- Animal Production: grazing management
- Crop Production: conservation tillage, cover crops
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: marketing management
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: composting, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems
The SARE Advisory Committee had a conference call on November 30, 2016 to discuss committee membership, review activities for the year, discuss state metrics, and review the Logic Model for future training needs. The updated SARE Logic Model objectives are conservation tillage systems, organic production, grazing-based animal production systems, composting, direct marketing, and local food systems.
There was an effort over the last year to gather metrics. This proved to be a difficult task because we were not able to identify data from other sources that applied to specific mid- and long-term goals in the Logic Model. We do have good information on knowledge gains and how training is used in programming for the short-term
goals. The committee discussed trying to develop a tool to assess mid- and long-term impacts, but decided the Model State program funding was better used for training. The Committee also decided upon trainings and conferences to support for the upcoming year that would fulfill the training needs. These include, travel support for extension agents to attend the Georgia Organics Conference Scholarship, sponsorship of the
Georgia Farm to School Summit, support an Organic Training Workshop and run a Cover Crop Workshop and Field Day. All of these activities increase knowledge and confidence in participating agriculture professionals which then translates to an increased ability to assist organic farmers, resource limited, and small farmers.
Project objectives from proposal:
The Georgia Model State Program developed a LOGIC Model to guide our training efforts. The LOGIC Model, updated in 2015, reflects the current needs of Georgia as directed by the SARE Advisory Committee. To reach our long-term goal of “Increased use of sustainable agriculture practices by producers at multiple scales supported by a knowledgeable network of agricultural professionals ensuring a high proportion of diverse, profitable, and environmentally-friendly farm operations”, we identified the following six areas for training workshops: conservation tillage systems, organic production, grazing-based animal production systems, composting, direct marketing, and local food systems.
Each year, we pick training to address one or more of these six areas. The 2017-2018 cycle build on our previous work with local food systems by participating for the first time in the Farm to School Summit. Our sponsorship of the Summit is allowing the development of a farmer’s track at the conference for the first time, which will allow discussion between farmers and school nutrition directors on barriers and opportunities. It will also help train county agents so they can better facilitate some of these programs. We are also doing a training with agents on organic production based on a very successful In-Service Training we offered in a different district last year. We have learned in the past that agents tend to ask more questions when it is only other agents in a training. Also seeing a successful organic farm has helped change attitudes. The training gives agents a case study to make recommendation from. These are discussed as a group with specialists. We are also building on our work with conservation tillage systems over the years and focusing more on the use of
cover crops as critical to building soil health. The cover crop demonstration projects engage agents by requiring them to help plan, plant and manage different cover crops and cover crop mixtures. They are required to take the lead in presenting information, which requires that they learn and are comfortable with the material.