Sustainable ACEs (Agriculture,Curricula,Energy) for Tennessee
This project is currently on track with respect to the objectives identified. A stakeholder advisory group was created and had a face-to-face meeting in August 2015. A curriculum with presentations are nearly completed and will be submitted to the stakeholder advisory group for final comments by late April. Dates and locations for the workshops have been established and advertisement of these workshops have been made to Extension agents, and local officials at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, FSA and NRCS. Future milestones include development of a final draft of the curriculum and the creation of an evaluation instrument for agents/local officials engaged in the training program (Phase 1) and farmers participating in later workshops (Phase 2) and implementation, evaluation, and amendment of the biomass energy curriculum.
The proposed objectives related to milestones are as follows:
1. Establish stakeholder advisory group consisting of Extension agents and farmers/ranchers to provide assistance in planning the overall outline and structure of the curriculum on biomass
2. Generate a research-based curriculum, training manual and workshop plan for Extension agents and state and federal officials to use as they train producers.
3. Field test the curriculum and training manual through train-the trainer workshops (Phase 1) and initial training of producers (Phase 2).
4. Revise curriculum and training manual based on results from field testing data collection to produce final versions.
5. Upload revised final version of curriculum and training manual to TSU/UT Energy Education and SARE websites.
This project has created a stakeholder advisory group that is made up of one Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension agent from each of the three regions in Tennessee and 1-2 farmers from each region for a total of 8 members. This group had a face-to-face meeting with the project team in August 2015 where biomass energy information was provided by the team to the stakeholder advisory group and the stakeholder advisory group provided input on potential curriculum priorities. Meeting minutes were taken. One suggestion that was brought up by the stakeholder advisory group was to include information on how to start a cooperative as this would be important for farmers. This is being incorporated into our training curricula. The curriculum development is nearing completion with the expectation that a draft will be completed in late April. Once completed, this will be provided to members of the stakeholder advisory group for final comments. Once revised, the curriculum will be implemented in regional meetings. The dates and locations for the regional meetings have been set. The Western Region meeting will be held on June 21, 2016 at the Agricenter International in Memphis, TN, the Middle Region meeting will be held on August 16, 2016 at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN and the Eastern Region meeting will be held on July 27, 2016 in Loudon, TN. These trainings have been uploaded to the Extension database operated by University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University. The trainings have also been advertised to Extension agents and Tennessee Department of Agriculture, FSA and NRCS.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Since the first year was the curriculum development phase, there are no major impacts or contributions to report.