South Central Kansas Residue Alliance, “A Framework for Change” One Producer, One Farm at a Time!

Project Overview

FNC10-808
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2010: $17,920.09
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Grant Recipient: Sowers Farm
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Leon Sowers
Farmer, Project Coordinator
Co-Coordinators:

Annual Reports

Information Products

Commodities

  • Agronomic: barley, canola, corn, cotton, millet, oats, rye, sorghum (milo), soybeans, sunflower, wheat, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational, stocking rate, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: crop rotation, continuous cropping, cover crops, double cropping, intercropping, multiple cropping, no-till, nutrient cycling, ridge tillage, tissue analysis, conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, workshop, youth education, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration, biodiversity, soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: earthworms, organic matter, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation, analysis of personal/family life, social capital, social networks, sustainability measures

    Summary:

    Summary:
    The 2010 South Central Kansas (SCKRA), “A Vehicle for Change”, One Producer, One Farm at a Time! SARE grant proposal that was approved for funding on March 16, 2011 has been completed. The title did get modified just slightly from “A Vehicle for Change” to “A Framework for Change” to better match the completed video on DVD. We are very proud of this finished product and look forward to your feedback as to your satisfaction with meeting the goal of our project.

    This project was not without some hurdles that had to be faced and overcome. We lost our primary coordinator, Roger Masenthin, in the middle of shooting our video, and then eventually lost the Chaparral High School students due to graduation and then ultimately lost the production manager and editor due to his taking a new assignment in a different school District. These obstacles led us to request an extension last year of 12 months to finish the DVD.

    We contracted with Kiowa County Media Center in Greensburg, Kansas to finish the video, which has been an interesting adventure having been in the middle of things when they were called upon to help. The focus of this project in the last 12 months has been entirely on the completion of the video, and depicting in the eyes of the Alliance, how the “Framework for Change”, which is a 10-step process, has helped them to make the transition from conventional farming to no-till farming in an attempt to be more sustainable and profitable.

    Introduction:
    In the south central Kansas area that the 10-county SCKRA covers, the practice and adoption of conventional farming continues to dominate and rule the minds of most of the farmers. The result of this being in this “rut” and unable to see where the conventional farming practices are causing grave concern for the preservation and degradation of our natural resources, we decided that it was time to help educate those around us about some potential ways to “do things different” and be sustainable and profitable at the same time.

    Objectives/Performance Targets:
    As described in our proposal, we set out to educate through various means of communications ( i.e., workshops, tours, coffee shop talk meetings, scholarships, traveling mobile display exhibits), and ultimately produce a DVD for mass distribution depicting the importance of “change,” and how several of the SCKRA members, through this process of change, have brought about significant improvements to their farming operations.

    Methods:
    Methods used to accomplish the goals of the project were website, one-on-one talks, speakers, personal stories, interviews, surveys, displays, brochures, flyers, videos, powerpoints, newspapers, and emails. These were all used as methods to convey the message of how we are finding new ways to address the concerns of today’s cultural, social, environmental, ecological issues.

    Outcomes and Impacts:
    The outcome and impact of the message that is important to the SCKRA can only be measured in time and is hard to quantify. The shear attendance and participation that has accompanied the various undertaking of the Alliance during this project has been astounding. We estimate that as many as four thousand individuals have been affected by the activities carried out the SCKRA in the last three years.

    Accomplishments:
    We created a website that can be accessed at www.sckra.org, held three spring workshops, held three farm tours, held seven coffee shop talk meetings, awarded five scholarships to various events, and offered the mobile display to CD which was used 4 times. The final and most rewarding of all the accomplishments of course was the 30:37 minute DVD video.

    Potential Contributions:
    The Kiowa Media Center in Greensburg, KS was the final contributor to the project that finished our video. The rate for such a project was $500.00 per finished minute of footage. Our video was 30:37 minute long at a cost of $15,000.00 which does not include the cost of reproduction of 500 DVD’s and then the cost of distribution. This DVD project was well over $8000.00 — $8500.00 was the proposed budget as funded. Without the support of the sponsors that the SCKRA had before this project was funded we would be in trouble, but with their help we have been able to weather the storm and provide to SARE a professional and well-made video with a message that we are certainly very committed to and proud of.

    Publications/Outreach:
    The initial distribution list for the DVD video has been set at 500 and will be mailed the week of March 17, 2014. We went ahead and had 500 more copies made and will be making those available as detailed at the end of the video on DVD. The website has been a pretty active website with several hundred hits over the last 2-3 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.