Training in Agriculture Program (TAP)

1998 Annual Report for ES98-042

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1998: $17,890.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Dorothy Barker
Operation Spring Plant, Inc.

Training in Agriculture Program (TAP)


1.) Identification and implementation training facilitation avenues on growing and adding value to farm products in a co-op business manner by identifying areas of sustainable agriculture training needs.
2.) Identify fifteen limited resource, minority and small family farmers from one or more of the targeted services and compile data to determine profile of farm, family, training needs the training methods best suited for them
3.) Improve capacity building techniques by conducting a quick response survey mailing to area and regional agriculture and inter-related agencies and institutions on availability of training resources and facilitators. Connect participating agencies and institutions, Develop Resource Sharing partnerships to amass training materials, equipment, printing, avenues for training certification, and awards for training completion.

TAP is a training facilitation project aimed at coordination and collaboration with minority limited resource small farmers local regional and state agriculturally based stakeholders in NC. An on-going delivery system of sustainable agriculture among family farmers is being delivered.

Operation Spring Plant, Inc. coordinated for farmers to attend a rotational grazing school at NC State. OSP facilitated a hands-on, on-farm training on how to keep animal waste out of streams, rivers, and creeks. We collaborated and coordinated with local extension agents on fencing and supplying an alternative water source. This allowed small farmers to prevent a build up of manure’s, which leaches out nitrogen into farm water supply. Providing a fence around the creeks and water supply prevents livestock from entering the water supply. The fencing next to the creeks should be at least 25-50 feet Moving cows around spreads the cow’s manure better, eliminating a high concentration of nitrogen in one area. This pattern also provides a nutritious, healthy, and fresh grazing to the animals for a longer period of time.

A major training is risk management The first order of training is to train the facilitator to establish the best time of year to conduct a training that best reaches a larger farmer audience. A need for more on-farm risk management is a must for small family farmers. With Industrialized risk management, small farmers don t have the large allotments or quotas required to get paid a large amount of money through the government programs. In some areas certain crops aren’t covered through insurance. This means that the county or state has to be declared a total disaster for small farmers to reap benefits.

Our farmer feedback on risk management stated that it should include a piece that will allow for education or training for farmers to look at on-farm risk management The need for farmers to diversify is now, but it takes a longer time for commodities to be added for coverage if you are not growing in a NAP area.

OSP conducted and facilitated a farmer survey when we introduced the idea of cooperative business development for small farmers in an attempt to capture the produce market As small family farmers we cannot capture or maintain the fruits and vegetable market. Farmers have already made marketing agreements from the traditional tobacco crop carries; however, as they develop and grow new produce, a new rural co-op business development is a plan that is been seriously considered.

More training to small farmers on co-op business and returns, different types of co-ops, and marketing agreements are needed if we are to benefit from this program. Our farmers comments and concerns stated clearly “What’s in this for me? Will I sell more products? Am I protected better by selling cooperatively? How can my family benefit by me being a member?”