Expanding the Expertise of Agricultural Professionals to Serve New Constituents: Practical Training on Organic Horticulture and High Tunnels

2014 Annual Report for ES12-112

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2012: $99,736.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Jim Lukens
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

Expanding the Expertise of Agricultural Professionals to Serve New Constituents: Practical Training on Organic Horticulture and High Tunnels


Expanding the Expertise of Agricultural Professionals to Serve New Constituents: Practical Training on Organic Horticulture and Hoop house The overall goal was to expand the expertise and knowledge skills of participating agents so that they can provide e

Southern SAWG provided practical training and supplemental resources on organic horticultural crop production and high tunnel production for NRCS, Extension and other agricultural professionals in Arkansas and Louisiana thus far.

We continue to work with a highly qualified team of consultants and trainers and have qualified staff that assists at each session. The 2012 government shutdown had an impact on six previously scheduled workshops, which then needed to be rescheduled, re-advertised and registered for attendance. We are happy to report that we successfully completed all six trainings in Arkansas and Louisiana. Once again, our sessions are refined by teams of farmers, extension personnel, USDA-NRCS personnel and scientists, and through feedback from agricultural professional participants. This training continues to be timely for these professionals due to the cost-share program for high tunnel construction recently implemented by NRCS. Final sessions in Alabama are being finalized now.

We have reached 190 participants to date: Louisiana- 135 professionals and farmers Arkansas – 55 NRCS professionals only.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Growing and SustainingNRCS Training in Arkansas, December 2013. We completed two 2-day training sessions in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Originally scheduled for October 21-22 and October 23-24, these events were cancelled due to the government shutdown in ear

The overall goal is to expand the expertise and knowledge skills of participating agents so that they can provide effective technical assistance to new constituents – current, transitioning and aspiring organic farmers, and farmers developing high tunnel production systems. Organic production topics covered included principles of organic and holistic farming systems; building soil health and fertility; crop diversity; crop rotation; drip irrigation; weed, pest and disease management; marketing; and maintaining economic viability. High tunnel topics to be covered included advantages & disadvantages, designs, costs, construction, suitable crops, best practices, seasonal usage, and maximizing income. The focus will be on systems used by small-scale horticultural producers. PowerPoint presentations with key points illustrated by farm photos, as well as hands-on demonstrations will complement the presenters’ verbal instruction. On-farm instruction illustrates and elaborates on the principles and practices covered in the classroom. Production and marketing practices during various production cycles of the year will also be discussed. Host farms are economically viable enterprises where there is a farmer capable of and willing to provide in-depth instruction and an interactive learning environment. The selection of the farm hosts was made in cooperation with partners in each state. Specific objectives include:

1. At least 210 agricultural professionals in three states (70 professionals in each state of Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana) will participate in trainings offered through this project.

2. Participants will gain improved understanding of the principles and the practices of organic farming systems and high tunnel production. Lessons to be taught will Include, but not be limited to, principles of diversity and holistic systems; and practices to build soil health, control pests, produce healthy crops and conserve resources; emphasizing the differences In how this Is done In a high tunnel vs. In the open field.

3. Participants will take home tools and resources that can be readily accessed to gain further knowledge about these farming systems. This will include user-friendly electronic and hardcopy materials on organic practices, high tunnel production, research and resources, and related NRCS programs that they can easily share with others or refer to when called upon to provide needed technical information to area producers.

4. Participants will gain improved capacity to deliver technical assistance to producers seeking to develop economically viable farms using organic and/or high tunnel production systems. This capacity will be gained by utilizing the Information presented in the training and in the take-home materials.

5. Participants will be better able to help more farmers gain access to USDA farm programs that are right for them because of information and resources about organic and high tunnel production that they gain through these trainings.

6. Southern SAWG and project collaborators will gain improved understanding of where further training is needed In order for NRCS and Extension agents to better serve new client farmers using organic and/or high tunnel production systems. Evaluation: Description of evaluation methods to be used, Indicating how the project process and project outcomes will be assessed. Using a program logic model, we will identify and track the activities necessary to achieve each of our objectives, the evaluation evidence of each activity (outputs), and the evaluation evidence of each of our expected outcomes. We will utilize pre- and post-training questionnaires for both formative and summative evaluation of this project.


Successful Events in Arkansas and Louisiana

NRCS Training in Arkansas, December 2013. We completed two 2-day training sessions in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Originally scheduled for October 21-22 and October 23-24, these events were cancelled due to the government shutdown in early October 2013. Rescheduled for December 16-17 and 18-19, 2013, the trainings served fifty two NRCS personnel. Working with John A. Lee, Jr. State Conservation Agronomist for the state of Arkansas; US Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service in Little Rock, AR, as well as working with Institutional and farmer partners to make adjustments f necessary, and plan remaining training events, we will make adjustments to previous instructional materials as needed.

We worked to promote each training event through NRCS and Extension Service communication networks. Register participants. Prepare packets of participant tike-home materials. Evaluate trainings, communicate results to partners, and if needed, make adjustments to Improve effectiveness. Our team of three consultant trainers and two staff provided two, 2-day sessions for twenty five NRCS personnel each session. The sessions were augmented by farm visits to North Pulaski Farms where they utilize the “Haygrove” system of High Tunnels. The farm is organic certified – has been chosen by the NRCS state agronomist?? The workshops were designed with the direction of state Agronomist, John Lee, who focused on the fact that most of the NRCS field staff is still not comfortable with organic practices, and they need more tools to share practices. It was noted that organic certification has doubled in the past few years.

The state agronomist asked that we provide a substantial catalog of resources along with providing in-depth training on the following subjects: 1. How to go out to an organic farm and understand their resource concerns? 2. Crop land vs.- high tunnel practices 3. Parameters of nutrients and pest control 4. Nutrient/pest/residue management; pollinator habitats/buffers 5. Hoop house overview – types of crops, marketing, worksheets, timing; 6. Organic systems plans and transitional – all new to his folks 7. Checklist for evaluation of organic farms 8. Be specific and practical– certifications/what to use on aphids; sources, lists of prohibited substances, etc. Almost hands-on role play to help train his NRCS service providers.

General Topics to be covered during classroom sessions included the following: • Principles of organic and natural farming systems, and how the principles are implemented; • Building and managing soil health and fertility in an organic system; • Crop diversity and crop rotation, including complex rotations as management strategies; • Weed, pest and disease management in organic systems; • Organic standards and approved materials; • Protecting organic certification in presence of potential contamination by air or water; • High tunnel siting, construction, ventilation, and material/design options; • Basic production in high tunnels, including bed design, irrigation, ventilation; • Critical factors for profitable high-tunnel hoophouse production; • How market opportunities influence natural resource management decisions; • Economic viability on a small farm: Markets, customers, enterprise diversity, labor availability & cost; • Working with small plot sizes and small equipment, including in hoophouses; • Irrigation on small acreage; • Program outreach to new audiences using a grassroots approach. The full two day agenda included registration and there was a short pre-test and post test taken by all attendees.

The classroom topics included: 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration continental breakfast with coffee/fruit 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. NRCS Role with Organics and Hoop Houses – A. Williams 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Local and Organic: Niche for Small Producers – Mark Cain ? Dripping Springs Garden brief history and overview ? Scale; intensive production system; crops produced; markets. ? Organic certification, organic parameters, allowed/prohibited materials, paperwork, advantages and disadvantages 11:00 – 12:00 p.m. Organic Soil Management – J. Lukens 12:00 -12:15 p.m. North Pulaski Farm – overview with owner Kelly Carney 12:15 – 12:50 p.m. Lunch 1:00 – 3:00p.m. North Pulaski Farm Tour (Bus provided) 3:00 – 3:10 pm Final questions for farmer and on-site tour 3:10 – 3:30 pm Ride bus back to the classroom & end day Tuesday – Dec. 17 – Day Two Workshop Agenda (9:00 – 3:30 pm) 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration and coffee 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Review of North Pulaski Farm – practices/resources – A. Williams Conservation Planning / Organic Systems Plan 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. High Tunnels: Construction to Cropping— Mark Cain 11:00 – 12:00 pm High Tunnels – the new power point on cropping, including record-keeping for the grower. M. Cain (?) 12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch 1:00 – 2:00 pm Q&A and general discussion (expand on “learn the story”) Organic Weed & Pest Mgmt-AR 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Disease and Weed Control in Hoophouses: Using Soil Solarization–A. Williams 2:30 – 3:00 pm Organic Weed and Pest Control in an Intensive Production System– M. Cain 3:00-3:30 pm Final Q & A; Wrap-Up, Evaluations

Our local host farm was North Pulaski Farms, owned and operated by Kelly Carney since 2009. He says his passion for growing organic fruits and vegetables is only matched by his passion for spreading the word about organic food to his customers. http://www.northpulaskifarms.com/index.aspx Kelly named their growing systems after Flintstones characters to symbolize their desire to get back to ‘Bedrock’: • Fred is the main production system. Fred is a 2.1 acre series of gutter connected High Tunnel houses by Haygrove Growing Systems. Fred uses an advanced Luminance THB UV protected light defusing film designed to keep him warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Growing under poly helps manage water and prevent scalding which is critical to maintain a healthy crop. • Wilma is a 20×96 heated Green House used to start seeds and has a small production area for winter growing. • Barney is a 1/3 acre field of Ouachita and Navaho Thorn-less Blackberries. • Betty is a 1 acre Arkansas Black Apple Grove intercropped with 18 rows of vegetable production between the trees. • Bamm Bamm is a 3 acre field used for summer production. The tour was very informative and provided opportunities for group discussions on solutions to issues and potential conservation practices, which could be put in place.

LOUISIANA In Louisiana, we worked closely with Chris Coreil to present four separate trainings in locations around the state. It was important to reach as many NRCA personnel as possible with as much training as possible.

8:45 – 8:50 am Welcome and Logistics with pre-test. 8:50 – 9:00 am Andrew Williams NRCS program overviews 9:00- 9:20 am Jim Lukens – Principles of organic and natural farming – soil health/crop diversity & rotations Limited resources/scale/ planning 9:20 – 10:15 am Mark Cain – my farm/whole farm system Production and Marketing – SCALE the economics of market production Budgets and planning 10:15 – 10:40 am Andrew Williams – Solarization no till row cropping; Mulches 10:50 – 12:00 Mark Cain – High tunnel siting & management (tools, irrigation) Organic systems for pest controls 12:00 – 12:20 Q&A 12:20 – 1:00 pm LUNCH – what to look for 1:00 – 1:10 pm Drive to Farm 1:15 – 3:15 pm Farm Tour 3:15 – 3:30 pm Wrap up & Q&A and post test

February 24, Monday, in RACELAND, LA. We were hosted by the Arthur Lirette Farm, 2632 Hiway One, Raceland, LA, a farmer who has been using High Tunnels for four seasons. He is not organic certified, nor using organic practices, but is a farmer with 20 years experience. He operates a commercial operation, Diamond S Produce sells at On-Farm market and 2 Farmers Markets with 12 acres market produce. He is a new NRCS program participant with this High Tunnel.

February 25, Tuesday, in Lafayette, LA. We were hosted by Mark and Mary’s City Farm, LLC. 1506 Gloria Switch Road, Lafayette, LA. “City Farm is small sustainable farm located in north Lafayette. We grow a wide variety of seasonal produce. In addition to our produce we also enjoy growing over one hundred fig trees and blueberries. We are equally proud to have established Lafayette’s most recent farmers market “Lafayette farmers and artisan market at the horse farm”. We are first generation farmers who welcome the many challenges and rewards that such a lifestyle puts in front of us.”

February 26, Wednesday, in HOMER, LA. We were hosted by Gail Bridges Farm– near LSU Hill Farm Station where we held classes. Gail is using one High Tunnel (32 x 70) for 2 years and is transitioning to organic certified. She is a farmer w/ ten years experience and her husband retired Ext Agent; 20 year 4-H family w/ all the animals. She has been selling from porch/word of mouth for two years, mostly squash, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, peas/ Fall: collard & mustard greens.

February 27, Thursday, in ALEXANDRIA, LA. We were hosted by Inglewood Farm at 6287 Old Baton Rouge Highway, Alexandria, LA 71302. They are an organic certified pecan and vegetable operation on a large plantation which is converting all its lands to organic practices.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

“The training was great. No recommendations”

• Participants were quick to share how much they gained in understanding the concepts and practices of small-scale horticultural production in general. We received evaluation feedback that the ability of participants to assist producers in increasing economic sustainability was greatly improved (ranging from 38-63% increased confidence post training), thus adding to the economic sustainability of rural communities and the development of more sustainable food systems. • Peer relationships were strengthened and new contacts were made across the state of Arkansas, providing an opportunity for a group understanding and support system between NRCS offices working on high tunnel and organic certification systems. • An extensive library of take-home resources was developed to provide in-depth information for each course participant, including Southern SAWG’s interactive Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing in the South CD-ROM. This comprehensive educational tool incorporates volumes of materials developed by land grant universities and others, complemented with real life examples from a successful organic farm. It also contains one of the most comprehensive farmer-recommended resource lists available on this topic. A computer jump drive of resources, including the trainer’s power points was provided to each participant. • Special attention was given to discussing the applicability of federal programs being administered by NRCS and was explored in small group discussions. • Including on-farm training assisted to expand upon the classroom material and provided a hands-on experience of the practical aspects of organic and high tunnel production systems. EVALUATION SAMPLE – ALL COMMENTS – AR and LA – Feb 2014 All States All scores range 1 to 5, “Low” to “High” A. Organic Knowledge B. Hoophouse Knowledge C. Knowledge of Underserved Client Needs D. Level of Confidence to Serve Clients E. All Questions A B C D E Average Pre-Test score, all respondents 2.48 2.35 2.39 2.60 2.46 Average Post-Test score, all respondents 3.52 3.85 3.58 3.63 3.65 Change Pre- to Post-test score, all respondents 1.04 1.49 1.19 1.04 1.19 Percentage change in score Pre- to Post-test 41.97% 63.50% 49.69% 39.89% 48.46% Comments, Pre-Training Survey What are your expectations for this training? • To learn more about high tunnel growing. • To gain knowledge about hoop houses. • To gain experience in hoophouse/high tunnel system. • To gain learning on organic horticulture & high tunnel production. • Conservation planning for organic production • To have a better understanding of organic & hoophouse production. • To learn how to better use high tunnels for vegetable production. • Soil conservation information; hoophouse management – pest & disease, crop rotation info, organic certification requirements. • Learn a little more about high tunnel production, especially the problems/issues. Learn more about construction/materials construction. • To learn about high tunnel growing. Am a grower for farmers market. Would like to learn more about extending crop production. • Learn more of organic & hoophouse practices. • To learn to better manage high tunnel production. • Learn more on the organizations and businesses interested, promoting and implementing sustainable agricultural practices. Learn some Permaculture techniques on a small scale. Learn. • Learn more about high tunnels. • Hope to get helpful info for organic farming & how to make my greenhouses more productive & organized. • To learn more about organic and hoophouse production in order to be able to provide up to date technical assistance to producers involved in those in organic and hoophouse production; to learn practical tips for those systems. • No expectations. • To learn quite a bit and meet lots of people. • Better knowledge and use of the hoophouse. How to incorporate it into my job. • Learn more about organic farming practices in small acreage farms using hoop tunnels to improve production and fight disease, insect, and weed pressure (and extend growing season). • To obtain information on organic horticulture and especially on vegetable production with use of hoop houses. • Obtain useful information that will increase my knowledge or organic practices & hoophouse production. Hopeful, this will result in increased production of better produce for my customers. • Your advice on organics. • Economics of high tunnel. • As a farmer I am looking to network with other farmers & NRCS professionals. I want to know how to best work with my NRCS office. • Learn more on hoop house. 30+ year farmer. • Learning more in the hoop house production & hopefully get a hoop/high tunnel house as a farmer for 20 + yrs (female farmer) (Black Female) • Learn more about hoophouse. • To gain knowledge about organic farming in hoophouse and construction of hoop house. • Increase organic farming knowledge. • none • Gain a better understanding of seasonal high tunnels and crops grown in them. • Better understanding of organic systems. • To learn more about high tunnel house and maintenance and construction of them. • Techniques to apply organic pest control. • Learn about potential for agrotourism. • To be able to improve my practices (hoppy farm) & present Master Gardener programs on organic farming, answer questions from the public effectively. • To learn how to advise farmers in hoophouse growing. • To learn more about using a high tunnel more efficiently & how to obtain one. • To learn more about production techniques to share with my clientele. • To become more aware of the terms and practices of organic horticulture and high tunnel production. • Obtain some inside knowledge to the needs of small/organic producers. • Seasonal high tunnel training. • clarity. • Learn about local grower’s needs as it involves high tunnel and organic production • Gain a broader view of High Tunnel cropping systems and their use in Organic Production. • Not sure what to expect; wanting to learn about high tunnels. • Learn best practices for high tunnel production application. • Get a better economic and technical understanding of hoophouse growing. • Learn about the vegetables & plants produces in this region. Designing, constructing & using hoophouses & greenhouses. Specific organic questions. Being to help others. • Obtain current pest practices and determine existing support programs. • To learn more about organic gardening practices and about the hoophouse. • Learn how organic farming and hoophouses work. • Learn about purpose and construction of hoop houses. • See what it is about. • To learn about planting in the high tunnel. • To learn more about planting in hoop house. • Learn more about high tunnels & organic production. • To learn more about Green Houses • To learn more about greenhouses. • To acquire knowledge in high tunnel operation. • Organic ABCs. Hoophouse possibilities • To learn basics of hoop culture. • Learn more about hoop house production and organics to allow me to assist nonprofits & others. • Gaining knowledge & skills for personal use with hoophouse & organic production. • To learn more about construction, profitability & management of hoophouses. • Gain knowledge. • High. • Obtain working knowledge of organic farming & hoophouses. • Learn helpful ins and outs of management of hoophouse environment. Control of moisture, fungi, & disease. • To learn best practices in hoophouse production. • To learn more about high tunnels. • Learn what crops are viable for hoophouse production, common pest & disease problems. How to use a hoophouse efficiently. • My expectations for this training is to learn about the requirements and basics of organic and hoophouse production. • My expectations for this training is to learn as much information as I can about organic production and high tunnels to successfully implement these practices in our parish within the NRCS. • More knowledge of managing hoop houses. • Learning more about high tunnel — Production, planting, management and maintenance. • What are the advantages of high tunnel & hoop houses. How to get funding? What can I plant and when To plant it. • Learn about organic certification • To have a good idea on the construction and costs & benefits of hoophouse. • To know more about hoophouse production. • Learn more about hoophouses. • Program information. • Program information. • How do you utilize high tunnel in summer time. • Learn more about high tunnel Greenhouse for produce • Learn about the use of high tunnel greenhouses and their production value. • Information about the hoop house. • Start to develop a plan for specialty crop production in hoop houses. Develop contacts for assistance as we start production. Develop knowledge for planning of construction of structures on our property. Comments, Post-Training Survey Were your expectations for this training met by this event? • I now have a better understanding of hoophouse production practices. Everyone was very informative. Looking forward for more training in the future. • Learned how to integrate useful organic practices, which will benefit me greatly this year. • Good overview of organic & hoophouse production. Also a very good networking opportunity. • I came to this training with very little knowledge about High Tunnels and now I have some insight. • Enjoyed listening to speakers and meeting other like minded people. • Learn more about high tunnel & specifics. • Information on construction and planting was presented very well. • Confirmed what I thought I knew. • Learned about organic practices & hoop house use and construction. • Operation of larger scale farms • Learned more on hoop house. • Enjoyed listening to Mark Cain & his experiences. • Excellent speakers & info. Wish I could have gotten someone from my NRCS office to attend. • Conservation practices were discussed & on farm site visit demonstration showed some of these practices. • Received helpful info on how to organize greenhouse. • A thorough training & understanding of organic hoophouses & production. • Good info on culturing practices and update on EQIIP. • Learned quite a bit. Met lots of people. • Yes, wish I had had it before I built the tunnel. • Learned from farmers and consultants many tips and do’s and don’ts. Lots of thought provoking material to take home & into the classroom. Great ideas for a small scale garden. • Opportunity to see practice in place. The field representatives were very well informed and professional. • More than expected. Thanks. • Excellent meeting; good presenters, excellent location, broad experience level of presenters. • Explained how high tunnel funding works. • Excellent presentations. Learned a lot of information. • I am much more knowledgeable about High Tunnels and organic practices. This was a fantastic event. • I learned quite a bit of info that I can share with my clientele. • Have some good ideas to bring back for the community gardeners. • I learned more about organic and tunnel house. • Enjoyed hearing about NRCS programs, Arkansas horticulture. • Very good presentations. • Excellent — great speakers and so nice to have had NRCS and farmers learning together & teaching each other. • Great speakers and great high tunnel demonstration etc. • Absolutely!!! Hands-on, informative & very applicable. • Excellent — Instruction & practical application. • I learned all about High Tunnels and growing produce. • Yes I learned about construction & the purpose. • Great presentations — Much info. • I have more understanding of high tunnel structures & the benefits. • I learned a great deal about the NRCS programs that provide funding for hoophouses. I also learned the necessary activities needed for organic production. • Learned significant amount regarding hoop house construction and techniques for weed control. • I gained knowledge that will be very useful in acquiring, citing, and using a hoophouse. • Learned what I wanted to know about high tunnel production. • Very informative; Very knowledgeable speakers. • Learn more about high tunnels. Got a lot of different about what to and how to plant and take care of them. How to open & close. Lots of information. • fully understand the basics of organic production and high tunnels. • The presenters did a great job of explaining the processes of creating and maintaining an organic and hoophouse operation. • Great info on planting & production in the high tunnel. • Learned a lot. Mind boggling. • Some things I have done were logic and were verified here. I am excited about Solarization which is a new concept for me along these lines. • Learned a lot about hoophouses. • Great.! I learned a lot. • They covered how to use efficiently, pest problems, & more. • I have vertical hydroponic garden. Many things were not totally applicable. • I learned how a hoop house was constructed. • It was more than hoop houses. • Learned a lot about organic farming. • New hoop house grower. • Excellent. If you found this training useful for your service to producers, please specify some of the ways you plan to use what you learned. If not, please explain. • I plan to erect hoop houses as I can. I think this practice will be very beneficial to my farm to extend my growing season and provide higher quality products. • Build a hoophouse to extend my growing seasons. • General knowledge & network. • Hoophouse construction. • Planning on building a greenhouse in the near future. • For applicants who come in inquiring about high tunnels and organic farming. • I am a master gardener. This information will be helpful answering questions. • High tunnel production in cold weather and make more money. • Offer construction/design/production advice. • Building of hoop houses and cost share with NRCS. • Learning about hoop house. • Look further into NRCS programs & bring that info to the (??) LIWGA (??) growers. • NRCS program availability. • Learned new techniques of the planning process. • The needs for small farmers. • Funding Hoop House. • Mark’s video of his operation. • Financing. • To promote more hoop house & organic production in the Parish. • Applying for cost share with NRCS for our community garden. • Explain the hoophouses to growers at local meetings what is available. • Learned about opportunities and practices in play. • I’ll use the information to help with producers within the NRCS. • I can now explain how the organic production process can be beneficial. • I can explain to family why they should sign a lease to help the farm for years & to the next generation. • Growing Mayhaw (trees) & grafting to sell. • Solarization. • Secure hoop house if possible for mayhaw seedlings. • Will plan to build a hoophouse with the grant we have from USDA CBG. • Know facts concerning location & drainage on construction. • I gained more information about hoop houses. • Practices to control weeds and pests. • I better understand the needs / concerns of organic & hoophouse systems. • In my own future operation, these methods will direct my decision making. • Building a hoop house. • Had some good marketing tips and good info on CSA operation. • Start a single hoop house production. • Explained mistakes to avoid. • Do a better job of production and marketing. • relay information learned on to potential customers. • Encourage hoophouse development for small & limited resource producers. 2) Develop programming to educate for organic production. 3) Self production & marketing. • helps my husband’s plans in my high tunnel. • New ideas for existing greenhouse practice — Solarization etc. • Program for Master Gardeners • To convince people to use them. • Use woven instead of plastic. • Explain the process to other MG and gardeners. • Suggestions for materials and conditions for construction. • Some insight into production and marketing. • Organic gardening. • Better understand the lingo when working with folks who grow this way. • I will add info to my talks with groups. • NRCS programs, soil prep in houses, laying plastic. • Increase recommendations to build hoophouses. • Build own hoophouse. Solarization. • Investigate the NRCS grants — pursue green production. • How to control pest, water, and plant growth. • Helping with financial assistance & technical for producers. • To help customers install high tunnel. • Develop practices & methods. • I plan to implement into my farm. • I can use this training in the greenhouse I work in. • Will share info through Master Gardener programs. • Look forward & consider production value in plants. • Identifying weed control methods w/ producers • Pay more attention to health of soil. • Working with producers. • I am a producer. • Tell friends. What was the most beneficial part of the event or the most useful information presented? • Technical info & methods of hoop house production & practices. • Organic horticulture portion. Great information. • The networking. • Visit to local farm to see production on the farm. • The services that are offered to help farmers that I didn’t know existed. • The power points and the onsite visit. • Pictures of high tunnel production. 1st hand look at farm. • Mr. Williams & the farmers gave successful information on high tunnels & ways to improve production. • Lecture but in field discussion about NRCS programs was great. • Contact with experienced growers. • Presenter from Dripping Springs Farms • Building hoop house. • The discussion @ the on-site tour. • Mark Cain’s slide show • The construction of hoop houses. • Growing in Hoop House. • Cost sharing. • The types of produce & plants grown in the hoop house. • NRCS technical assistance, planning, and conservation practices. • Well organized and planned. • Building of hoop house & issues. • Production practices that worked for others: Crop choice, water management, pest management. • Only present for Hoophouse visit & discussion, so gained greater hints for positive production. • Great discussion group / sharing ideas. • Experienced organic farm presenters. Experienced NRCS staff & years of knowledge. • Informal question & answer. Visit to farm. • Marketing produce. • How to increase production. • Construction and materials used when building hoop houses. • On site visit and Mark’s experience. • Use of actual organic farmer conducting presentation. Outstanding job. • Mark Cain. • Learning how to build the hoop house. • Seeing it in action at RGB Farm. • Mark’s talk about his farm. • Seeing the hoop house up close. • How to put it together, control weed and pest and heat. • Construction photos. • The most useful information was going to the field and actually seeing the practices in use. • The field observation was the most beneficial because it included a hands-on & actual observation of an organic operation. • Slides and field. • Info on getting a high tunnel and how to have it put up. • Very good learning experience. • Better understanding of operation of hoop house. • Solarization. • financial information. • What you can do with hoophouse. • The heating to rid area of vegetation & pests. • Building a hoop house. • The tour of Inglewood farm. • The farm walk. • The part specific to hoophouse production, & the tour of possibilities. • Everything. • Marketing & product sales (high value crops). • The use of the hoop house to grow multiple crops. • Hoop house construction. • Learned more about organic farming. • Hoop house construction. • Hoop house construction. • Both the speakers and the high tunnel demo were great. • Farmer-led presentations. • How to build Hoophouse! How to do the practical. • All of it. • Seeing the hoophouse at Lirette farm. • Video of construction. • Contacts & referrals. • Speaking to fellow farmers. • Speakers PP presentations & farm visit. • Hoop house visit • I’m still digesting. • Hands on viewing of high tunnel • Weed & fertility info for organic producers. • Farmer talk. • Problems in hoop house. • Advantages of hoophouses. • Hoophouses in general; Plan to get one. • How to plant in the hoop house. • Person who was a farmer. • Mark Cain’s presentation. • Learning from those actually doing what they teach. • Explain it. Please offer recommendations on how we can improve this training. • Great job! • More often. Perhaps quarterly. • None. Weather conditions in South Louisiana are too unpredictable. • The training was great. No recommendations. • Visit other farmers in high production. • Bathroom provided. • More like it on things such as IPM & business operations/management. • More onsite training. • Schedule time for us to think about our own operations & create a high tunnel planting schedule & have Mark & the NRCS team comment on our plan for what, how, & when we would plant under the high tunnel. • more more more • N/A Good Job • Enjoyed! Useful info. • All Good. • None at this time. • The training is wonderful, enjoyable, and informative. • No recommendations. • Make more widely available — more outreach. • Please offer recommendations on how we can improve this training. • Pretty good training. • Great presentations. • Contrasting designs on equipment & stakes in a hoop house. • Conduct more of the same in other locations. • More of the same. Thanks. • Show equipment used. • Great. • Good. • Have hoop house example. • Excellent. Concise. • All Good! • More greenhouse handout & data. • An agenda for the event with key speaker’s information & platform speaking on. • The more pictures the better. • Thought program was really good. • I can’t wait to review with the jump drive. • Broaden scope to include Master Gardener, & small farm organizations when possible. • Excellent job. Thanks. • Keep on. • N/A • Add more marketing. • None. It was great. • None. • More practical application. • Have more.


Eric Schwab

[email protected]
Conservation Agronomist
3381 Skyway Drive
Auburn, AL 36830
Office Phone: 3348874548
Pamela Kingfisher

[email protected]
Program Specialist
Southern SAWG
P.O. Box 36
Moodys, OK 74444
Office Phone: 9188683727
Website: www.ssawg.org
Karen Wynne

[email protected]
1389 Cornhill Road
Hartsdale, AL 35640
Office Phone: 2565202400
Mark Cain

[email protected]
Organic Producer
Dripping Springs Garden
1558 CR 548
Huntsville, AR 72740
Office Phone: 8705453658
John Lee

[email protected]
State Conservationist Agronomist
4 Congressional Drive
Little Rock, AR 72210
Office Phone: 5013013100
Chris Coreil, Jr.

[email protected]
State Conservationist Agronomist
3737 Government St.
Alexandria, AL 71302
Office Phone: 3184737751
Website: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/la/contact/
Andrew Williams

[email protected]
Retired NRCS/Producer
5850 AL Hyw 66
Safford, AL 36773
Office Phone: 3346273276
Mark Schonbeck

[email protected]
Trainer/ Soil Scientist
205 Tanager Lane NW
Floyd, VT 24091
Office Phone: 5407454130
Josh Hardin

[email protected]
Organic Producer
Laughing Stock Farms
7621 Hwy 46N
Sheridan, AR 72150
Office Phone: 8708663753
Chris Coreil, Jr.

[email protected]
State Conservationist Agronomist
3737 Government St.
Alexandria, LA 71302
Office Phone: 3184737805