred to the Lane Research Station.  Placed inside-hive feeder in the hive and added about one gallon of 1-to-1 sugar

    water plus Honey-B-Healthy. Attempts were made to fill the inside hive feeder on a weekly basis.  On 24 July, the bees were pulling comb on several frames.  This hive was pulling a lot of comb and had a great laying pattern.  Excellent hive.   On 28 August, bees had pulled out 8 of 9 frames in the second deep hive box

    Hive JH#2

    Placed honey supers on Hives JH-2 on 15 April.  On 06 May, JH #2 had about 8 frames of mostly capped honey in honey super #1.  On 09 May put honey super #2 on hive.  On 07 September, there were about 6 frames in honey super #1 with capped honey.  On 27 September, 18 lbs of honey were harvested from honey super #1.

    Hive JH#3

    Placed honey supers on Hives JH-3 on 15 April.  On 06 May, just about all 9 frames in honey super #1 were nearly full of nectar.  Nothing capped yet.  On 09 May, put on honey super #2.  On 31 May, there were 3-4 frames with nectar in honey super #2.  On 08 June, there was some nectar in most frames in honey super #2.  Little Capped Honey in two or three Frames.  On 22 June, there was nectar in about 7 of 9 frames in second honey super.  On 24 July, there were 5-6 frames with some capped honey.  On 07 September, there was about 8 frames of capped honey in honey super #1.  On 27 September, 20 lbs of honey were harvested from honey super #1.

    Hive JH#4

    On 18 May, traveled to Ada, OK to pick up three NUCs (JH-4, OSU #Y, OSU #Z) and set up at the Lane Research Station.  Placed inside-hive feeder in the hive and added about one gallon of 1-to-1 sugar water plus Honey-B-Healthy.  Attempts were made to fill the inside hive feeder on a weekly basis.  On 25 July, bees had pulled comb on 5 frames in second deep hive box.  Couple of frames had capped honey.  On 28 August, bees had pulled out 6 of 8 frames in second deep hive box.

    Hive OSU #Y

    On 18 May, traveled to Ada, OK to pick up three NUCs (JH-4, OSU #Y, OSU #Z) and set up at the Lane Research Station.

    Placed inside-hive feeder in the hive and added about one gallon of 1-to-1 sugar water plus Honey-B-Healthy.  Attempts were made to fill the inside hive feeder on a weekly basis.  On 25 July, bees had pulled comb on 6-7 frames in second deep hive box with a lot of capped honey.  On 28 August, bees had pulled out 6 or 9 frames in second deep hive box. 

    Hive OSU #Z

    On 18 May, traveled to Ada, OK to pick up three NUCs (JH-4, OSU #Y, OSU #Z) and set up at the Lane Research Station.  Placed inside-hive feeder in the hive and added about one gallon of 1-to-1 sugar water plus Honey-B-Healthy.  Attempts were made to fill the inside hive feeder on a weekly basis.  On 25 July, bees had not pulled any comb on the second deep hive box.  On 28 August, bees had not pulled any comb in second deep hive box.  Laying pattern of the queen was no satisfactory.  Too late to buy a queen.  On 15 October, the second deep hive box was removed and an inside hive feeder was placed on top of the frames.  The feeder contained pure cane sugar and wetted with a 1-1 sugar solution plus Honey-B-Healthy.  A spacer was placed on the hive to accommodate the inside hive feeder which is a relatively dry feeder.

    Crops planted in early 2020 included Phycelia, tanacetifolia (tansy), white clover, and sesame (Table 3).  In early spring through the middle of June, white clover appeared to be the primary foraging crop for the bees.  Although crimson clover is reported to be an excellent forage crop for bees, most of the activity was on the white clover.  Tansy was planted in May but it failed to come up.  Sesame is supposed to be pretty good forage plant for bees.  However, there didn’t seem to be a lot of bee activity on the sesame.  Since buckwheat is known to be very attractive to honey bees, plantings were made on an approximately every 30 days from May to September.  One of the problems with buckwheat is that it produces nectar during the morning hours primarily.  It has become clear that more acreage will be required to yield good honey production. 

    Crops Planted in 2021

    The crops planted in 2021 are buckwheat, coriander, and common borage.  The white clover will provide plenty of forage up until about 15 June.

    A minimum of around 10 acres will be required to produce sufficient forage for six hives. (A reduction in nectar and honey was observed after about 15 June.)  Need more acreage!  For honey production, bee population is everything, flower population is everything, nectar production is everything, and season-long availability is everything.  At present, it appears that we have sufficient forage up until around 01 June.  At that point, it will be necessary (in most years) to have about 10 acres of forage from May through October.  A really good hive with plenty of forage can produce 50+ lbs of honey in a season.  A bee producer can make about $750 not counting expenses.

Educational & Outreach Activities

89 Consultations
48 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
15 Minigrants
56 On-farm demonstrations
12 Online trainings
76 Published press articles, newsletters
59 Tours
33 Webinars / talks / presentations
27 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

96 Extension
7 NRCS
12 Researchers
12 Nonprofit
8 Agency
132 Farmers/ranchers
9 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

8 Grants received that built upon this project
36 New working collaborations
88 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
108 Farmers reached through participant's programs

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

The face of the OkSARE PDP varies from program to program.  When an event is identified as meeting one of our identified subject areas and objectives, one of the OkSARE cooperators will meet with the planning group of the event to determine how the OkSARE PDP can assist with their program.  This participation can and does take several forms:  a speaker/session may be developed and supported, travel scholarships may be offered for Educators and mentor farmers, administrative services may be performed by the state program assistant to facilitate the training, educational materials may be produced and distributed in support of the event. As demonstrated previously in this report, the OkSARE PDP takes an active role in various programs which are identified by the members of our Advisory Committee within their specialized focus groups. Our efforts have proven very successful in meeting the objectives which are targeted specifically to those program area topics as dictated by this same Advisory Committee. The information and results from SARE activities is distributed and promoted through announcements, field days, presentations at conferences and other appropriate events. Fact sheets, production manuals and handbooks have historically been generated as a direct result of this work. These materials are then posted on our mobile print-on-demand (PODS) website sponsored by the Oklahoma County Extension Service. Announcements are sent out to all extension personnel when new materials are ready for distribution and the Educators may then request copies of these products. One of the most efficient and popular methods for assimilating information regarding OkSARE cooperative trainings has been the use of social media. Various cooperators maintain Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook pages where announcements are routinely sent out with links back to program information and pertinent materials. If funding permits, these materials are printed and distributed to target audiences at sustainable agriculture events such as the Master Irrigators Training and the Market Garden Training. Southern SARE provided materials are also made available to all new Educators and presented for distribution at targeted meetings through the state.

138 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.