Reaching out to Limited Resource Growers with Sustainable, Climate Resilient Production Techniques.

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $93,251.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2025
Grant Recipient: Delaware State University
Region: Northeast
State: Delaware
State Coordinator:
Dr. Rose Ogutu
Delaware State University


  • Agronomic: soybeans
  • Fruits: apples, apricots, berries (blueberries), berries (strawberries), grapes, peaches
  • Nuts: chestnuts
  • Vegetables: cucurbits, greens (leafy), peppers, tomatoes
  • Animals: goats, poultry


  • Crop Production: beekeeping, conservation tillage, cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, double cropping, drainage systems, drought tolerance, fertilizers, grafting, greenhouses, high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, low tunnels, nutrient management, pollinator habitat, pollinator health, relay cropping, water management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, focus group, networking, technical assistance, workshop
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, habitat enhancement, soil stabilization
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

     Statement of Problem or opportunity

    We aim to build a future where agricultural, environmental, and
    social systems are resilient in the face of a rapidly changing
    climate. The Northeastern U.S., is experiencing an increase
    in  extreme weather events, changes in seasons and in pest
    and disease pressure. There are  potential opportunities
    for  longer growing seasons, but farmers need specific
    information, tools, and resources to help them adapt to, and
    mitigate, climate change. A survey of Ag agents yielded results
    indicating a gap in training needed to equip them to better be
    resourceful. By working closely we will have opened a
    conversation about collaborative opportunities on matters
    relating to the topic under discussion

     Summary of Justification and need

    There is a critical need to provide agricultural educators with
    the knowledge and tools to assist farmers in making informed
    choices within the context of a changing climate. The proposed
    training will provide comprehensive, practical, research-based
    information in modules that cover: current knowledge regarding
    greenhouse gases and climate change; changes in temperature and
    precipitation patterns in our region and projections for the
    future; potential impacts (positive and negative) on agriculture;
    and implications for pest, soil, and energy management in
    relation to farm profitability.

     Summary of the educational approach

    We will establish a smart farm model at Smyrna Outreach Research
    Center (SORC); Conduct  workshops at SORC and incorporate
    training sessions with the help of Cornell Institute of Climate
    Smart Solutions (CICSS) on integrated crop and livestock systems
    as need be; Include ‘topics of interest’ during designated
    conferences; write newsletter articles and media to promote the
    workshops; Produce three fact sheets on related climate change
    and agriculture issues, focused on information relevant for
    Delaware and  Establish ongoing evaluation between workshops
    based on participant feedback and planning committee discussion
    to improve upon future events.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Performance Target

    A planning committee in partnership with established resources
    from North East Climate Hub and Cornell Institute for Climate
    Smart Solutions (CICSS) will help provide training.

    Thirty  (30)  agricultural service providers in
    Delaware and parts of Maryland, will be trained in pertinent
    issues relating to climate change and will have acquired
    knowledge to  offer information to their clients on
    opportunities and risks for agriculture associated with climate
    change, with a focus on practical and profitable farmer

    Of the 30 Ag providers; 20 will follow-up on knowledge acquired
    to reach 100 limited resource growers. Those educators will be
    expected to deliver extension programming that will lead to an
    increase in knowledge in climate smart solutions to 60 growers
    before the conclusion of the project. 

    The establishment of demonstration plots at Smyrna Outreach
    center as a model climate smart farm will attract 450
    visitors.  Materials developed '360 degree tour virtual
    realities, will be used as future training tools.

    The training, learning plans, hands-on demonstration approaches
    will be documented and serve as a template for other producers to
    adapt and modify for hands-on labor training and skill
    development in basic farm tasks to improve labor training and
    production skills efficiencies.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.