Topic(s) — what topics do you anticipate covering in the next year?
In Oregon we manage these SARE funds via a call for proposals (CFP) for mini-grant projects every two years. If grant recipients perform well during year 1 they receive funds for two years. Our advisory group reviews applications and helps us select projects for funding. In December, 2017 we selected the following projects for two years of funding.
- WSARE program administration and travel to summer meetings
- Mechanical weed cultivation in Organic vegetables
- Furthering Oregon’s Organic Hazelnut Sector
- Strengthening Oregon’s niche meat industry through extension
- Pesticide applicator infographics and bee-friendly grower showcase podcast
- Commercial beekeeper training workshop
Additional funds were provided in 2018. With these funds our advisory group decided to support four additional projects for one year:
- Vegetable crop cost tool development
- Irrigated pasture management workshops
- Sustainable integrated parasite management (SIPM) for small ruminants program
- Expand mechanical cultivation to Central Oregon.
Every year, annual project reports for these mini-grants are due in March, so we cannot provide a detailed report on their work until those reports have been received. This works well for the normal reporting timeline for the WSARE PDP program.
Mini-grant applications describe proposed project objectives. Objectives for the six two-year projects are as follows.
- These funds supported travel to the summer 2018 meeting in Washington, and will support travel to the summer 2019 meeting in Guam
- This group organized a hands-on mechanical cultivation field day. Tool and tractor suppliers demonstrated their equipment in young lettuce and bean crops, and keynote and capnote speakers presented information on mechanical cultivation. More than 100 people attended the event, and it will be repeated in 2019. The group is also developing a mechanical cultivation webpage. This article describes the first field day.
- This group aims to enhance Oregon’s Organic hazelnut sector. They hosted an Organic Hazelnut Growers Association summer tour, are disseminating resources for growing organic hazelnuts, and convening meetings between organic hazelnut growers, processors and other stakeholders with the goal of enhancing access to processing facilities for organic hazelnuts.
- This project aims to enhance expertise among agricultural professionals about niche meat marketing. The project team manages the National Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, and have developed a Beginners’ Guide to Local Meat Processing. They are developing a series of presentations for use at agricultural professional meetings that will introduce participants to different types of local meat processing, regulations in Oregon, the economics of small processors, ways to build capacity and support development of new facilities, and ways to improve coordination between meat producers and processors.
- This team is developing four postcard info-graphics to train growers in best management practices (BMP’s) for protecting pollinators when using pesticides. The info-graphics will be adapted for western Oregon specialty seed, cherry, clover seed and nursery crop producers. The team is also developing a series of eight 30-minute podcasts that showcase two growers in each industry that have implemented recommended BMP’s.
- This team is developing seminars for commercial beekeepers with experts from Oregon and California. Topics will include transportation regulations, successful pollination of Oregon crops and California almonds, and bee safety. They are also hosting a tour with bee safety demonstrations and are planning to develop a safety manual for commercial beekeepers in Oregon.
The one-year projects have the following objectives:
- This team is developing an interactive enterprise budgeting and cost of production spreadsheets. These funds will supplement their ongoing efforts.
- This team is developing 3-4 irrigated pasture management workshops in Central Oregon.
- The project is developing a course on integrated parasite management in small ruminants to reduce the use of chemical dewormers. They will use DrenchRite testing to determine anthelminthic resistance on 10 participating farms, and develop farm-specific parasite management plans. They are also developing a workshop for veterinarians, Extension personnel and other agricultural professionals.
- This team is developing a hands-on mechanical cultivation workshop for beginning and small-scale vegetable growers in Central Oregon.
Our mini-grant program has become increasingly popular in Oregon over the last five years. We received 13 applications for the main program (2-year projects) and 6 applications for the 1-year projects funded by the supplemental funds. This is more applications than any previous year.
We have also enhanced our advisory group to select successful projects. For the first time we also welcomed applications from outside OSU Extension. This year we funded two projects that were not led by OSU faculty. The hazelnut project is led by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, and the vegetable crop cost tool is being led by Oregon Tilth.
Our mini-grant projects utilize a wide range of educational approaches. These include one-on-one advice and development of management plans, formal workshops, written information and graphic info-cards, websites, podcasts, field days, farm tours, and sustainable agricultural demonstrations.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
Enhance mechanical cultivation expertise
This group hosted one field day with demonstrations of a wide range of new cultivation equipment in young lettuce and snap bean plantings. They are also developing a mechanical cultivation website.
In 2018 participants had very positive experiences at the field day: 95% said they gained new information to improve weed management in their crops, 91% planned on adopting one of the practices shown, and 87% said they planned to use new cultivation equipment on their farm. On a scale of 1-5 in terms of how useful the field day was, average participant response was 4.6 for demonstrations, 4.2 for exhibitor booths, and 4.1 for the presentations.
Evaluation comments included: “Tillage demos were very helpful and vendors were extremely knowledgeable”. “It was great. Wish you would have done this years ago, or at least before I bought the wrong stuff! Look forward to coming next year”.
In 2019 participants had a very positive experience: 88% said the demonstrations were very useful or extremely useful; 96% said they gained new information to improve weed management in their crops; and 80% said they planned to use new cultivation equipment on their farm. Comments included, “Tractor tool demos were very useful for me. Talking to the company reps was a quick way to get questions answered”, and “What was most useful was seeing the tools demonstrated, and having an opportunity to operate them.”
Enhance organic hazelnut production and processing in Oregon
This group hosted an Organic Hazelnut Growers Association summer tour, they are disseminating resources for growing organic hazelnuts, and convening meetings between organic hazelnut growers, processors and other stakeholders with the goal of enhancing access to processing facilities for organic hazelnuts.
Enhance niche meat processing in Oregon by training agricultural professionals to support expansion of facilities and development of new facilities.
The project team manages the National Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, and have developed a Beginners’ Guide to Local Meat Processing. They are developing a series of presentations for use at agricultural professional meetings that will introduce participants to different types of local meat processing, regulations in Oregon, the economics of small processors, ways to build capacity and support development of new facilities, and ways to improve coordination between meat producers and processors.
See outcomes and impacts listed below.
Increase adoption of BMPs for pollinator safety when using pesticides.
This team is developing four postcard info-graphics to train growers in best management practices (BMP’s) for protecting pollinators when using pesticides. The info-graphics will be adapted for western Oregon specialty seed, cherry, clover seed and nursery crop producers. The team is also developing a series of eight 30-minute podcasts that showcase two growers in each industry that have implemented recommended BMP’s.
Enhance bee safety in commercial beekeeping operations.
This team is developing seminars for commercial beekeepers with experts from Oregon and California. Topics will include transportation regulations, successful pollination of Oregon crops and California almonds, and bee safety. They are also hosting a tour with bee safety demonstrations and are planning to develop a safety manual for commercial beekeepers in Oregon.
Educational & Outreach Activities
The Commercial Beekeeper Workshops had a successful year in 2018. They had two events with 50-60 commercial beekeepers participating in each of these workshops. The first event was a summer field day at a commercial beekeeper’s operation. They invited commercial beekeepers from all over the state and distributed a survey after the field day and had participants rate each educational topic using a scale of “not useful”, “ok”, “good”, “great”, and “excellent”. For each topic, the average rating was “great”. They asked if participants anticipate making any changes to their current business practices after learning information from the workshop. They were given a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 representing “not at all”, and 5 representing “absolutely!” The average rating was a 4. The second event was a formal presentation-style gathering at the Salem Convention Center in October. It was a day full of diverse and important education for commercial beekeepers. Survey findings from the fall workshop showed a mixed response.Participants were asked if each speaker was informative and if they anticipate making changes to their operation, using a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 representing “not at all”, and 5 representing “absolutely!” Though the average score for speakers ranged from 3.5to3.9, the scores varied wildly among the 21 respondents. The average score for anticipated changes was 3.5. They received some good comments from attendees and we hope to make improvements on selecting topics and speakers for future workshops. In 2019, they planned workshops on pest and disease identification, and plan to have separate events in Russian, Spanish, and English to include as many commercial beekeepers as possible.
The Irrigation pasture project resulted in the following outcomes: Participants in our series of workshops were primarily small farmers with irrigated pasture from the central Oregon area. They collaborated with Mylen Bohle, Oregon State University (OSU) Agronomist, Clare Sullivan, OSU Agronomist and Toni Stephan, OSU Horticulture/Small farms Extension agent.They organized the pasture management workshops as a three part series. They taught all topics with an emphasis on conserving water through pasture management, not overgrazing, and establishing windbreaks to reduce evaporation from wind. In order to assist landowners with pasture management techniques, they purchased pasture-grazing sticks with the SARE funds and gave them to attendees. These grazing sticks are an important management tool as they are used to determine the following information: When grazing should be started, when livestock should be moved to another pasture to prevent overgrazing, how to calculate average pasture growth rates, pasture rotation lengths, and number of days when pasture is not being grazed. Surveys collected at the end of our programming included a 208% increase in knowledge and awareness for the farmscaping classes. A 268% increase in knowledge of how to complete a pasture condition score sheet was recorded. In order to complete these scoresheets, an overall knowledge of beneficial pasture management techniques is required.
The pollinator mini-grant resulted in four infographics outlining proper pesticide use around pollinators as well as produced 8 episodes of PolliNation talking about the connection between agriculture and pollinator health. We used infographics for face-to-face training with growers. They conducted pre-and post-training tests and determined that: a) Applicators were largely unfamiliar with existing Extension tools, particularly OSU’s longstanding (since 1990) “How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides” publication (PNW 591)(76% of applicators indicated they had never seenthe publication) and b) most could not interpret Environmental Hazard language on pesticide labels around pollinators (pre-course test: 74% could not interpret the bee toxicity language and 82% could not translate the residual toxicity statement into whether a product could be applied in the evening or not during bloom). They were able to put the postcards into all of the growers hands following the training and were able to consistently raise the ability of applicators to correctly interpret the pollinator directions on pesticide labels to above 95%.
The Meat Producers mini-grant resulted in the “MEATing in the Gorge”, Hood River,OR. Co-sponsored by Gorge Grown Food Network, OSU Extension, and WSU Extension to discuss pastured livestock production and processing in the Columbia River Gorge region. Provided information about inspected meat processing, regulations for marketing meat, and handed out the Beginner’s Guide to Local Meat Processing. About 40 people in attendance. In April 2018, they hosted the “Northwest Meat Processors Association(NWMPA) Convention”, Coeur d’Alene, ID and facilitated a round table discussion with meat processors and conducted video recorded processor interviews. About 100 people were in attendance. In July 2018, they hosted “OSU Small FarmSchool”, Clackamas, OR with panelists and workshops around direct meat marketing. They spoke about regulations for red meat and poultry, identifying and working with your meat processor, and general tips for marketing niche meats. About 50 people were in attendance. In September 2018, OSU Extension livestock agents annual meeting was held Prineville, OR where they gave a 45-minute presentation on the status of meat processing in Oregon. About 35 people were in attendance. They uploaded a slideshow to the NMPAN website under Oregon resources. Presentations have been given at several events to a mix of farmers, ranchers, meat processors, extension agents, NGOs, and other agricultural professionals. Over 50 of The Beginner’s Guide to Local Meat Processing fact sheets have been handed out to participants at the events.Videos of the NWMPA roundtable and of 9 small processor interviews have been made and posted to the NMPAN YouTube channel. These videos have been viewed 809 times thus far. New content has been added to the NMPAN website
Face of SARE
Oregon SARE PDP Coordinators forwarded emails about Western SARE grants and Western SARE events to Oregon State University College of Ag and Extension listserves, as well as listserves of farmers.
Mini grant recipients acknowledged SARE Funding at events and were encouraged to have SARE Materials available at events and workshops.