2018 University of Nevada PDP Project

Final report for WSP17-011

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $38,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: University of Nevada
Region: Western
State: Nevada
State Coordinator:
Stephen Foster
Board of Regents, Nevada System of Higher Education on behalf of University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension
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Project Information

Abstract:

Nevada’s fiscal year 2018 SARE-Professional Development Program (PDP) in Nevada will support training for Cooperative Extension faculty and staff, faculty from the University of Nevada’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Training will improve their knowledge and understanding of SARE principles related to sustainable agriculture.  SARE-PDP funds will help professionals incorporate sustainability principles in education, technical assistance and outreach programs.  SARE funding will support inter-agency teams (assembled by Extension) to hold training sessions in Nevada with national experts and from Nevada’s agricultural community, including state and federal agencies and farmers. 

 

Project Objectives:

The primary outcomes will be to expand the skills and knowledge about sustainable agriculture feasibility related to WSARE goals among Extension faculty and staff. Also, to integrate skills and knowledge about agriculture sustainability into ongoing educational programming around the state for other government and non-agencies, producers and communities consistent with the goals of SARE.

Introduction:

Context:  Nevada’s agricultural industry has been the consistent, baseline industry in the state. While other industries have had their boom-and-bust cycles or bubbles that have burst, agriculture has been steady and reliable. The producers have learned how to produce crops and livestock that are compatible with the high desert environment. That consistency and reliability has been an asset and a liability to the industry. While agriculture provides a steady job base, it is overlooked due to the comparison to the size of the agricultural industry in California and the size and perceived economic impact of other industries in the state.

In 2017, Nevada’s State Agricultural Overview Report (https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=NEVADA) indicated that Nevada had only 4,000 farms and 1,493 acres per operation. However, when examining the total direct and indirect influence of agriculture on the Nevada economy of approximately $40 billion, the Ag industry still has significant opportunities through two key concepts: the value chain and food hubs. With growing competitive pressures, both domestically and internationally, and with enterprises from multinationals to micro enterprises, the concept of value chain will be a useful tool in identifying opportunities in farming new crops, exporting, gaps in food processing, support services, wholesale/distribution and retail (Agriculture Cluster Study for Nevada, 2012).

Justification:  The federal government has also identified agriculture as an economic engine that will continue to have a significant impact on a global scale. With populations continuing to increase, there is an understanding that a multi-faceted approach to agriculture is necessary to provide sustenance to citizens of the United States as well as the world.

Other states, universities, farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs are not waiting for a grand policy or funding program to bring salvation. Bringing innovative thinking to bear, new technologies are being implemented to extend growing seasons, plant new regional crops and create local hubs of food production, processing and consumption.

As stated in many studies, the sustainability of rural communities is at stake. The keys to the preservation and prosperity of a valuable part of the American landscape will be based on a community-wide scale. Understanding that the community is much larger than the local county, is necessary to ensure that food continues to be plentiful, available and at a reasonable price. Extension educators, Extension specialists and other agricultural professionals need training about the best ways to provide sound economic and practical advice for those considering agriculture as a supplemental or primary income. 

 

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Stephen Foster (Educator)
  • Dr. Angela O’Callaghan (Educator)
  • Dr. Juan Carlos Cervantes (Educator)
  • Christie Scilacci (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension conducts several sustainable agriculture programs including researching alternative crops, sustainable gardening practices, introducing sustainable biodiversity/multiple use of rangelands, and increasing the knowledge and implementation of IPM practices in Nevada. UNCE sustainable agricultural practices website: https://www.unce.unr.edu/programs/agriculture/index.asp?ID=86

In addition, interactive video, social media and email list serves share information concerning WSARE grants and educational materials. Members receiving this information include University of Nevada Reno faculty, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension tenured faculty, administrative faculty and community-based instructors, NRCS personnel. In addition, state, regional and local farmers/ranchers can also, receive this information.

These grant funds are used primarily to fund the professinal development of Nevada professionals who are interested in promating sustainable agricultural practices in the state.

During the 2017-2019 Project Period, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension sponsored or plans to sponsor faculty to attend the following events:

    • International Conference, Society for Range Management, January 27-February 2, 2018, Sparks, NV.
    • Our Farms, Our Future Conference: Envisioning the Next 30 Years of Sustainable Agriculture, April 3–5, 2018, St. Louis, MO.
    • Western Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education Summer Tour, State Coordinator’s Annual Meeting, July 7-12, 2018, Blaine, WA.
    • Growing Innovations, November 7-8, 2018, Las Vegas, NV.
    • 2018 California Alfalfa & Forage Symposium and Soil Health Management Workshop, November 27-29, 2018, Reno, NV.
    • International Conference, Society for Range Management, Minneapolis, MN, (February 8-15, 2019).
    • National Sustainability Summit & National Extension Energy Summit, Tampa, FL, (April 16-19, 2019).

Education & Outreach Initiatives

1. International Conference, Society for Range Management, January 27-February 2, 2018, Sparks, NV.
Objective:

Promote crop, livestock and enterprise diversification.

Description:

The Society for Range Management is the professional scientific society and conservation organization whose members are concerned with studying, conserving, managing and sustaining the varied resources of the rangelands, which comprise nearly half the land in the world. SRM’s members are land managers, scientists, educators, students, producers and conservationists–a diverse membership guided by a professional code of ethics and unified by a strong land ethic. Specific topical sections that were presented at this conference include: 1) rangeland ecology; 2) grazing ecology; 3) adaptive grazing; 4) invasive species/weed management; 5) vegetation management; 6) fire ecology and management; 7) ecological site

Outcomes and impacts:

Information from this meeting has been used to write one or more trade journal articles and influences Extension publications and presentation in the subsequent year.

2. Our Farms, Our Future Conference: Envisioning the Next 30 Years of Sustainable Agriculture, April 3–5, 2018, St. Louis, MO
Objective:

Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities, for example, by increasing income and employment, especially profitable self-employment and innovative marketing opportunities in agricultural and rural communities.

Description:

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension was able to send a representative to the “Our Farms, Our Future Conference.” The Our Farms, Our Future conference was an incredible opportunity to join with many key stakeholders in the sustainable agriculture community. Participants engaged in important dialogue about the trajectory of sustainable agriculture for the next 30 years. Engaging panels, technical and issue-oriented breakout sessions, art and storytelling opportunities, long networking breaks, poster sessions, exhibitor booths and farm tours provide the attendee an unforgettable experience.

Outcomes and impacts:

Information learned at this conference will be integrated into the Nevada's Sustainable Agriculural program. Specifically, this conference would provide the background to strengthen the food business and marketing education component. We will be placing all of this value-added programs on an easy to use website for the public to use at their convenience. As well, I will continue speaking at workshops and conferences.

3. Western Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education Summer Tour, State Coordinator’s Annual Meeting, July 9-11, 2018,
Objective:

Promote good stewardship of the nation’s natural resources by providing site-specific, regional and profitable sustainable farming and ranching methods that strengthen agricultural competitiveness; satisfy human food and fiber needs; maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of soil; conserve soil, water, energy, natural resources and fish and wildlife habitat; and maintain and improve the quality of surface and ground water.

Description:

State Coordinators attend the annual meeting to receive updates/changes in the SARE funding/reporting and to learn more about the other SARE programs in the region.

This year’s Western Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education Summer Tour provide WSARE state coordinators with an invaluable education on the diverse sustainable agriculture in Northwest Washington. Tour featured a dairy with a methane digester, berry production and processing, a large flower farm, the Mount Vernon Research Center and a blueberry and artisan cheese facility.

Outcomes and impacts:

Information from this year's meeting and tour was shared with Nevada professionals interested is sustainable agricultural practices by a powerpoint presentation on  interactive vide

4. Growing Innovations, November 7 & 8, 2018, Las Vegas, NV.
Objective:

Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities, for example, by increasing income and employment, especially profitable self-employment and innovative marketing opportunities in agricultural and rural communities.

Description:

Today’s farm environment is as complex as ever: Production costs continue to rise, with narrowing margins and flat growth. Labor is harder to come by and harder to keep. Growing seasons are less and less predictable. In addition, there is an influx of new technologies that have the indisputable power to drive your farm forward. GROWING INNOVATIONS is a breakthrough event assembling the entire specialty farming spectrum in one smart, connected space that’s focused on providing real solutions with proven success. With two immersive days offering exclusive content and keynotes alongside vetted exhibits and interactive experiences, GROWING INNOVATIONS has everything you need to lead your farm forward in one comprehensive, game-changing event.

Outcomes and impacts:

This information will be shared with Nevada growers and fellow Extension Educators working with growers. The short to mid-term goal is to have growers assess and decide which grower innovations will not only be worth the investment but to implement innovations to make growing more feasible as a business. This information will also be shared with Nevada growers at the Nevada Farm Conference, Feb. 2019 and in extension workshops based on Risk Management.

5. 2018 Califor5. Alfalfa & Forage Symposium and Soil Health Fertility Workshop, November 27-29, 2018, Reno, NV.
Objective:

Promote good stewardship of the nation’s natural resources by providing site-specific, regional and profitable sustainable farming and ranching methods that strengthen agricultural competitiveness; satisfy human food and fiber needs; maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of soil; conserve soil, water, energy, natural resources and fish and wildlife habitat; and maintain and improve the quality of surface and ground water.

Description:

This year’s Forage Symposium featured a one day Soil Health Fertility Workshop. This workshop reviewed the principles of soil fertility, soil health and provide hands-on training for soil fertility management. These crops include alfalfa, other legumes, and grass hay. The objective was to develop better skill sets to manage soils, cropping systems, and nutrients to maximize yields, quality, and soil health, and meet water quality regulations.

Other Sustainable Agricultural topics discussed during the symposium included:

  1. ET-based Irrigation of Alfalfa: Principles and Practical Implementations.
  2. Alfalfa Aphids, Caterpillars, Insecticides and IPM: What did we see in 2018 and Implications for 2019.
  3. Importance of IPM Practices for Pesticide Resistance Management.
  4. Managing Weeds in Organic and Conventional Seedling Alfalfa.
  5. Alfalfa & Wildlife – Why is it important?
Outcomes and impacts:

Many of these topics will used to develop educational programs for local/state forage producers.

6. International Conference, Society for Range Management, Minneapolis, MN, (February 8-15, 2019).
Objective:

Promote good stewardship of the nation’s natural resources by providing site-specific, regional and profitable sustainable farming and ranching methods that strengthen agricultural competitiveness; satisfy human food and fiber needs; maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of soil; conserve soil, water, energy, natural resources and fish and wildlife habitat; and maintain and improve the quality of surface and ground water.

Description:

Global Rangelands, Rangelands West, and the state rangelands sites are a collective effort (called The Rangelands Partnership) by 19 western land-grant universities collaborating with international partners.The Rangelands West and Global Rangelands portals and database provide public and private land managers, researchers, Extension professionals, educators, and the public in the U.S. and worldwide with the information and tools they need for sustainable management of rangelands, informed decision-making, professional enhancement, and educational activities.

Outcomes and impacts:

This meeting will address issues related to grazing management, habitat management, watershed management, weed control and management, wilderness areas, wildfires and prescribed grazing, vegetation management, recreation and other topics.

7. National Sustainability Summit & National Extension Energy Summit, Tampa, FL, (April 16-19, 2019).
Objective:

Examine the regional, economic, social and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.

Description:

Hosted by the University of Florida IFAS Extension and the Southern Rural Development Center in partnership with USDA-NIFA, this joint national conference will bring leading sustainability and energy educators and practitioners together to highlight land grant university Extension and research program successes, share challenges, and identify opportunities to strengthen our collective impacts.

Outcomes and impacts:

Summit attendees will hear from dynamic plenary speakers, engage in stimulating round-table discussions and workshops, participate in fun and educational field tours, and share stories and lessons learned to strengthen our collective impacts.

The attendee will share the information with other Extension faculty as he prepare to hold a Climate Science training for Cooperative Extension faculty and staff in 2019. The ultimate target audience for faculty to reach is farmers, ranchers and other Nevada citizens.

Educational & Outreach Activities

25 Consultations
1 On-farm demonstrations
10 Published press articles, newsletters
7 Travel Scholarships
6 Webinars / talks / presentations

Participation Summary:

10 Extension
2 NRCS
5 Researchers
4 Nonprofit
2 Agency
50 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

1 Grant received that built upon this project
10 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
150 Farmers reached through participant's programs

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

Nevada’s program follows the WSARE goals:

  1. Promote good stewardship of the nation’s natural resources by providing site-specific, regional and profitable sustainable farming and ranching methods that strengthen agricultural competitiveness; satisfy human food and fiber needs; maintain and enhance the quality and productivity of soil; conserve soil, water, energy, natural resources and fish and wildlife habitat; and maintain and improve the quality of surface and ground water.
  2. Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities, for example, by increasing income and employment, especially profitable self-employment and innovative marketing opportunities in agricultural and rural communities.
  3. Protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems by reducing, where feasible and practical, the use of toxic materials in agricultural production, and by optimizing on-farm resources and integrating, where appropriate, biological cycles and controls.
  4. Promote crop, livestock and enterprise diversification.
  5. Examine the regional, economic, social and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.

 

Interactive video, social media and email list serves share information concerning WSARE grants and educational materials. Members receiving this information include University of Nevada Reno faculty, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension tenured faculty, administrative faculty and community-based instructors, NRCS personnel. In addition, state, regional and local farmers/ranchers can also, receive this information.

50 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
25 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.