Trainer's Training in Agroforestry Practices in the Southeastern Region: 1890 Agroforestry Consortium Initiative

2014 Annual Report for ES13-114

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2013: $99,540.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Uma Karki
Tuskegee University

Trainer's Training in Agroforestry Practices in the Southeastern Region: 1890 Agroforestry Consortium Initiative


This project is an initiative of the 1890 Agroforestry Consortium (1890 AC) to train field-level Extension and technical assistant personnel (hereafter field personnel) and lead landowners in agroforestry practices in the Southeastern Region. The 1890 AC was established in 2000 under the aegis of USDA Forest Service to enable collaborative partnerships among 1890 institutions in agroforestry research, teaching, and Extension. Tuskegee University is leading the project and four other 1890 land-grant universities: Alabama A&M, Alcorn State, Florida A&M, and North Carolina A&T are collaborating. Collaborators from all these universities are members of the 1890 AC.  Agroforestry is a sustainable land-use system that involves an intentional integration and management of trees, crops, and/or livestock in a single management unit. This system offers diversified income opportunities, promotes sound environment, and creates appealing scenery, thereby promoting the sustainability of the whole system. Southeastern Region has a great potential for developing various agroforestry practices because of this region’s suitable environment for growing all components of agroforestry systems. However, the adoption of agroforestry practices is currently negligible because of inadequate research and Extension education.   The project goal was to train field personnel and limited resource landowners in agroforestry practices for efficient management of land resources. Project objectives were to 1) develop training curricula in agroforestry practices, and 2) train field personnel and lead landowners in agroforestry practices in the Southeastern Region. Major project activities were to prepare training curricula and conduct hands-on training in agroforestry practices. The first draft of the curricula was prepared and curricula-based trainers’ trainings on agroforestry practices were conducted at two locations in 2014. Field personnel and landowners from different states of the Southeast (Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) participated in the training sessions. The impact evaluation of the already completed training sessions is ongoing. Three more training sessions are planned for 2015.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Objective 1. To develop training curricula in Agroforestry practices 
The performance targets for this objective were to prepare training curricula (handbook) that include (1) the basic principles of agroforestry practices, and (2) application of these principles in the development and management of different agroforestry practices such as silvopasture, alley cropping, forest farming, riparian buffers, and windbreaks. Moreover, information on economic and environmental benefits of agroforestry systems was included in the handbook. In the process of curricula development, experts from the collaborating land-grant universities worked together through various meetings, conference calls, webinars, emails, and telephone calls. In this process, experts strengthened their knowledge in the area of their expertise and also gained knowledge on other topics while reviewing them. As a result, their knowledge and skills on various agroforestry practices became more comprehensive than before, and this was helpful to all experts to be more effective educators than before.

2) To train field personnel and lead landowners in agroforestry practices in the Southeastern Region 
Two curricula-based training sessions were conducted  in 2014 (October 28-29, Tuskegee University, AL and Nov. 20-21, North Carolina A&T (Raleigh), NC). Both training sessions included indoor presentations on various topics of agroforestry systems (Silvopasture – trees, forages, soil, animals and facilities, grazing management; Forest Farming; Alley Cropping; Wind Break; Riparian Buffers, Ecosystem Services; and Economic Assessment) and site tours (Atkins Silvopasture Site, Tuskegee University, and Silvopasture Site in North Carolina). Additionally, Tuskegee session included hands-on activities: soil sample collection, processing, and sending to the lab; measuring tree diameter (DBA), pruning, installing electric fencing and watering facilities for rotational grazing, and identification and use of different medicinal plants (naturally grown and that can be grown in the forest).


Objective 1. To develop training curricula in Agroforestry practices 

A draft of the curricula (handbook) was developed and made available to all the trainers and trainees. Computer-based presentations relevant to different topics of the training curricula were prepared for indoor training sessions. There are seven modules in total, with few modules having different sections. These modules are 1) Silvopasture (contains five sections: Silvopasture Introduction, Establishment and Management of Trees in Silvopasture Systems, Forage Selection and Establishment in a Silvopasture System, Suitable Animal Species and Facility Requirements for Grazing in a Silvopasture System, and Sustainable Grazing Management in a Silvopasture System), 2) Forest Farming, 3) Alley Cropping, 4) Riparian Buffers, 5) Windbreaks, 6) Ecosystem Services, and 7) Economic Assessment. Reviews and edits are ongoing on the draft to prepare the final version.

Objective 2. To train field personnel and lead landowners in agroforestry practices in the Southeastern Region
Curricula-based 2-day training sessions were conducted at Tuskegee University facility (October 23-24, 2014) and North Carolina A&T (November 20-21, 2014). Field personnel and lead land owners interested in agroforestry systems were approached through the Cooperative Extension Program of land-grant universities, State Forestry Commissions, USDA/NRCS offices, and relevant community-based organizations including Federation of Southern Cooperatives. Fourteen professionals and 25 landowners from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri participated in the training sessions.  All trainees received a package of training materials including the training handbook. Additionally, they visited the agroforestry sites and took part in several hand-on activities to strengthen their knowledge and skills on agroforestry practices.  Three more training sessions are scheduled for 2015 (Alabama A&M University, July 11; Florida A&M University, July 20; Tuskegee University, September 11).

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Participants gained knowledge and skills on agroforestry practices.  Majority of the trainees rated the content of the program very useful. All trainees expressed that they gained knowledge on different agroforestry practices, and their advantages and challenges. Moreover, trainees also became aware of the economic, environmental, and social benefits of agroforestry systems. One of the trainees from Alabama is developing silvopasture system from the existing woodland, and another trainee is in the process of improving existing pine silvopasture by thinning down the stand and cultivating suitable warm-season and cool-season forages. Both of them are working closely with the project director. Detail impact study is ongoing, and will be reported in the final progress report.

Another important contribution of this project is the publication Agroforestry Training Curricula (handbook). The final version of this handbook will be published and made available to all educators, landowners, and the public by putting the handbook online (Tuskegee University website). Printed version will be made available to all trainees and 1890 Agroforestry Consortium trainers. Experts from this project team will continuously organize educational programs based on clientele’s demand using the handbook. Trained field personnel are expected to educate landowners in their working areas on agroforestry practices and help them to develop and manage such practices.   


Dr. Nar Gurung
Research Associate Professor
Tuskegee University
207 Milbank Hall
Tuskegee University
Tuskegee, AL 36088
Office Phone: 3347278457
Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd
Associate Professor
Alcorn State University
1000 ASU Drive 703
Alcorn State, MS 39096-7500
Office Phone: 6018776532
Dr. Lila Karki
Agricultral Economist
Tuskegee University
201 Morrison-Mayberry Hall
Tuskegee University
Tuskegee, AL 36088
Office Phone: 3347505226
Dr. Colmore Christian
Associate Professor
Alabama A&M University
P. O. Box 1927
Normal , AL 35762
Office Phone: 2563724335
Dr. Srinivasa Mentreddy
Alabama A&M University
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Alabama A&M University
Normal, AL 35762
Office Phone: 2563724250
Dr. Youssouf Diabate
Assistant Professor
Tuskegee University
201 Mary Starke Harper Hall
Tuskegee University
Tuskegee , AL 36088
Office Phone: 3347244428
Dr. Oghenekome Onokpise
Florida A&M University
Perry-Paige Building
Room 204 South
Tallahassee, FL 32307
Office Phone: 8505998816
Dr. Joshua Idassi
Natural Resources Specialist
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
NCAT-Cooperative Etension Program
North Carolina A&T State University
Greensboro, NC 27411
Office Phone: 3362854688