Alabama has a rapidly growing vegetable industry with increasing number of farmers entering the local food systems.
The Alabama SARE program, initiated in 2010, is one of the strongest educational programs in the state and region; the PI and extension agents annually train nearly 1,000 producers statewide. About 20 percent participants trained annually are from the under served or underrepresented communities. This Auburn University proposal aims at
continuing the high tunnel crop production and pest management educational program that can significantly reduce
crop losses. Through on-farm field demonstration of integrated pest management tactics (pest exclusion + microbial
control+ insect monitoring tactics), producers, extension agents, and technical service providers will get hands-on
training for immediate impacts. We will be documenting project impacts using our robust evaluation system and
publishing results in the form of written report and impact video.
Project objectives from proposal:
Although the Alabama SARE program emphasizes on pest management aspects, the events we organize generally incorporate crop production, irrigation, and food safety training as well. Our events are evaluated carefully for quality and impacts; these are reported annually to SARE. Following are the proposal objectives:
• Establish four pest exclusion demonstrations in the northeast and northwest Alabama including the Black Belt
Region (targeting 20 percent diversity of audience). These high tunnels will be monitored using insect pheromone
traps and scouted weekly by the PI and farmers.
• Conduct four high tunnel/IPM meetings at demonstration locations with extension agents and farmers. We wish to
open the event for educators from all three LG institutions in Alabama.
• Continue to update critical IPM publications like the High Tunnel Crop Production Handbook and Alternative
Vegetable IPM slide chart that are critical training resources for farmers. We will also produce one impact video
on HTPE technology with grower testimonial with the proposed funding.