The Ag Engineering Podcast: Tools, Tips and Techniques for Improving Sustainability on Your Farm

Project Overview

ONE19-331
Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2019: $27,280.00
Projected End Date: 07/31/2021
Grant Recipient: University of Vermont
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
Project Leader:

Information Products

The Ag Engineering Podcast (Multimedia, Website)

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing management, housing
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage, cover crops, cropping systems, greenhouses, high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, irrigation, low tunnels, multiple cropping, no-till, row covers (for season extension), season extension types and construction
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, networking, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, agritourism, business planning, community-supported agriculture, e-commerce, farm-to-institution, farm-to-restaurant, farmers' markets/farm stands, farm succession, feasibility study, financial management, labor/employment, marketing management, new enterprise development, risk management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: mulches - general, physical control, prevention, row covers (for pests), soil solarization
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, permaculture
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, employment opportunities, infrastructure analysis, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, public policy, quality of life, social capital, social networks, sustainability measures, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Produce growers seek opportunities to continually educate themselves and improve skills. They desire improved practices for more profitable businesses, higher quality products, and increased social sustainability (e.g. work-life balance). It is challenging for farmers to find the time to learn new farming practices or to find the appropriate equipment to invest in to benefit their farm. This project will provide produce growers with practical information that may be applicable to their farm. This content will be presented by farming peers in the form of a podcast. The podcast episodes will allow users to hear reviews of tools (new tools, old favorite tools, or equipment), brief tips, or descriptions of techniques related to specific practices. The user has the choice of what they want to learn about, and when they want to learn about it. Podcasts provide the listener an alternative educational platform that is convenient, effective, and supportive of multitasking. This podcast project is unique in that it is topic specific vs. a typical storyboard style of conversation that other farming podcasts out there have adopted. In addition to the podcast itself there will be a project webpage, showcasing any relevant links to more information about the tool or equipment, and a photo or video clip demonstrating the practice to better explain how it works for those wanting to dive deeper.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to educate vegetable farmers about ways they can improve their farm by learning from peers via audio podcasts. This goal will be achieved by completing the following objectives:

    1. Identify topics of interest to growers – Leveraging the team’s experiences from educational events and direct technical assistance on-farm combined with social network interaction we will refine a topic list to ensure relevance, specificity and meaning.
    1. Develop meaningful episodes for podcasting – Farmer interviewees will be conducted based on the topics listed and by using social networks. Multiple farmers may be interviewed on a single topic to provide perspective and to better understand nuance.
    1. Promote and distribute podcasts – The podcasts developed will be distributed using a variety of existing distribution channels including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.
    1. Evaluate listenership and benefit – Listenership will be measured by subscription and episode download statistics gathered automatically by sharing platforms. Social networking will be used to evaluate engagement, change of behavior, adoption of practice and impact on a case-by-case basis.

    The development of an accessible podcast will benefit farmers by improving the availability of nuanced, individualized knowledge from peers to enable efficiency, growth, and profitability.

    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.