2018 Model State Program Report

Final report for STX18-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $55,396.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Texas A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
State Coordinator:
Dr. Diane Boellstorff
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
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Project Information

Abstract:

The Texas Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee meets annually to oversee the state program for training agricultural professionals in concepts of sustainable agriculture. For the reporting period, the program involved a multifaceted effort that provided opportunities to be trained or to participate in delivering training for mentor producers, county Extension agents, various groundwater district personnel, NRCS personnel, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality personnel, Texas Alliance of Groundwater District personnel, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation personnel, Soil and Water Conservation District personnel, NGOs (including World Hunger Relief and the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition) and other agricultural professionals (including the Producers Resources and Sustainability consulting company) and also incorporates concepts of sustainable agriculture in existing, statewide training efforts. These training opportunities include conferences, field meetings and workshops held at various locations in Texas.

Another approach of the Texas Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee is to support travel of selected professionals to regional and national conferences on sustainable agriculture, with the intent of participants gaining knowledge and skills that they will share with other agricultural professionals in Texas.

Program evaluation was accomplished with pre- and post-tests designed to measure knowledge gained by participating in educational programs. A subset of attendees are e-mailed an additional survey instrument four to eight months after the training to determine if participants have adopted any of the sustainable concepts presented. The aim of the evaluation is assess knowledge gained and to determine whether the new knowledge is being applied in new or ongoing programs for their clientele.

Project Objectives:

1) Annually conduct training for new employees of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (AgriLife) and the Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) at Prairie View A&M University regarding sustainable agricultural practices and Southern Region SARE programs. Goal of training 20 new employees.

2) Annually include USDA -Farm Service Agency (FSA), USDA- Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Credit System personnel in seminars and trainings regarding sustainable agriculture practices and Southern Region SARE programs held locally or on a state-wide basis. Goal of training 20 USDA and Farm Credit personnel.

3) Annually participate in three outreach efforts, such as field days and industry conferences, to inform producers and agricultural professionals regarding the SARE program. Goal of reaching 500 agricultural professionals.

4) Maintain a website to provide timely and updated information related to SARE and the SARE grant program to Texas clientele. Goal of 500 “hits” on updated website.

5) Annually conduct training for Extension agents and agency staffs to learn to instruct socially disadvantaged
farmers, landowners and community leaders, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, women and persons who have limited resources of land, labor and capital regarding sustainable agriculture practices and Southern Region SARE programs. Goal of training 20 Extension agents and/or agency personnel.

Introduction:

The program involves a multifaceted effort that provides training opportunities for County Extension Agents, FSA personnel, NRCS personnel, producers, and other agricultural professionals and also incorporates concepts of sustainable agriculture in existing, state-wide training efforts. These training opportunities include conferences, field meetings and workshops held at various locations in Texas.

Projects designed to train Extension agents from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension will meet agents requests for sustainable information to assist local farmers. Concepts of sustainable agriculture have been and will continue to be disseminated through new agents’ training, leadership training, seminars, workshops, farm tours, publications, websites, manuals, videos and other events (e-mail, telephone contacts, farm visits, etc.).

Sustainable agriculture training for agents, agency personnel and mentor farmers should show impacts across Texas with advances in the areas of food and fiber production, environmental awareness and protection, organic, IPM and alternate production methods, marketing, farmer cooperation and development of multi-disciplinary teams to reach common goals. Administrative success stories and awards should reflect these programs teaching sustainable practices.

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Juan Anciso
  • Brent Batchler (Educator)
  • Kim Benton (Farmer/Rancher) (Educator)
  • James Cates (Farmer)
  • Susan Beckwith (Farmer)
  • Dr. Diane Boellstorff (Educator)
  • Mark Burow (Farmer)
  • Mark Chavett (Farmer)
  • Dr. Megan Clayton (Educator)
  • Dr. Jason Cleere (Rancher)
  • Dr. Doug Constance (Educator)
  • Mandy Krause (Rancher)
  • Travis Krause (Rancher)
  • Johnie DeBera (Rancher)
  • Kevin Crosby (Educator)
  • Dr. Nelson Daniels (Educator)
  • Steadman Douglas (Educator)
  • Dr. Monty Dozier (Educator)
  • Rebekka Dudensing (Educator)
  • Marvin Ensor (Rancher)
  • Ruby Dunlap
  • Sam Feagley (Gardener)
  • Ben Godfrey (Farmer/Rancher)
  • Mengmeng Gu (Educator)
  • Jennifer Herrera (Educator)
  • Horace Hodge
  • Boone Holladay (Educator)
  • Mary Holliman (Educator)
  • Brent Johnson (Farmer)
  • Searcy Jordan (Rancher)
  • Jackie King (Farmer)
  • Susie Marshall
  • Dr. Patrick Lillard
  • Dr. Joe Masabni (Educator)
  • Laura Miller (Educator)
  • Rene McCracken(Farmer/Rancher) (Educator)
  • Jerome Peters(Farmer)
  • Betsy Pierson (Educator)
  • Robert "Skip" Richter (Educator)
  • Dr. Reid Redden (Educator)
  • Andrew Smiley
  • Allen Smith (Educator)
  • John Smith (Educator)
  • Barbara Storz (Farmer)
  • Brad Stufflebeam(Farmer)
  • Leo Williams (Rancher)
  • Peter Woods (Educator)
  • Dr. Louis Nuti (Educator)
  • Mike Morris (Educator)
  • Dr. Craig Coufal (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

Texas SARE serves as a leader for training Texas agricultural professionals regarding concepts of sustainable agriculture. For the reporting period, the program involved a multifaceted effort that provided opportunities to be trained or to participate in delivering training for mentor producers, county Extension agents, various groundwater district personnel, NRCS personnel, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality personnel, Texas Alliance of Groundwater District personnel, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation personnel, Soil and Water Conservation District personnel, NGOs (including World Hunger Relief and the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition) and other agricultural professionals (including the Producers Resources and Sustainability consulting company) and also incorporates concepts of sustainable agriculture in existing, statewide training efforts. These training opportunities include conferences, field meetings and workshops held at various locations in Texas. Another approach of the Texas Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee is to support travel of selected professionals to regional and national conferences on sustainable agriculture, with the intent of participants gaining knowledge and skills that they will share with other agricultural professionals in Texas.

Program evaluation was accomplished with pre- and post-tests measuring knowledge gained by participating in educational programs. The aim of the evaluation is to assess knowledge gained and to determine whether new knowledge will be applied by participants.

The Texas Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee (AC) conducted their annual meetings in Prairie View on 25 January 2018 and 24 January 2019 to plan training opportunities in sustainability. The Texas AC sponsored training activities related to the USDA-SARE program, grant opportunities, organic vegetable production and marketing, and sustainable systems.

Emphasis was also placed on outreach efforts to increase awareness of Texas SARE. These included establishing and manning an educational display at the Houston Food Policy Conference, Texas Organic Farmer Gardener Conference, Beef Cattle Shortcourse and the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association Conference. Our outreach efforts were supported through update and maintenance of the Texas SARE program website.  In 2018 there were 30,387 visits.  The Texas SARE website can be found at http://sare.tamu.edu.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Grass-fed Beef training
Objective:

Participants learn about proper stockpiling of forages to safeguard continued forage availability for finishing cattle, as well as science-based information regarding carcass preparation. The training was held in the Texas A and M Rosenthal Meats Center and included a demonstration emphasizing the proportion of total meat product derived from end rather than middle meats in the fabrication of a side of beef.

Description:

Texas SARE worked closely to assist Dr. Jason Cleere in many ways in coordinating the Grass-fed Beef training held in the Rosenthal Meat Science lab on the TAMU campus.  Dr. Cleere also is a Texas SARE AC member.  Texas SARE also provided assistance with press release development and financial support for the conference.  Texas SARE also provided the SARE book Farmers’ Guide to Business Structures for each participant. Participants learned about proper stockpiling of forages to safeguard continued forage availability for finishing cattle, as well as science-based information on carcass preparation that included a demonstration emphasizing the proportion of total meat product derived from end rather than middle meats in the fabrication of a side of beef.  The training was held in the Texas A and M Rosenthal Meats Center.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants including county Extension agents and mentor ranchers will apply and share the information delivered at the conference.  The training was held in the Texas A and M Rosenthal Meats Center. Six Extension agent employees, 24 mentor ranchers and 42 others attended.

TWON Water Quality in Hamilton, Texas
Objective:

Provide well water screening and train-the-trainer programming by delivering critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith, Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson and Ryan Gerlich provided well water screening and train-the-trainer programming by delivering critical information for private well owners, watershed coordinators, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. Also, Andy James, Leon River Watershed Coordinator described local aquifer characteristics as well as aquifers of Texas. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers and county Extension agents plan to use information presented regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. One agent, four mentor farmers and 14 others attended.

Battleground to Breaking Ground
Objective:

Texas SARE partnered with Melissa Blair, USDA, to provide SARE resources for a Battleground to Breaking Ground veteran program.

Description:

Texas and Southern SARE provided 80 SARE books for the Battleground to Breaking Ground program for veterans in cooperation with Texas AgrAbility, USDA, NCAT, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Farm Credit, and Alamo SWCD#330. Veterans learned about Texas AgrAbility, details regarding the Battleground to Breaking Ground Project, rural business ideas, the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, veterans in production agriculture, and business planning basics.

Outcomes and impacts:

Texas SARE partnered with Melissa Blair, USDA-NRCS Public Affairs Specialist and State Earth Team Coordinator, to provide learning opportunities for veterans with 80 SARE books that were used in the Battleground to Breaking Ground program.  Books included 20 copies of Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 30 copies of Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities and 30 copies of The Farmers Market. 

Texas County Agriculture Agents Association-Denison
Objective:

Staff a Texas SARE booth to share county Extension agent sustainable agriculture training opportunities available through SARE and grant opportunities for agents' farmers to use to solve sustainable agriculture problems they might be experiencing.

Description:

The Texas SARE booth showcases training opportunities through SARE train-the-trainer programs as well as provides information regarding On-Farm Research and Producer Grant opportunities. Furthermore, agents were asked what training topics were important to them. Information regarding water management practices continued to be requested, both for agricultural irrigation water quality, as well as rain water havesting. Also, Texas Extension agents were encouraged to register for the SARE/NACAA Sustainable Agriculture Fellows program. Many of the agents participated in Texas hosting the Fellows program in 2017, and so they were asked to share information about their experiences and about the Fellows program with others.

Outcomes and impacts:

Agents learned about SARE training opportunities, with special focus on the the SARE Fellows program. Many of the agents had been involved with the Texas SARE/NACAA Sustainable Agriculture Fellows program in May 2017 and so were able to speak from direct, personal experience. Agents also learned about both grant and train-the-trainer opportunities with SARE. The number of agents attending was 180.

Funding Assistance Overview for Agriculture Producers and Youth in Agriculture
Objective:

Present information on the different SARE grants, and different loans and cost share programs that are offered by the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Description:

Dr. Nelson Daniels, Texas SARE state co-coordinator, provided information on SARE grants, and other grants, loans and cost share offered by USDA Farm Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Department of Agriculture and emergency assistance for commercial producers. Information was also provided on feral hog management and theTexas AgrAbility project. The training included women and minorities including beginning farmers/ranchers and mentor farmers/ranches. Some of those trained plan to present the information to others.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including both beginning and mentor farmers/ranchers, and master gardeners. The 14 county Extension agents will use and share the information received regarding the suitability practices as well as funding sources.

Well water quality training in Perryton and Stratford
Objective:

Provide well water screening and train-the-trainer programming by delivering critical information for private well owners and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith provided well water screening and train-the-trainer programming by delivering critical information for private well owners and county Extension agents regarding best management practices for private water wells. Julia Stanford, conservation outreach specialist for the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District (GCD), spoke regarding the suitability of local well water from the Ogallala aquifer for sustainable agricultural irrigation and domestic purposes, and plans for its sustainability. The North Plains GCD offered to provide follow-up testing for the arsenic problems the well water screening program identified. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees and provided John Smith’s travel as well as part of his salary.

Outcomes and impacts:

Private well owners and county Extension agents plan to apply and share the information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. SARE funding supported travel expenses and part of John Smith’s salary. One agent, five mentor farmers and 34 others attended. Post-tests indicated that all attendees increased their knowledge. Participants said the program value for their participation was $677 each or $34,541 total for the program.

Water quality training in Canadian and Wheeler
Objective:

Provide well water screening and train-the-trainer programming by delivering critical information for private well owners and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith provided well water screening and train-the-trainer programming by delivering critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers, master gardeners and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. Janet Guthrie, General Manager, Hemphill Underground Water Conservation District, spoke regarding district efforts to protect and preserve water quantity and quality in the area for many purposes, including irrigation. Also shared were the District’s plans in place to continue to provide high quality, sustainable sources of groundwater for producers and others. SARE funding supported the distribution of the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply  to attendees. SARE also supported travel costs and part of John Smith’s salary.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers, master gardeners and county Extension agents plan to use the information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to participants. SARE also supported travel costs and part of John Smith’s salary. Two agents and 26 others attended. A survey of participants indicated that they valued the program at an average of $1,214 each or $80,138 total for the program.

Well Water quality training in Bushland
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivering critical information for private well owners, watershed coordinators, groundwater conservation district personnel, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith, Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson and Ryan Gerlich provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including providing critical information to private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, a Texas Parks and Wildlife employee. C.E. Williams, general manager of Panhandle Underground Conservation District (the original water conservation district in Texas, formed in January, 1956), spoke regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, and District plans for protecting the Ogallala aquifer. In addition, a representative of the largest GCD in Texas, the High Plains Groundwater Conservation District’s educational coordinator, spoke regarding efforts of their district efforts to protect and preserve water quantity and quality in the area for many purposes, including irrigation. Also shared were the District’s plans to continue to provide high quality, sustainable sources of groundwater for producers and others. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. SARE also supported part of John Smith’s salary as well as shipping expenses for delivery of water collection vessels distributed in the weeks before the meeting.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents plan to use information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. SARE also supported part of John Smith’s salary as well as shipping expenses for delivery of water collection vessels distributed in the weeks before the meeting. Two agents, six mentor farmer/ranchers and 24 others attended.

SARE booth at the Houston Urban Production Conference
Objective:

Present a Texas SARE booth to highlight sustainable agriculture grant opportunities available through SARE and grant opportunities for farmers to use to solve sustainable agriculture problems they might be experiencing through the On-Farm Research or the Producer grant.

Description:

The Texas SARE booth showcases grant opportunities through SARE grant programs and specifically provides information regarding On-Farm Research and Producer Grant opportunities.  SARE educational materials also were distributed by Dr. Nelson Daniels.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants learned about SARE training opportunities and grant opportunities to the 73 present available.

Well Water quality training in Bellville
Objective:

Provide well water screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson, Ryan Gerlich and Achla Jha provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. In addition, the Mill Creek Watershed Protection Plan Partnership watershed coordinator spoke regarding efforts to protect and preserve water quality in the area for many purposes, including irrigation. Also, the general manager of the Bluebonnet Groundwater Conservation District described plans to continue to provide high quality, sustainable sources of water for producers and others.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents will use and share the information received regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. Two agents, 19 mentor farmers/master gardeners and 42 others attended.

Agent training Well Water quality in Rosenburg
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and a county Extension agent regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson and Ryan Gerlich provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical training for the county Extension agents regarding the proper management of water resources. In addition, Ward Ling, the Geronimo and Alligator Creek Watershed Protection Plan Partnership watershed coordinator spoke regarding efforts to protect and preserve water quality in the area for many purposes, including irrigation. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participating county Extension agents plan to apply and share information received regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to 15 Extension agents.

Beef Cattle Short Course - College Station
Objective:

Staff a Texas SARE booth to share sustainable agriculture training opportunities available through SARE and grant opportunities for farmers to use to solve sustainable agriculture problems they might be experiencing. At the booth, John Smith recorded attendees’ responses regarding what SARE training they would like to see be made available.

Description:

The Texas SARE booth showcases training opportunities through SARE train-the-trainer programs as well as provides information regarding On-Farm Research and Producer Grant opportunities. Furthermore,, 97 SARE soil boopublications were distributed to the 1,700 attendees.  Texas SARE AC member Dr. Jason Cleere directs organization of the Short Course. Dr. Jake Mowrer, SARE Cover Crop Council, presented a cover crops break-out session.

Outcomes and impacts:

Agents and mentor ranchers also learned about both grant and train-the-trainer opportunities with SARE.  Agents in attendance, learned about SARE training opportunities, with special focus on the the SARE Fellows program. Many of the agents had been involved with the Texas SARE Fellows tour in May 2017 and so were able to speak from direct, personal experience.

Sheep and Goat Expo - San Angelo
Objective:

Participants learn about sustainable production of Wool Sheep, Hair Sheep and Meat Goat production

Description:

Texas SARE worked with Dr. Reid Redden, Extension Sheep and Goat Specialist and Texas AC member, and Marvin Ensor, also a Texas AC member, to coordinate the conference. Texas SARE delivered train-the-trainer programming to Extension agents and mentor farmer/ranchers regarding available SARE grants, with particular emphasis on On-Farm Research and Producer grants.  The conference was structured with three different tracks as participants learned about sustainable production techniques for wool sheep, hair sheep or meat goat production. Session included: 1) Path to plate – sheep and goat industry overview on how to local market, 2) feral hogs,3) hair sheep management 101, and4) physiological selection to assist with disease control and prevention.

Reid Redden, Texas SARE AC member, spoke on how to have a 150% lamb crop. SARE funded part of John Smith’s salary and travel costs. The Expo is unique in that it offers hands-on activities and interaction with the speaker for participants. The conference’s very active planning committee considers it a standing priority to secure top industry speakers and to keep the topics new or approached from different perspectives than previously. A SARE training was provided during the Expo on Producer and On-Farm Research grants.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants including mentor farmers/ranchers and county Extension agents learned about sustainable production techniques for Wool Sheep, Hair Sheep and Meat Goat production. Twenty-five agents, 90 mentor ranchers and 118 others attended. Ninety-one percent of the sheep and goat producers attending the conference plan to adopt at least one practice or technology learned about during the event. Eighty percent of attendees anticipate an economic benefit from implementing information gained at the expo.

Well water quality training - Odessa and San Angelo
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivering critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson and Ryan Gerlich provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivering critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.  Allen Lang, the general manager of the Lipan-Kickapoo Water Conservation District; Winton Milliff, Coke County Underground Water Conservation District (UWCD); Scott Holland, general manager of both Sterling County UWCD and Irion County Water Conservation District described qualities of the local aquifer and their Districts’ services available to producers including requirements for registering a well or acquiring a permit to irrigate. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers and county Extension agents plan to use and share information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. Two agents, 10 mentor farmers and 73 others attended.

Small Acreage Horticulture Conference - Weslaco
Objective:

Inform producers regarding alternative marketing opportunities and the SARE grant program.

Description:

Dr. Joseph Masabni, Texas SARE AC member, provided training on grafting tomatoes, and Dr. Juan Anciso, SARE AC member, provided a training titled, “Food Safety for Direct Sales” targeting beginning and mentor producers. Producers were also provided training through a presentation titled, “Marketing by Taste with Fresh Foods.” Producers also received training through programs titled, 1) Vegetable Market Outlook, 2) On the Farm Pest Management, and 3) Vegetable Initiative Research.

Outcomes and impacts:

Mentor farmers and county Extension agents plan to implement and share the information delivered regarding the suitability of production practices for sustainable agricultural production. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to the 32 attendees.

Well water quality training - Caldwell and Milano
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

Diane Boellstorff and Drew Gholson provided well water sample testing and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. Gary Westbrook, general manager, and Bobby Bazan, the water resources management specialist for the Post Oak Groundwater Conservation District described plans to continue to provide high quality, sustainable sources of water for producers and others, and the District well registration/permitting process. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents will apply and share information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. One agent, 20 mentor ranchers/farmers and 63 others attended.

Well water quality training - Carthage
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson and Ryan Gerlich provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivering critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. Teresa Griffin, the general manager of the Panola County Groundwater Conservation District (GCD) described services available to well owners, aquifer status and characteristics, and regulations for registering private water wells or applying for a permit for an irrigation well. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, watershed coordinators, GCD personnel, and county Extension agents will use and share information received regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. One agent, 10 mentor farmers/master gardeners and 42 others attended.

Well water quality training - Leming and San Antonio
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, fishermen, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. In addition, Lee Marlowe, the sustainable landscape ecologist for San Antonio River Authority Environmental Sciences spoke regarding efforts of the San Antonio River Watershed Protection Plan Partnership to protect and preserve water quality for many purposes, including irrigation. Roger Andrade, groundwater protection manager with the Edwards Aquifer Authority described qualities of the aquifer and the Aquifer Authority’s pupose. Also, Chris McFarlane, the Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District assistant manager, described the local aquifer, District services available to producers, and requirements for registering a well or acquiring a permit to irrigate. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, fishermen, master farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents will apply and share information received regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to 49 attendees. Survey participants from Bexar county indicated they valued program at an average of $900 or $28,788. Atascosa county participants indicated they valued the training at an average of $595 or $10,121 total value for the program.

Well Water quality training in Beeville
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson and Ryan Gerlich provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. SARE funded shipping costs for water collection vessels distributed in the weeks before the meeting. SARE funding also provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available toattendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners and county Extension agents will use and share information received regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to 41 attendees.

Well water quality training in Burnet, Kingsland, Mason and San Saba
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith and Drew Gholson provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners,  and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. SARE provided part of John Smith’s salary.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents plan to apply and share information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. One agent, 10 mentor farmer/gardeners and 138 others attended. Surveyed Burnet, Kingsland, Mason and San Saba County participants valued their participation at an average of $600 or $82,807 total for the program.

Well water quality training - Lufkin
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson and Ryan Gerlich provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. In addition, the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Protection Plan Partnership Watershed Coordinator spoke regarding efforts to protect and preserve water quality in the area for many purposes, including irrigation. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents will apply and share information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. One agent, 20 mentor farmers/master gardeners and 28 others attended.

Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Conference
Objective:

Staff a Texas SARE booth to share sustainable agriculture training opportunities available through SARE and grant opportunities for farmers to use to solve sustainable agriculture problems they might be experiencing.

Description:

The Texas SARE booth showcases training opportunities through SARE train-the-trainer programs as well as provides information regarding On-Farm Research and Producer Grant opportunities. At the booth, John Smith recorded attendees’ responses regarding what SARE training they would like to see be made available.

Outcomes and impacts:

Agents and mentor ranchers also learned about both grant and train-the-trainer opportunities with SARE. Furthermore, 125 SARE publications were distributed to the 137 attendees.

Well water quality training - Marlin, McKinney, Midlothian and Southlake
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming by delivering critical information for private well owners, mentor ranchers/farmers and county Extension agents regarding best management practices for private water wells and the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

Diane Boellstorff, Drew Gholson, Ryan Gerlich and Achla Jha provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming by delivering critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. In addition, the Village Creek-Lake Arlington Watershed Coordinator spoke regarding efforts of the Village Creek-Lake Arlington Watershed Protection Plan Partnership to protect and preserve water quality in the area for many purposes, including irrigation. Also, the general manager of the Northern Trinity Groundwater Conservation District described the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on local groundwater quality. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. Also, SARE funding supported shipping expenses for delivery of water collection vessels distributed in the weeks before the meeting.

Outcomes and impacts:

Private well owners, mentor farmers, and county Extension agents plan to use and share information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. Four agents, one Environmental Protection Agency employee, 17 mentor farmers and 49 others attended.

The 34th annual Fort Bend Regional Vegetable Farming Training - Rosenburg
Objective:

Agents and other participants learn about sustainable vegetable production through a series of break-out sessions.

Description:

Boone Holladay, Ft. Bend County Extension Agent for Horticulture, is coordinator of one of the largest and best vegetable garden trainings in Texas.  Through Southern SARE training funds, Boone has continued to keep up to date and expand his knowledge by attending a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference, the 2016 Southern Cover Crop Conference, and a Texas Organic Farmer and Gardener Association annual meeting. SARE also provided books for break-out sessions for the attendees. Presentations at the 2018 conference included: FSMA Update, Nurturing Soil Health, Pest Scouting, and a Latest Laws and Regulations Update.

Outcomes and impacts:

Agents and participants attended a variety of break-out session on sustainable vegetable production. Information will be used and shared by participants and/or to train others. Ten agents, 21 mentor farmer/gardeners and 190 others attended. SARE provided much-appreciated books for break-out sessions for the attendees.

Well water quality training - Linden
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. In addition, SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. SARE also funded John Smith’s travel costs and part of his salary. SARE provided shipping expenses for delivery of water collection vessels distributed in the weeks before the meeting.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents will apply and share information delivered regarding best management practices for private water wells and the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. Two agents, 15 mentor farmers/ranchers and 19 others participated. A survey of participants indicated that they valued the program at an average of $1,214 each or $80,138 total for the program.

Well water quality training in Jacksboro, Palo Pinto and Granbury
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith and Diane Boellstorff provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. SARE provided part of John Smith’s salary.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents plan to apply and share information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. Three agents, 10 mentor farmer gadeners and 37 others attended

Well water quality training in Decatur, Texas
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming through delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. In addition, Doug Shaw, the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District General Manager explained the increase in the amount of water production from the Trinity Aquifer going from the west side to the east side of the county. He also mention that Wise county has the seventh most number of new wells in Texas being drilled at 374 in 2017. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. SARE funded John Smith’s travel costs and part of his salary.  SARE also provided shipping expenses for delivery of water collection vessels distributed in the weeks before the meeting.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, Master Gardeners, and county Extension agents will apply and share information delivered regarding best management practices for private water wells and the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. Two agents, 15 mentor farmers/ranchers and 19 others participated.

Well water quality training in Weatherford, Texas
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivery of critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including critical information for private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. In addition, Doug Shaw, the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District General Manager brought the District trailer to exhibit groundwater models, displays and videos. SARE funding provided the Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply that was made available to attendees. SARE also funded John Smith’s travel costs and shipping expenses for delivery of water collection vessels distributed in the weeks before the meeting. Screenings in Glen Rose, Granbury, Weatherford and Montague were scheduled for the same week for efficient use of SARE funds.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, mentor farmers/ranchers, master gardeners and county Extension agents will use and share information delivered regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. Three agents, 31 mentor farmers/gardeners and 55 others attended

Well water quality training in Montague, Texas
Objective:

Provide well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivery of critical information for private well owners, USDA personnel, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses.

Description:

John Smith provided well water sample screening and train-the-trainer programming including delivering critical information for private well owners, USDA personnel, and county Extension agents regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District General Manager brought the District trailer exhibiting groundwater models, displays and videos. Also, John Smith coordinated closely with two USDA employees accepting samples to facilitate the program. SARE provided part of John Smith’s salary and travel costs. SARE also provided shipping expenses for delivery of water collection vessels distributed in the week before the meeting.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees including private well owners, USDA personnel, and county Extension agents will apply and share information received regarding the suitability of local well water for sustainable agricultural irrigation purposes, as well as for domestic uses. The Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply was made available to attendees. One agent, two USDA employees and 51 others attended.

Sustainable Agriculture Field Day- Storm Urban Farm, Arlington
Objective:

Provide sustainable agriculture training to agents and producers on a variety of subjects as well as the latest on the Texas FSMA training to the Specialist across Texas

Description:

Topics included: 1) SARE funding opportunities for farmers-Dr. Nelson Daniels; 2) Grafting Vegetables, the Cost and Benefits – Dr. Joe Masabni, Extension Small Acreage Vegetable Specialist, Overton; 3) Food Safety, FSMA, and Water Quality Testing of Irrigation Water – Dr. Juan Anciso, Extension Vegetable Specialist, Weslaco; 4) Bio control of Root Diseases – Dr. Russ Wallace, Vegetable Specialist, Lubbock (delivered his presentation while leading the group through strawberry test plots on-site); 5) Rainwater Harvesting for Farm Use – John Smith, SARE Model State Program assistant; 6) U Pick Your Challenges: Beekeeping and More – Johanna Storm, Manager, Storm Farms; 7) Other Farm Observations – Laura Miller, CEA – Horticulture. A flyer for the event is attached to this report.

Outcomes and impacts:

Excellent program that was very appreciated by those present. Very good interaction with many questions asked and answered. Eleven attendees.Sustainable Agriculture Field Day April 23 2019

Educational & Outreach Activities

344 Consultations
1157 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 Minigrants
3 On-farm demonstrations
3 Online trainings
5 Published press articles, newsletters
4 Study circle/focus groups
4 Tours
4 Travel Scholarships
30 Webinars / talks / presentations
5 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

102 Extension
3 NRCS
8 Researchers
5 Nonprofit
7 Agency
822 Farmers/ranchers
907 Others

Learning Outcomes

1687 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
246 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

1 Grant received that built upon this project
3 New working collaborations
246 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
822 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

Pre/post test administered indicated a 96 percent increase in knowledge of program participants.  

 

Recommendations:

Thank you for providing support to make a difference in Sustainable Agriculture in Texas

 

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

Texas SARE serves as a leader for training Texas agricultural professionals regarding concepts of sustainable agriculture. Cooperative program efforts involved providing opportunities to be trained or to participate in delivering training for mentor producers, county Extension agents, various groundwater district personnel, NRCS personnel, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality personnel, Environmental Protection Agency personnel, Texas Alliance of Groundwater District personnel, River Authority personnel, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation personnel, Soil and Water Conservation District personnel, NGOs (including World Hunger Relief and the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition) and other agricultural professionals (including the Producers Resources and Sustainability consulting company). These training opportunities include conferences, field meetings and workshops held at various locations in Texas and nationwide. The Texas Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee also supports travel of selected professionals to regional and national conferences on sustainable agriculture, with the intention for participants to gain knowledge and skills that they will share with other agricultural professionals in Texas.

 

822 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
246 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.