Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Model Plan of Work is a culmination of the involvement of the State Sustainable Agriculture Committee. This committee is composed of representatives from both 1862 & 1890 Extension Organizations, Federal and State Government Agencies, NGOs, and farmers. A program assistant has been employed to assist the state coordinators and the members of this committee in carrying out the training objectives set forth in this model plan. The main objective of this plan is to include all of the various SARE programs into a seamless program. This plan includes more public awareness of SARE through either individual contacts made during regional/district/county workshops or a state wide Sustainable Agriculture conference. Training goals will be reached by means of in-service education, conferences, workshops, demonstrations, field days, tours, and publications. The different media sources of the stakeholders will also be used to help reach the different focal groups set forth in this plan. Training materials developed by SARE will be incorporated into the training for extension staff. Attendance at National/Regional Conferences will be encouraged as a means of further professional development in sustainable Agriculture. Some training may be conducted jointly between both land grant universities in the state. Evaluation will be done using the logic model by the evaluation team. All institutions and agencies involved are committed to this plan and have committed resources of time, money, and personnel to carry it out.
Project objectives from proposal:
Specific committee actions for 2017-2018 (A-E):
a) ASU committee planning meeting, August.
b) MSU & ASU committee meeting, October.
c) Increase number of grant proposals submitted by ASU and funded for 2016-2017.
d) Committee members conduct in-service training, field days and workshops in their respective area of expertise and promote Sus Ag practices. Committee members provide State Coordinators and/or Program Assistant summary information for annual report & evaluation.
e) Increase use of display at educational programs to increase awareness of sustainable agriculture concepts to improve the quality of life for MS farmers and their communities.
Expected outcome of these specific objectives (A–E) are:
a) Better coordination of resources; increased awareness of the SARE program and facilitate distribution of SARE resource information.
b) Increased adoption of sustainable agriculture concepts.
c) Increased use of SARE resources in educational programs.
d) Increase development of new sustainable agriculture practices and information delivery to farmers and communities and to promote regional, multi-state involvement. Improve scope of Sustainable Ag programs and evaluations reported in the annual report.
e) Increases awareness of sustainable agriculture concepts that improves the quality of life in Mississippi communities.
For last years’ objective (a – e), the functions of the committee were informally met for MSU and ASU. Information obtained from the SARE representatives and stakeholder meeting in late 2016 has assisted both institutions with direction and support for sustainable agriculture programs. SARE grants in MS are lacking when compared with other states and additional effort will be taken to make sure people know of the grants and timelines for proposal submission as well as who to contact for any assistance needed with the development, review and submission of the proposal. Travel to the SAWG Conference was provided for six extension staff in 2017 to assist them with program development, networking, and build knowledge for ideas to either conduct research or educational programs. SARE co-sponsored Small Farmers Conference in 2017 and the conference is also planned for 2018. Field days and workshops are being developed for the use and management of Cover Crops. State committee funds will be used to support existing and new educational programs through agent in-service, travel for conferences or workshops for agents or providing resource materials as needed.