- Education and Training: display, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, networking
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships, urban/rural integration, community services, social capital, social networks
The main goal of this project is to provide USDA, NRCS, Extension and FSA personnel, state farm and forestry leaders, and other key team leaders the opportunity to acquire training in the guiding principles of farmland and forestland preservation. Equipped with this knowledge, these teams of agricultural and natural resource leaders within each Southern Region State and protectorate can become central resource personnel and contact persons on the issues vital to preserving the Southern Region’s farmland and forestland for future generations. Through the project, agricultural leaders and educators can help communities face the challenges of sustaining agriculture in a rapidly changing Southern region.
In the past two years, curriculum was completed, three workshops were held, evaluations were completed, and additional information was distributed to all participants.
We had created an advisory committee consisting of representatives from each of the thirteen states and two protectorates in the southern region. The committee met on October 27, 2002 following the National S.A.R.E. meeting in Durham, North Carolina. Advisory Committee members present included: Zona Beaty, NRCS, Alabama; Bo Beaulieu, Southern Rural Development Center, Mississippi; Victoria Bhavsar, University of Kentucky Department of Agronomy and Soil Sciences; Ben Boozer, Clemson University, South Carolina; David Brauer, ARS, Arkansas; Adell Brown, Southern University, Louisiana; Alex Hitt, Farmer, North Carolina; Savi Horne, Land Loss Prevention, North Carolina; William Hubbard, Warnell School of Forest Resources, Georgia; Jim Joyner, Farmer, Tennessee; Martha Monroe, University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation; Mariette Hiu Newcomb, Farmer, Virginia; Jerry Pennick, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Georgia; La Rhea Pepper, Farmer, Texas; Rebecca Perez, Farmer, Puerto Rico; Carlos Robles, University of the Virgin Islands; Larry Sanders, Oklahoma State University; and Tom Trantham, Farmer, South Carolina. Others in attendance were: Jack Blair, Trust for Public Lands Oklahoma office; Jim Horne, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Anita Poole, Kerr Center; Barbara Chester, Kerr Center; Matthew Scheidt, Trust for Public Lands Oklahoma office; Kevin Schmidt, American Farmland Trust; and Gerry Cohn, American Farmland Trust. Not in attendance were: Sherman Lewis, Langston University, Oklahoma; and Steve Carmichael, NRCS, Louisiana.
The first goal in this project was to build upon South Carolina’s SARE project from 2002. South Carolina’s project was led by Ben Boozer. The performance target for this goal was to receive information for the South Carolina project which could be used in helping formulate this project. We hoped to gain insight as to what information needed to be included in the curriculum and advice on how to increase attendance to maximize the benefits of the training sessions.
The second goal was to develop curriculum for the training sessions. The advisory committee addressed this objective. The performance target expected to flow from this goal was a user-friendly workbook and fully planned workshop agendas.
The third goal was to publicize the workshops to ensure that attendance was satisfactory. The performance target was to send press releases to all sustainable agriculture organizations; ask all state SARE Coordinators to disseminate information about the training opportunities; and to make other governmental agencies and forestry officials aware of this project.
The fourth goal was to hold three workshops. The attendance target was set at 50 participants at each of three sessions.
The fifth goal was to evaluate the program and to provide additional information to workshop participants to assist them in future planning activities. The performance target of this final goal was to receive information from each training session regarding the effectiveness of the materials and the presentation and to make contact with participants in the months following the training sessions to assist each with similar future projects.