Indiana 19-20 Plan of Work

Project Overview

NCIN19-001
Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $130,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2021
Grant Recipient: Purdue University
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
State Coordinator:
Lais McCartney
Purdue Extension

Information Products

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing management
  • Crop Production: cover crops, crop rotation
  • Education and Training: extension
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Production Systems: holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Despite the ongoing loss of educators who we have engaged with SARE funds we maintain a core group of enthusiastic and dedicated extension staff and agency staff. The recent loss of our Local Foods Coordinator and Urban Agriculture educator as well as the Farm Bureau Retail Agriculture specialist have had an impact but new staff with similar interests are coming on board and there is a focus on Urban Agriculture.

    Indiana is making strides in its move toward awareness of and even implementation of practices that could be considered as more sustainable in nature. Increasingly and interestingly, Indiana is seen as a leader in the adoption of cover crops and other soil health promoting practices, integrated pest management strategies and pollinator protection practices among others.

    Additions of Assistant ANR program leader positions in Soil Health/Cover Crops and Diversified Food and Farming systems, the addition of Statewide Food Safety educator and Organic/Diversified Ag Educators and the growth of the Indiana Small Farm Conference as a means of outreach to a previously largely underserved audience are all signs of the evolution that is underway and evidence of Indiana’s awakening to the concept of sustainable agriculture.

    The Indiana SARE PDP program continues to extend its reach to new audience and to engage new groups of educators in its programmatic efforts. The SARE Advisory committee is increasing the diversity of its representation and continues to seek suitable talented and passionate representatives. This Plan of work is a direct representation of their commitment and collaboration.

    Indiana is fortunate to have a formalized collaboration of Agency partners committed to conservation and IN SARE is the beneficiary of this collaboration.

     Efforts have begun to expand the reach to youth educators across Indiana specifically IN Vo-Ag instructors, to build awareness of SARE, better assess their needs, share resources and to find ways to engage the next generation of farmers.

    It remains a primary goal of the Indiana SARE Coordinator to not only expand the communication with these separate groups and to identify and foster ways to foster additional cooperation in program delivery but additionally to identify others in Indiana who may be serving in these capacities in smaller perhaps more local ways. Outreach to staff in other Indiana Colleges and Universities with interests in sustainability is underway.

    Increasing interest in hops, brewer grains and industrial hemp production offers an opportunity to reach an entirely new clientele and we are making sure that SARE is seen as an integral part of meeting those educational needs.

    The Small Farm Conference continues to serve as a much needed focal point for the subjects of small farms and SA in Indiana but also a very visible commitment to these subjects from multiple partners coming together to make something special happen. Conventional farmers experiencing low commodity prices are reaching out for information on a variety of related topics.

    The Purdue Small Farm Team, new Diversified Food and Farming Systems program and the IN SARE Advisory committee work separately but in a collaborative manner. The decision making body for the IN SARE PDP effort will be the members of the SARE Advisory Committee (AC) who will collaborate and be supportive of the professional development efforts of the Purdue Small Farm team in addition to other PD needs identified by the AC.

    The following initiatives were identified, discussed and approved by the IN SARE Advisory Council in their September 7, 2018 meeting, further refined by Initiative Teams and then approved by the full AC :

    • Structural Support for Food and Agriculture System Change
    • Crop and Livestock Diversification Practices to Enhance Agricultural Sustainability
    • Integrated Approach to Our Agriculture Natural Resources
    • Addressing the Needs of Underrepresented Audiences in Agriculture and Food Systems 

    Beginning Farmer and Rancher Regional Initiative        

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Initiative 1: Structural Support for Food and Agriculture System Change                                             

     

    Objective A: Establishing an Indiana Food Council from the Ground up                                                   

     

    Primary Audience: Food councils with diverse community representation of farmers, food businesses, ag and health educators, public health organizations, food assistance organizations.                                         Justification: Food councils need professional development to better address needs for farmers, such as city zoning for urban agriculture; or farm to school procurement to increase market channels for farmers selling local.                                                                                                                                                         Outputs: The primary goal of this project is to engage our food councils in a two-year long process of self-reflection, peer to peer learning, and learning from farmers and professional development Please note that this part of the project overlaps with Initiative 4: Addressing the needs of underrepresented audiences in agriculture and food systems.                                                                                                                                        Expected Outcomes: 40-50 Food Council Members will engage, learn and network at a statewide level for a period of two years (minimum) to increase their understanding of the tools, resources and information available to help them assess their community food system, This group will formalize an Indiana Food Council with representation from the local and regional food councils from across Indiana. Draft of a Food Charter or Farmers Pledge for Indiana that prioritizes sustainable agricultural practices.

    Objective B: School garden network development                                                                                  Primary Audience: K-12 Teachers, K-12 Administrators, Extension Educators and Community Wellness Coordinators, NEPA staff, Master Gardeners, etc.                                                                                       Justification: As learning laboratories school gardens have the potential to shape the interests and values of the next generation.  Unfortunately, many Indiana educators do not have the knowledge or experience to organize and manage a successful, enduring school garden program.                                                            Outputs: 2019 Provide 5 Extension Educators and 5 K-12 Teachers with travel scholarships to attend an intensive school garden training program and learn more about sustainable school garden management and network development. 2020: Each of the 5 teams that receive travel scholarships will be responsible for organizing an Indiana School Garden Training event engaging farmers and educators. Host a bi-monthly, live webinar series about seasonal Indiana school garden topics, featuring expert guest presenters. Recorded sessions will be posted on the Purdue Extension YouTube channel.                                                                          Expected Outcomes: 25 Extension Educators trained to provide professional school garden network support to educators and schools in Indiana. 25 K-12 Teachers introduced to school garden concepts, benefits, and management options.

     

    Initiative 2: Crop and Livestock Diversification Practices to Enhance Agricultural Sustainability                                                                                                                                             Primary audience - Primary and Secondary Educators, Extension Educators, Extension Specialists and NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff, Certified Crop Advisors, Farmer Mentors.                                                                                                                             Justification- In order to build the capacity of Extension to support this important and growing clientele, SARE PDP funds will be leveraged to increase Extension staff attendance at the program, and to bring in high quality speakers for conference sessions and small group discussions with Extension staff.                                                                                                                 Expected Outcomes- Short term- Participating educators and specialists will increase their knowledge about small farm production, marketing, and management practices and the challenges and opportunities that face small farmers in Indiana.                                                                                                        Outputs- Educators will attend day-long workshops or field trips and 2-day conference sessions and trade show, participate in small group discussions with invited speakers, and be provided with appropriate reference and resource materials. Indiana Small Farm Conference 2019/20.  Attendance at day-long workshops, conference sessions, and trade show on February 28 - March 2, 2019 and March 5-7, 2020.  Small group discussion with invited speaker.

     

    Sustainable Integration of Livestock on Cropland Workshops                                                           Justification - The need for knowledge on sustainable introduction of livestock on cropland and how that can best fit into a system is growing beyond the current capacity of the few specialists trained and proficient in these matters.                                                                                                                     

    Expected outcomes - Short term: 40 educators, agronomists, farmers, conservation staff, and other Ag professionals (each year 2019-2020) will learn to speak on sustainable grazing management and the integration of livestock into farming systems through the use of cover crops and extended cropping rotations including perennial forages.                                                               

    Outputs – Educators will attend a day-long training, to be offered twice per year in 2019 and 2020, to cover the four quadrants of the state, making the training more accessible from a travel standpoint.  Trainings will include classroom instruction, combined with field learning activities at host farms.

     

    Effective Communication of Animal Welfare Issues & Certification Opportunities                            For livestock production to remain a sustainable component of Indiana agriculture, educational professionals need the skills and knowledge to position producers for future success.  Our proposal is for a single-day educational program and farm tour for educational professionals to obtain knowledge and awareness of animal welfare issues and certification opportunities in order to effective communicate with and assist clients, key stakeholders, and the general public.  

     

    Supporting diversification of Indiana grain farms with small grains and organic production                                                                                                                                                  Justification –Adding diversity of small grains in the rotation brings a plethora of agronomic and ecological benefits, but the financial side of the sustainability stool can be tricky with organic corn and beans demanding such high premiums relative to small grains.                                                                                                                     Expected outcomes - Short term: 10 ag professionals will gain valuable knowledge and network building through participation in an immersive educational field trip, Intermediate term: Participants will develop programming to transfer knowledge to producers, and work with key supply chain stakeholders to identify and address issues to further adoption and development of markets (particularly for small grains).                                                                                                                                                     Outputs – Educators will participate in an immersive week-long field trip to visit successful organic and small grain producers, value-add operations, along with NGO and Extension/Land Grant staff                                                                                                                       

     

    Initiative 3-Integrated Approach to Our Agriculture Natural Resources                                                       Primary audience: Primary and Secondary Educators, Extension Educators, Extension Specialists and NGOs, State Department of Agriculture, Conservation District Personnel, NRCS Staff                              Justification: Understanding and building upon a foundation of basic soil science and cover crops their correlation to basic soil health principles is key to laying the groundwork for future education.                           Inputs: Agenda Development / Speaker Coordinator, Logistics Coordinator (Venue, A/V, Catering, etc), Professional Experts – CCSI, Purdue University, Media, Participant Materials

     

    Basics of Soil Health – Single Day Trainings for Educators (2019).
    Expected Outcomes:
    Short term:  30 educators will increase their knowledge of inherent and dynamic properties of soils – and their impacts on soil health. 

    Outputs: Ag professionals will attend workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in newsletters, blogs, news releases and local/ regional meetings.

     

    Core Cover Crops - Single Day Trainings for Educators 2 per year (2019 and 2020)

    Expected Outcomes: Short term: 120 educators, agronomists, farmers, conservation staff and other ag professionals will increase their knowledge of cover crops and their impacts on soil health and crop management strategies. 

    Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in newsletters, blogs, news releases and local/ regional meetings.

     

    Core Soil Health Systems - Single Day Trainings for Educators 2 per year (2019 and 2020)

    Expected Outcomes: Short term: 120 educators will increase their knowledge of conservation cropping systems and their impacts on soil health.  Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to ag students, local farmers, and rural landowners.

    Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops.

     

    Advanced Soil Health Systems Training - Single Day Trainings for Educators 4 per year,(2020)

     

    Expected Outcomes: Short term: 200 ag professionals will increase their knowledge of the impacts of reduced soil disturbance, increased residue cover, increased biodiversity, and year-round living roots on soil health.  Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to other educators, conservation staff, ag students, local farmers, rural landowners.

    Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops.

     

    Advanced Cover Crops Training (Commodity Crop Emphasis) - Single Day Trainings for Educators 4 per year (2019)
    Expected Outcomes: Short term: 180 ag professionals will increase their knowledge of the various benefits, uses, and management of cover crops.  Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home to other educators, conservation staff, ag students, local farmers, rural landowners.

    Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops.

     

    Understanding Success and Barriers of Cover Crop Use in Vegetable Production
    Expected Outcomes: Short term: 50 ag professionals will increase their knowledge about successful cover crop use in vegetables

    Outputs: Ag professionals, farmers experienced in cover crop use in vegetables, and vegetable farmers interested in cover crop use will participate in regular (monthly or triweekly) internet/phone conferences through the growing season.

     

    Cover Crop Workshop at 2020 Indiana Horticulture Congress
    Expected Outcomes:
    Short term: 50 ag professionals will increase their knowledge about successful cover crop use in vegetables, Intermediate term: Local educators will transfer their information and knowledge back home

    Outputs: Ag professionals, farmers experienced in cover crop use in vegetables, and vegetable farmers interested in cover crop use will participate in regular (monthly or triweekly) internet/phone conferences through the growing season. Transcripts will be shared.

     

    Education/Presentation Skills Development for Educators and Peer-Based Mentors

    Expected Outcomes: Short term: 60 educators improve their presentation and communication skills.  Intermediate term: Through improved communication skills, local educators will be more effective in their outreach and education efforts. They will also share techniques with other local staff.

    Outputs: Ag professionals will attend regional workshops. Participants will take that knowledge and related resources back to their counties to share with clientele in the form of effective teaching skills.    

     

    Initiative 4-Addressing the Needs of Underrepresented Audiences in Agriculture and Food Systems                                                                                                                                                                     Audience: Staff from FSA, NRCS, SWCD, ISDA, etc; Purdue Extension educators; land trust staff; farm organization leaders; agriculture professors and teachers                                                                               Justification: Underrepresented farmers need ag professionals’ help - which requires that ag professionals understand the products they grow, their marketing and financial strategies, their land access and financing options, their focus on community, and their emphasis on holistic farm management.                                                                                                                                                  Outputs: Equip ag professionals to serve underrepresented farmers through a combination of interactive trainings, and farm tours                                                                                                                    

    Expected Outcomes: 25 land trust staff will engage in conversation about conserving farmland in Indiana, and making it accessible to beginning farmers. 85 FSA and other staff will learn about how FSA programs can improve land access. Ag Professionals will have in-depth training re: and 45 Ag Professionals will have increased understanding racial diversity, inherent bias, and equity in Indiana’s farming community                                                                                                                  

     

    Initiative 5: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers-Regional Initiative We will plan to send several representatives of our state to a regional professional development event organized by NCR-SARE on beginning farmers and ranchers, to be offered during calendar year 2019.  Educators who are given support from our state SARE funds to travel to this regional training will be asked to come back to our state and in some fashion, provide educational programming to other educators and/or beginning farmers and ranchers.  During the two-year plan of work period, we will also offer additional SARE-funded travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers. It is important to note that a number of the activities proposed within this larger plan of work are directly relevant to training Abg Professionals about the needs and learning styles of beginning farmers and ranchers.          Evaluation- Participants will report back to the State SARE Coordinator, by Dec. 2019 and 2020, the number of their outreach activities (programs, individual consultations, newsletter articles, workshops, etc.) that include information they learned at these events, and an estimated number of producers impacted by those activities.

    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.