Experiential High Tunnel Training for Cooperative Extension Service Agents in Kentucky

Project Overview

ES19-148
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $64,304.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Grant Recipient: University of Kentucky
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Rachel Rudolph
University of Kentucky

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Crop Production: cover crops, crop improvement and selection, cropping systems, crop rotation, fertigation, fertilizers, high tunnels or hoop houses, irrigation, organic fertilizers, season extension types and construction
  • Education and Training: extension, workshop
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, cultivation, cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, flame, integrated pest management, mulching - plastic, physical control, prevention, sanitation

    Proposal abstract:

    High tunnel production has grown considerably in Kentucky since 2012. However, many growers still struggle with production challenges that are more commonly observed in high tunnel systems, such as soil salinity, appropriate fertilizer use, and season extension. Because high tunnels are still relatively new, many Cooperative Extension Service agents do not have the experience or information to properly assist high tunnel growers. The objective of this project is to better capacitate CES agents with accurate information and useful skills needed to better support the current and future high tunnel growers in their communities. A training series specific to high tunnels will be provided through the University of Kentucky. Agents from UK and Kentucky State University will be invited to participate in the two-year training series. UK Extension specialists will provide research-based information and resources, as well as instruction for hands-on experience in six different training sessions. Instruction and learning will happen both in the classroom and the field. Experienced growers will attend each training session and share their experiences with the agents and provide feedback to specialists after each training. Although the agents are the audience for the trainings, the ultimate audience is the growers who the agents will serve in their counties. Agents will be surveyed in order to assess each training session’s impact and evaluate whether changes to future sessions are necessary. At the 2021 completion of the training series, agents will be expected to lead a high tunnel-related training supervised by the project director.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The project objectives are to train Kentucky county CES agents to have a comprehensive understanding of high tunnel operations. At least six different workshops, each focusing on specific aspects of high tunnel production will be offered over the course of two years.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.