- Vegetables: beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, cucurbits, greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), okra, peppers, tomatoes, turnips
- Crop Production: high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, season extension types and construction
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, technical assistance, workshop
- Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, prevention, row covers (for pests), trap crops, traps
The Alabama SARE program has been instrumental in successfully starting and expanding the organic crop production movement statewide since 2010. With the high incidence of insect pests and diseases due to suitable weather, producers have created a pull on the program instead of Extension pushing information using a linear model of technology transfer. Educational materials developed from SARE funds have not only trained educators within the Extension System, but also benefited agencies such as the NRCS, FSA, and incubator farms that are using the IPM publications and websites quite extensively for relevant information. By collaborating with nonprofit and producer organizations statewide, the Alabama SARE program has expanded program impact but more needs to be done for training educators about protected agriculture using field demonstrations. This project plan includes strong train-the-trainer activities for Extension educators, technical assistance providers (nonprofit agencies), field agents, and key producers. Transferable IPM technologies include training on pest exclusion methods using shade cloths, super light insect barrier for deterring small insects, and organic insecticide tank-mixes for preventing insect outbreaks inside high tunnels. Adequate emphasis will also be provided in updating the High Tunnel Crop Production Handbook which is used a new producer training manual by educators across Alabama and adjoining states.
Project objectives from proposal:
Obj. 1. Establishment of four HTPE demonstration sites with 40 or 50% shade cloth and organic insecticides for training Extension educators and service providers. We will focus on the correct installation of insect netting and integration of organic tank-mixes that prevent pest buildup inside high tunnels.
Obj. 2. Revise and update the High Tunnel Crop Production Handbook (and iBook) and Alternative Vegetable IPM Slide Chart with information on tank-mixes and premixes.
Obj. 3. Add on-demand and interactive content on electronic curriculum to train educators and growers to improve adoption of new technologies.