- Animal Production: feed/forage, free-range, grazing management, grazing - rotational, manure management, meat product quality/safety, pasture renovation, pasture fertility, preventive practices, rangeland/pasture management, watering systems, winter forage
- Crop Production: agroforestry, beekeeping, conservation tillage, cover crops, crop improvement and selection, food processing, greenhouses, high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, no-till, nurseries, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, organic fertilizers, pollination, pollinator habitat, pollinator health, season extension types and construction, seed saving, silvopasture, terraces, varieties and cultivars, water management, water storage
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, technical assistance, workshop, youth education
- Energy: energy use, renewable energy, solar energy
- Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns, business planning, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, farm-to-restaurant, farmers' markets/farm stands, financial management, grant making, market study, marketing management, new enterprise development, risk management, value added, whole farm planning
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, soil stabilization
- Pest Management: biological control, compost extracts, cultivation, cultural control, integrated pest management, mulches - general, mulching - vegetative, prevention, trap crops, traps, weed ecology
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture
- Soil Management: composting, earthworms, green manures, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil physics, soil quality/health, toxic status mitigation
- Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community development, community planning, community services, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, food hubs, social capital, social networks, social psychological indicators, sustainability measures, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, values-based supply chains
The proposed project “On-Farm and Ranch Education of New and Beginning Latino Producers in Missouri” seeks to educate new and beginning Latino producers on sustainable production methods and to address many of their educational needs. It will enhance their awareness, skills and knowledge needed to protect natural resources such as soil and water, while improving their operation’s profitability. Latino farmers in Missouri increased by 26% from Census 2007 to 2012, while the total farming population of farmers decreased by 4%. Latino producers are the fastest growing community of farmers and ranchers in the country. From direct observation of Latino farming practices, it is evident that they are highly biased to opt for conventional methods of production instead of sustainable methods. Many of them are unaware of the consequences of following conventional practices, including soil erosion and degradation, as well as negative impacts to water resources. The majority of Latino operations are small farms with limited acreage and their success depends on careful planning and decision-making so that they protect the natural resources on which their farming depends as well as reduce the need for spending on costly inputs such as fertilizers or pesticides. Though their preference for conventional methods is strong, when Latino producers attended a class that weighted conventional methods against sustainable methods for small acreage farms, they showed a strong interest in learning more about sustainable methods. Specialized training targeted to this audience has the potential to give them the tools needed to adopt production methods that are both environmentally and financially sustainable. This project seeks to conduct outreach to at least 100 Latino producers and to deliver specialized training to at least 50 of these producers on sustainable production practices. Using focus groups and survey data collected will be analyzed to develop a curriculum that matches Latino producers’ educational needs. The curriculum will be delivered to producers through 4 panel workshops and 4 on-site farm workshops. Outcomes will include enhanced producers’ profitability and quality of life by helping them to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to implement sustainable production practices. Their success will also increase options of local fresh produce in their communities, while conserving and protecting natural resources. The combined research and educational approach proposed here will strengthen the sustainable farming foundation in Missouri and support the development of additional educational efforts for Latino producers in the future.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective 1. To document the Latino producers’ perceptions, views, skills, knowledge and awareness about their current sustainable production methods.
Objective 2. To develop and instruct a curriculum that match Latino producers learning needs in sustainable agriculture.
Objective 3. To instruct the developed curricula using events that encourage, involve and include Latino producers’ participation such as workshop-panels and on-farm and ranch educational visits.
Objective 4. To create social and work networks that help Latino producers to stay connected with other Latino producers as well as with local production networks that support sustainable agriculture.
Objective 5. To evaluate the impact of the program and document levels of awareness, skills, knowledge, and to what extent they have adopted sustainable production practices.