Progress report for WNC20-107
Missouri SARE plan of work initiatives for the calendar years 2021 and 2022 are:
- Sustainable Crop Production
- Sustainable Livestock Production
- Beginning Farmers, Ranchers, and Local Foods
- Emerging Issues.
Special Note: PDPs were carried forward from 2020 due to Covid -19 issues and the lead organizers desire for these to be face to face trainings. Funding for the carried forward PDPs was budgeted in the 2019-2020 POW and has also been carried forward and included: 1. Hydroponics in Missouri 2. Alfalfa Production in Missouri combine with Sustainable Forage Systems, 3. Sustainable Aquaculture - Shrimp & Fin Fish Production in the Midwest (new website posted https://extension.missouri.edu/programs/aquaculture-extension).
The target Audience for all PDPs: Extension Educators and other agency personnel will be the target audience for all PDPs offered during the 2021-2022 plan of work time frame. Other “agricultural educators” may be included as resources permit. Evaluation: Standard methods will be used for PDP evaluation. Increases in knowledge of the topics of the training will be assessed with a pre-and post-event evaluation/survey and changes in behavior will be evaluated using a 6-9 month post-event survey for all PDPs offered during the 2021-2022 plan of work time frame.
The initiatives and PDP offerings for 2021 - 2022 are: • Initiative #1. Sustainable Crop Production PDP# 1A. - Tree Sap Products for Missouri Forest Farming Enterprises – 2021. The program will consist of three satellite training events and two hands on field workshops to be held in targeted regions with potential for tree syrup production. At least sixty natural resources and agricultural professionals within Missouri Extension, Missouri-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Ten champion foresters, and others will participate. PDP #1B. - Farmers Woodlands and Wildlife – 2022 This PDP will provide the opportunity for Agriculture & Environment field specialists to learn about various woodland and wildlife management practices local producers can implement on their properties. MU Natural Resource Extension faculty will conduct the two-day training event; beginning with lunch on Day 1 and concluding with lunch on Day 2. Individuals from conservation-oriented organizations will also be invited to attend. The target audiences are: LU/MU Agricultural & Environmental Educators, Missouri Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Missouri Department of Conservation personnel. In working with field specialists, we have identified a need for a better understanding of natural resource management, particularly for producers owning a mixed landscape of fields and woodlands. This PDP will increase their awareness of potential natural resource programs and provide them with the tools for fielding questions they may have from producers about various aspects of woodland and wildlife management. Topics will include: • Integrating Woodland and Wildlife Management Practices, Rehabilitating Neglected Woodlands, Improving the Woodland/Field Interface, Woodland/Field Health Threats and Evening Short Program – White Oak, Whiskey, and Wine • Agroforestry Opportunities for Small Farms, Forest Farming Riparian Corridors, Specialty Crops Wind/Odor-breaks. This training will be held in three locations with at least 10 participants each. • Pre- and Post-quizzes will be used to assess knowledge gain of key concepts. A six to nine-month follow-up survey of what woodland/wildlife awareness events they conducted and their impacts will be conducted. Initiative #2. Sustainable Livestock Production PDP #2A - Regulations for Selling Local Foods – 2022. This PDP will be ideal for personnel working in Nutrition and Health, Horticulture, Livestock, Community Development, Business Development, and anyone else who might be answering questions from farmers and/or people who are wanting to sell meat, eggs, milk, or their produce or any other type of food product locally. This includes information on produce safety regulations and marketplace requirements, produce safety best practices, providing safe samples at farmers markets and related venues, food labeling requirements, regulations for selling canned foods and other foods, regulations for selling meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, requirements for an inspected kitchen, and shared use kitchens. As a result of this ISE, attendees will be more aware of the resources (fact sheets, curricula, trainings, trainers, people to ask questions to) that MU Extension has related to food safety for selling food products. – Londa Nwadike, lead. PDP #2B - Marketing for the Small Farm – 2022. The PDP leaders will work together to coordinate a 1-day hands-on training on marketing plan development, effective social media utilization, writing impactful copy, and crafting sales messaging. The objective of this training is to offer extension educators, agency partners and farmers a comprehensive course on developing a marketing plan, utilizing social media and email effectively, and marketing and selling products through online channels. In turn, educators and agency partners will be able to conduct trainings and educate farmers on how to effectively market their farm and farm products. Justification: Farmers, extension educators and agency partners are adept at horticulture, plant science, funding, soil health and a myriad of other agriculture related fields. However, a key area of expertise in which they lack training is marketing. During the course of their education the target audience will learn how to develop a marketing plan, how to utilize social media effectively, and how to increase sales through online channels. Outcomes: Extension educators will increase their knowledge and awareness of the economic and promotional benefits of an integrated marketing strategy. They will also learn the steps involved in creating this marketing strategy and key ingredients in having an effective marketing strategy. As a result of this training workshop: 1. Extension specialists will be able to make more informed recommendations about marketing to growers and other stakeholders. 2. At least 10 participants will be expected to give at least one recommendation, on the subject, to at least one grower, and/or write at least one newsletter article on the subject. 3. At least 10 educators will conduct workshops that will include at least one topic covered in this workshop. 4. All educators will improve their ability to assist growers and members of the public on effective marketing strategies. Interviews and surveys will be used to evaluate the impact of this ISE project. Increase in knowledge of the topics of the training will be assessed with a pre-and post-event evaluation. Survey and changes in behavior will be evaluated using a 6-9 month post-event survey. Lead Organizer Mike Crowden. Initiative #3. Beginning Farmers & Ranchers/Local Foods (Regional & State Initiative) PDP # 3A - Helping Farmers Transition to Online Local Food Sales – 2021. This PDP will be held as one day face to face training in Columbia, MO if COVID-19 health and social distancing requirements allow. If needed for social distancing, we will hold the meeting online via zoom. The target audiences are: Horticulture Specialists, Ag Business Specialists, Community Development and Community Engagement Specialists, Livestock Specialists, HES Nutrition and Health Specialists, Small Farm Outreach Workers, and other Educators. Justification: The MU Extension Food Systems team and others within MU Extension Educators have discussed that this training would be very useful for our MU and LU Extension personnel to have so that they, in turn, can help producers with making the transition to online sales of their local foods products. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the need for producers to be able to sell their food online. Many MO producers interested in selling online do not have experience or expertise in online sales platforms. Topics: to be included in the training are: 1. Benefits and drawbacks of various online sales platforms, 2. How to use various online sales platforms. 3. Helping producers properly plan and manage inventory for several sales streams s. 4. Helping producers make decisions on what sales outlet to prioritize. A Pre/post- training evaluation will be administered, and distribute resource materials provided by the speakers after the training. PDP #3B - Beginning Farmer & Rancher Train the Train - 2021 and 2020 – Up to 10 education professionals who are members of the MoSARE beginning farmer education team will be encouraged to attend existing beginning farmer trainings and workshops targeting how to work with beginning farmers and ranchers. The train the trainer model will be used. Upon returning from the training, each participant will be expected to host a beginning famer workshop and/or incorporate their newly acquired tools into their existing programs. MoSARE Co-coordinators, lead. • Initiative #4. Emerging Issues PDP#4A – Forum & Training - Emerging Issues in Agriculture –2022 (cancelled due to the facilitators leaving Extension). PDP #4B - Bringing a Rural Wealth Creation Framework to Food Systems Work in Missouri – 2022. This is a six part Zoom webinar series to be held statewide delivered by national WealthWorks practitioners. This formal portion of the PDP will be supplemented by incorporating discussions of rural wealth creation concepts into the MU Extension’s Food System Network’s monthly calls. Follow-up meetings will occur with Extension and community based participants six months and 12 months after the trainings conclude. Rural Wealth Creation is a systems-based approach to community economic development that seeks to build sustainable rural communities. WealthWorks is one way to implement this approach and this national program that was developed from 5 years of on the ground work in high poverty rural communities. This approach is guided by three goals that align with SARE’s mission: building multiple forms of wealth (balancing the economy, environment and society), sustainability with an emphasis on increasing local ownership and control of assets. Lincoln University & University of Missouri Extension will use this PDP: 1. To strengthen existing programming that targets producers that are growing and marketing food to consumers with a systems approach and other guiding principles. 2. Launch a WealthWorks Extension program in Missouri. Mallory Rahe guided this effort at Oregon State University in partnership with a local non-profit Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) from 2013-2019. The target audiences are: 1. Minimum of 15 LU/MU Extension faculty affiliated with the Food System Network. The Network is facilitated by the LU/MU Extension Food Systems Team. The team is an interdisciplinary small group of regional County Engagement Specialists, Field Specialists, and state specialists from all program areas. 2. Ten food system stakeholders in Missouri who are currently engaged with MU Extension faculty. Participating Extension faculty members will be encouraged to invite a food system stakeholder in their region to participate in the professional development series. WealthWorks programming must be community led, engaging community stakeholders in the PD will increase the likelihood of establishing this systems-based programming. Justification: Extension Food System Team suggested the need for this PD. The team is working to promote food system programs and initiatives that support the entire food system, in addition to current sector specific efforts. Topics: to be included in the training are: 1. Overview to Rural Wealth Creation, 2. Using a Value Chain Approach to Building Food Systems, 3. An Intentional Focus on Inclusive Community Economic Development, 4. Lessons Learned from Food System Building in the Region, 5. Building and Measuring Rural Wealth Creation, 6. Extension Role as Coordinators and Coaches. Lead Organizers – Mallory Rahe and Sarah Hultine-Massengale
The Missouri SARE program is a joint effort shared between the University of Missouri (1862 LG) and Lincoln University of Missouri (1890 LG). Both institutions have a professional development co-coordinator that works closely with the other to deliver professional development programs, promote the SARE program, deliver educational materials, offer grant writing workshops, carry out the State Plan of Work, and other closely related SARE educational and promotions activities.
The primary focus of the Missouri SARE Plan of Work is based upon professional development of sustainable agriculture educators, especially those working in Extension programs as the state's 1862 and 1890 Land Grant institutions. This focus lends itself well to the use of the Train the Trainer model for delivering education with a significant multiplier effect. Each educator trained through these professional development activities then delivers the educational materials to their clientele, I.E.; the farmers and rancher of the state of Missouri thereby reaching a larger audience.
In addition to the professional development trainings the program coordinators and volunteers serving on the MoSARE advisory board participate in the professional development activities, and also in the promotion of the SARE program throughout the year. Promotional displays are set up and staffed at a variety of farmer oriented events throughout the year including the Missouri Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts, The Minority Farmers Conference, The Governor's Conference on Agriculture.
Other major focuses of the program include publicizing the program's grant funding opportunities, dissemination of education books, publication, and videos, and connecting farmers with other resources and personnel providing sustainable agriculture expertise.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
Sustainable Crop Production
A series of three on-site tree sap harvesting and product development workshops were hosted featuring the harvest of Maple and Walnut sap. These are high value flavorings utilized in a variety of foods and confection products. Over 50 participants attended these workshops where the learned how to tap a tree, collect the syrup, refine and market products. Each educator recieved a packet of educational materials for use in delivering instruction to their clientele. An online participation options was also available.
Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
A workshops and follow-up consultation was held for the the purpose of assisting returning veterans as beginning farmers to engage in beekeeping was conducted in 2021. Instructors were brought in from Michigan State University to conduct the program. Sixty educators and farmers received hands on information on entering beekeeping as a commercial business venture. These materials include financial, physical, labor/time, and knowledge commitment needs for entering into the honey bee keeping business. The program focuses on returning veterans looking for the comaraderie and emotional support they new while in the military.
Sustainable Crop Production
A series of six on-site workshops were held throughout the state to introduce sustainable agriculture educators and farmers to the benefits of using drip irrigation systems in specialty crop production focusing on small farms producing vegetables, fruits, and cut flowers. One hundred forty eight participants attended class room lectures, field days, and demonstration learning how to install and operate drip irrigation systems with each receiving an instruction packet of curriculum. Demonstration sites included vegetable, cut flower, grape, apple, and pawpaw production operations.
These activities address sustainable crops, sustainable livestock, beginning farmers, and emerging issues.
Grant writing workshops were held on-line, and in person to introducing educators and farmers to the SARE funding opportunities as well as other potential granting entities. Seventy seven participants received instruction on the step by step process of conceptualizing a project and submitting for funding through the SARE online grant submission process. Additionally other state and federal sources of grant funds, and helpful hints for successful grant application were discussed.
Sustainable Crop Production and Beginning Farmers
The supply chain disruption of 2021 highlighted the need for local food supplies as well as highlighting the challenges of selling food locally through farmers markets and similar venues. This series of three online workshops showcased how to sell locally produced foods online. Thirty eight educators participated in the workshops and received instruction on regulations for selling local foods, marketing strategies, payment receipt options, food safety considerations and more. Each educator received a set of education materials for use with their clientele engaged in the production and sale of local foods.
Sustainable Crop Production
The safe production, processing, and marketing of food products is always a concern. Likewise it is a concern that deserves special attention in the context of organic production. A workshop and field day was conducted at an organic vegetable production facility with in excess of forty participants including a wide variety of agricultural educators participating. Educational materials pertaining to vegetable production, harvest, sanitation, packaging, marketing, and sales were all presented by food safety experts. All of the educators received materials to utilize with educating their clientele.
Sustainable Livestock Production
Interest in the production of shrimp and fin-fish in the mid-west has been steadily increasing for at least ten years. With the constraints implemented pertaining to Covid safety the organizers of this PDP opted to forego a face to face training and in it's place create a web presence to in order to share their expertise. The website: https://extension.missouri.edu/programs/aquaculture-extension.
Through this website clients have access to over thirty years of research and innovations pertaining to midwest aquaculture. Topic covered range from aquaculture economics to system designs, environmental consideration, regulatory considerations, feeds, seafood demand, and much more.
Sustainable Livestock Producton
A two day in-person training was held for twenty-three Extension Agronomy and Livestock Specialist to become updated and/or introduced to techniques for the improvement of stored forages and cover crops for livestock feed with special emphasis on long term sustainability and productivity of these system. Topics discussed included Economics, Variety Selection, Soil Health, Plant Water Needs, Fertility Needs, Equipment Considerations, Species specific Nutritional Needs, Labor Considerations and more. All impacting the long term viability of the farming operation. The event culminated with a tour of on farm variety trial test plots with at least three years of comparison data being presented.
Sustainable Crop Production
A two day in person workshop was developed with fourteen Extension Horticultural Specialists in attendance. The PDP included consideration of all aspects of Hydroponic Vegetable Production including: Potential Markets, Facilities, Fertilizer, Sanitation, and more. The workshop concluded with a tour and questions/answers of an existing commercial scale hydroponic operation in Eastern MO.
As the grip of Covid-19 containment regulation began to ease in 2022 more face to face meetings and professional development opportunities became available. Thirty five professional development scholarships were awarded to Agricultural Educator to participate in these trainings and conference covering a wide variety of topics and disciplines ranging from: Horticultural production techniques, to Livestock production techniques, to Rural leadership development. The primary source of funding for the Professional Development Travel Scholarships was unexpended pdp monies that were available due to restricted Covid - 19 travel criteria.
Sustainable Crop Production
The pandemic created a need for developing new marketing techniques as an alternative direct to consumer outlet. An PDP was held to aide producers transitioning from in person sales to online sales. With 20 educators and small producers developing alternative marketing strategies.
Educational & Outreach Activities
In 2021 Missouri's Farmers Ranchers, Researchers, Youths and College Students received 10 grants through the SARE program alone totaling $349,304. These awards break down as follows: Farmers & Ranchers = $80,433, Youth Educators = $3,994, Graduate Student = $14,882, Research & Education = $249,995. In 2022 the total grants received in Missouri closely mirrors those received in 2021.
In addition to these grants awards directly from the SARE program it is logical that other projects awards and programs were leverage off of these funds or projects funded in previous years. The author of this report is personally aware of two such projects.
In 2021 we began to see a return to in-person training and conference opportunities. In the context of sustainable agriculture these opportunities covered a broad range of topics including: food safety, marketing local foods, creating/developing local food systems, organic production, novel crop production, and more. The MoSARE program was able to provide twenty three scholarships for participating these type of professional educational events. With continued increase in face to face training opportunities in 2022 the Missouri SARE program was able to provide to offer the Sustainable Forages PDP, Hydroponic Vegetable Production PDP, Selling Local Foods Online PDP, round 2, and Tomato School PDP. Additionally MoSARE was able to support the development of the Missouri Aquaculture web site, and travel to numerous professional development trainings and conferences.
Face of SARE
Jan. 2021 - Great Plains Growers Conference - Educational Display Online - Online Exhibit Hall
As in the past, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska co-sponsor a display in the "exhibit hall" for the conference participant to interface with the SARE personnel from the region and available resources. This year it was a virtual exhibit hall. Therefore; the number and impact of conference participants entering the exhibit hall is unknown.
Nov. 2021 - Missouri Governors Conference on Agriculture
An educational display was set up and staffed at the conference exposing the nearly 500 participants to the SARE program. Approximately 50 each of promotional flyers, funding availability flyers, and educational bulletins and publications were distributed.
Nov. 2021 - Missouri Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Annual Conference and Training Session
An educational display depicting the broad range of resources available through the Missouri SARE program was set up and staffed throughout the conference. Over 150 participants stopped by the display and picked up SARE guides, Books (Farm Business Structures, Managing Alternative Pollinators, and Weed Control Strategies for Organic Farms), and informational literature. These same books were also donated to the silent auction where the sold for more than the published value of the books. They also engaged in discussions with the state coordinator about the grant programs. Of special interest were the Farmer Rancher and Youth Educator grant opportunities. One group specifically quizzed the state coordinator about submission of a proposal to remediate thin pastures by over-seeding (broadcasting) legumes and/or native prairie grasses by using a large drone as the seeding tool.
Dec. 2021 - Missouri Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and Legislative Agenda Session
An educational display depicting the broad range of resources available through the Missouri SARE program was set up and staffed throughout the conference. Over 500 participants stopped by the display and picked up SARE guides, Books (Farm Business Structures, Managing Alternative Pollinators, and Weed Control Strategies for Organic Farms), and informational literature. Agian, these same books were donated to the silent auction where they sold for more than their published value. Also, all of the books, guides, and information bulletins taken to the conference (approximately 30 each of the bulletins and guides, 10 each of the books) were taken for use by the conference participants. They also engaged in discussions with the state coordinator about the grant programs. Of special interest were the Farmer Rancher and Youth Educator grant opportunities. One group specifically quizzed the state coordinator about submission of a proposal to establish a research project for tracking and monitoring irrigation pumping, and water quality parameters in a 3,000 acre rice production operation utilizing remote sensing technologies.
In 2022 MoSARE was again able to promote at:
- The Missouri Soil & Water Conservation District's annual meeting - over 500 attendees
2. The Urban Foods Symposium in Kansas City, MO
3. The Farm to Fork Local Foods Event
4. The National Meeting of Epsilon Sigma Phi - Extension Professional - over 500 attendees.