- Agronomic: corn, cotton, rice
- Education and Training: extension, focus group, networking
- Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, market study, whole farm planning
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, social networks
The goal of this project is to create a network to catalyze formation of locally-owned, value-added enterprises. Value-added food processing enterprises typically expect an 18-20% return on investment, among the highest of all sectors of the U.S. economy. Return to farms for raw commodity production averages 2-3%. Adding value to raw commodities before they leave the Delta could create jobs and keep the profits in rural communities.
1. Initiate a multi-state network for development of skills related to value-added diversification in agriculture. This will include
a. Form networks of agency personnel across states.
b. Initiate resource sharing strategies between these groups.
2. Assess training needs in the region in value-added diversification. This assessment will include:
a. Identify strengths and weaknesses of each state’s programs. Initiate plans of cooperation between states.
b. Educate participants of present value of value-added efforts in each state.