Final report for WSP18-003
Organic, biodynamic, permaculture, and other producers of various scale apply sustainable agriculture principles to food and fiber production systems in Arizona. A variety of marketing philosophies are used to connect with consumers including farmers’ markets, consumer supported agriculture, field stands, local markets, and internet sales. Additionally, Native American authorities and community members desire to reconnect with their past agricultural heritage and seek assistance in learning and teaching concepts that interface and enhance traditional agricultural techniques.
The overall natural arid environment of Arizona creates unique challenges for all producers and the current long-term drought in the Southwest adds a critical emphasis. These issues make it important for the current 25 Arizona Extension agents, their supporting specialists, other agricultural professionals, non-governmental entities, decision makers, producers, and consumers to work together in a synergistic manner. The key for these linkages is effective communication and partnership at all levels. For these reasons, it is important that all parties better understand the concepts of sustainable agriculture and the methodologies required to appropriately apply them in arid land conditions. Arizona programs facilitate the distribution of knowledge and experience to stakeholders statewide.
1. Extension professionals taking the opportunity to participate in sustainable agriculture
seminars, conferences and other professional development activities through travel grants
will be better able to address local sustainable agriculture issues (short term)
2. Extension professionals participating in local workshops will feel comfortable adopting
or recommending adoption of sustainable agriculture techniques (medium term)
3. Trained professionals will teach the concepts that they have learned to their clientele
4. Agricultural operations will become more sustainable (medium and long term)
The calendar year 2020 was a challenging year for everybody. The global pandemic related to Covid-19 made travel extremely difficult. Work from home and shelter in place orders were the constant challenges preventing in person meetings and placed a significant damper on educational programming. As a result of the challenges of the year a decision was made to re-direct resources to something that was achievable within the limitations imposed by the global pandemic. We decided to continue with the development of additional educational videos following the pattern of two successful videos that were produced in the fall of 2019. Two videos produced during 2019 included one on the topic of rangeland monitoring and one on the topic of forest health. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension takes the science of the University to the people of Arizona, when it comes to health, agriculture, and natural resources. Agent Chris Jones talks about Forest Health in Arizona, and the importance of a recent 'Forest Health Symposium' in Gila County in the video clip sponsored in part by WSARE. The second video was related related to managing rangeland for more sustainable production using rangeland monitoring program form the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Arizona’s rangelands provide both ecological and economic benefits. Monitoring the condition of rangelands over time is important to ranchers, researchers, public land management agencies, and the general public. The UA Cooperative Extension Rangeland Monitoring programs assist in collecting this important data used for land management decisions.
A new series of videos were initiated during the 2020 calendar year to highlight cutting edge research being conducted as part of the Arizona Pest Management Center and the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. This series of videos highlight the tools that can be used to monitor beneficial insects in our Arizona cotton production systems and how to effectively use that information in making more informed decisions about pest control in these systems. Effective use of predator populations in the field has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of pesticides needed to effectively manage pest populations in the field.
- (Educator and Researcher)
- (Educator and Researcher)
- (Educator and Researcher)
- (Educator and Researcher)
In an effort to reach as many agricultural producers and professionals as possible, the Arizona project engages agricultural and natural resources Extension professionals and provides training to them specific to their needs. These trained educators then, in turn, provide assistance, training, and consultations with their specific clientele and stakeholders, including NRCS, other governmental agencies, agriculture professionals and producers, and nongovernmental agencies. In so doing, sustainable agriculture techniques are disseminated throughout the Arizona industries. In 2019, Extension professionals were offered travel grants to meetings both within and outside of Arizona and one local workshop was provided.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
Our objective with this initiative is to increase the awareness of SARE among agricultural professionals with our University system, but also among our agricultural stakeholders across the state of Arizona.
Our objective was to participate in more activities in which SARE could be a sponsor and also present information to stakeholders through formal presentations and through informational booths and distribution of SARE educational materials.
Sponsorship of winter meeting of Arizona Agriculture Extension Association. This sponsorship allowed for SARE to sponsor part of this meeting and provided us the opportunity to present on SARE related topics to an audience of agricultural professionals within University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. This raises awareness of granting opportunities and other resources available from SARE. We have seen an increase in the number of grant applications submitted from Arizona agricultural professionals in the most recent round of SARE granting opportunities.
Sponsorship of a Sustainable Ag Conference organized by Southwest Black Ranchers in Arizona. Josh Sherman (state co-coordinator) was able to attend this conference and with an education booth setup and also to present information on SARE educational resources and grant opportunities to attendees to this minority based sustainable agriculture conference.
Provide opportunities for stakeholders and agricultural professionals the opportunity to participate in professional development opportunities from a wide variety of sources across the U.S.
A major component of the Arizona State Implementation grant is professional development for stakeholders and agricultural professionals. This is accomplished primarily through the implementation of travel scholarships for attending activities scattered across the United States providing opportunities to learn and experience new concepts and also to develop new professional partnerships that can benefit our producers and agricultural professionals in Arizona. A process of application is required for all scholarships that require the recipient to outline how this activity will enhance their educational program or their production operation. They are also asked to provide information related to how they will document improvements gained as a result of the professional development activity.
All of the recipients of travel scholarships are required to complete a pre and post travel form indicating what they hope to gain from the professional improvement activity and how they plan to implement knowledge gained into their educational program or production operation. These forms are on file with the Arizona SARE office.
A total of 5 travel and professional development scholarships were provided through this project funding over the course of the 24 months this project was in place.
Educational & Outreach Activities
An increase in awareness of SARE resources both education and financial has increased among agricultural professionals and stakeholders across Arizona. Sponsorship of several educational events, trainings, and travel grants provided to producers and agricultural professionals has raised awareness of these resources. We have also experienced an increase in the number of grants applied for by agricultural professionals, primarily from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and this is a direct result from the efforts of the state implementation program.
A poultry producer in southeastern Arizona has indicated the value of SARE related resources on his ability to re-establish his operation after experiencing issues with availability of water resources and COVID-19 disruptions to his business operations. State coordinator and co=coordinator were able to provide resources and assist the producer in procuring additional resources to assist the producer in augmenting his current access to water infrastructure which is critical to the success of his operation.
Face of SARE
The Arizona sustainable agriculture professional development program (PDP) reaches out to and assists Extension, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, agricultural professionals, farmers, and ranchers to understand and apply the principles of sustainable agriculture in the production and marketing of food, energy, and fiber products. The Arizona PDP focuses on SARE goals and programs. The PDP program also encourages professionals to conduct research and education programs that will help build sustainable agricultural systems in Arizona. Assistance is given to potential stakeholders, in the form of information and suggestions, to help them negotiate the grant application cycles.
A major focus for the Arizona Professional Development Program is to help Cooperative Extension agents, specialists, department heads with Extension appointments, and administrators learn sustainable agriculture concepts that they may use in their interactions with stakeholders.