The Louisiana State University AgCenter (LSUAC) in collaboration with the Southern University Agricultural Land-Grant Campus (SUAREC) will implement programs that enhance the capabilities of Louisiana’s agricultural professionals in the area of sustainable agriculture. Themes for 2021 – 2022 include: soil health management, integrated pest management, grant writing, fall garden workshop (vegetable grafting, NRCS grant opportunities), spring garden workshop (small ruminants), spring cut flower workshop, the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (LaSAWG) annual meeting, as well as regional sustainable agriculture related conferences and workshops. The target audience for trainings will be extension, non-profit representative, and mentor farmers who will share information and skills gained with local audiences. LSUAC and SUAREC extension personnel will be strongly encouraged to attend the training sessions. Information delivery systems to be utilized include virtual trainings, workshops, conferences, networking sessions, farm tours, field days, hands-on demonstrations, handouts, resource manuals, SARE publications and informational bulletins. The Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board will meet twice annually for programmatic planning and evaluation. The program assistant (half-time), funded by this project, will be responsible for maintaining the state SARE website (http://www.southernsare.org/SARE-in-Your-State/Louisiana) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LouisianaSARE/) and a quarterly sustainable agriculture newsletter. The other duties for this position include coordination of state workshops and field days, travel awards and arrangements, promotion of SARE resources and grant opportunities, promotion of related sustainable agriculture resources, events, and opportunities across the state, management and reporting of the PDP organization of advisory board, and collaboration with advisory board members’ programs when applicable.
Project objectives from proposal:
The overall objectives of the Louisiana Model State Plan (MSP) are:
Conduct workshops on sustainable agriculture for extension and agriculture professionals.
Maintain the state SARE website with sustainable agriculture materials and resources, and links to related state organizations.
Conduct bi-annual state advisory board meetings with the purpose of revising and modifying the strategic plan.
Identify annual training objectives with the input from the Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board.
Encourage extension and agricultural professionals to continue to attend sustainable agriculture meetings such as the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group annual meeting.
Continue participation in workshops, meetings, and field days that highlight sustainable agriculture practices.
Promote the SARE program results, resources, and grant opportunities in Louisiana.
The MSP for Louisiana will allow for enhanced programming effort beyond the state plans of work for the separate institutions (SUAREC, LSUAC). The MSP has allowed for the increased number of training sessions per year. The MSP has allowed the Louisiana SARE PDP to have greater resources available for training activities, using the Southern SARE Louisiana webpage for sustainable agriculture resources, as well as increased coordination and networking. The hiring of a program assistant through the SARE PDP allowed for a unified sustainable agriculture programming effort for the state.
The Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Board meets biannually and reviews the past year’s activities and strategic plan as well as the next year’s activities and plan. The 2021-2022 strategic plan and cycle is proposed to focus on themes different than the previous year. The successive years build upon the past workshops and trainings and the needs of the Louisiana SARE PDP stakeholders and feedback from the participants.