The Oklahoma Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program continues to exemplify a high level of cooperative commitment by Langston University and Oklahoma State University to the sustainability of agriculture by promoting the economic viability, sound environmental/natural resource management, and awareness/recognition of social acceptability. This Plan of Work builds upon and extends prior efforts. The goal of the program is to integrate and increase sustainable agricultural practices into the historically mainstream agricultural practices of this region while enhancing the quality of our natural resources. Objectives remain to train agricultural professionals (OCES, federal/state agencies, and NGOs) and mentor farmers in the concepts and practices of sustainable agriculture as well as disseminating information regarding sustainable agriculture through various outlets. Topics to be emphasized are integrating sustainable practices into daily agricultural operations; management and enhancement of soil and water quality; integrated resource management for large and small scale livestock, horticulture and agronomic enterprises; strategic use of irrigation, fertilizer and herbicides in crop production; production and marketing of organic and value-added products; sustainable forage-based livestock systems; and production/marketing for community-based organizations. Training will be provided through attendance at national, regional and local workshops and trainings, demonstrations, tours, research presentations, online and small group in-service training. Evaluation will be conducted on an on-going basis and feedback on the effectiveness of these various trainings and programs will be tracked and reported.
Project objectives from proposal:
SARE outreach objectives for the state and expected outcomes including a revision of the state strategic plan:
1) Encourage participation in trainings related to sustainable agriculture concepts such as cover cropping, conservation tillage and crop rotations aimed at reducing fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide inputs.
a.) The 2019-2020 year will see a change in the programming supported by OkSARE. There has been a cooperative effort launched by OSU to consolidate several of the trainings that have historically been offered by the various commodity and producer groups in Oklahoma. For each of these groups to hold separate trainings and meetings has become cost prohibitive as well as an inefficient use of the time available for travel by our Educators and producers. We have partnered with six of the most active groups to hold an Oklahoma All-Crops Conference. This will offer five different training tracks for both Educators and producers to attend in one place over a two-day period.
2) Provide information and education on organic (certified and non-certified) production and the marketing of these agricultural products.
a.) In the 2019-2020 cycle of planning, OkSARE is continuing their support for the Organic Oklahoma initiative and actively pursuing the development of an organic wheat production training program. To accomplish this, we are participating in a regional conference for organic wheat production in the Southern Great Plains (which includes a significant portion of Oklahoma).
3) Encourage the incorporation of community-based food systems for fruit and vegetable production into statewide training programs.
a.) Langston University has made great progress in the development of their Horticulture programming. In 2019-2020 OkSARE PDP anticipates greater involvement with their calendar offerings as they are announced.
4) Encourage participation in trainings that will provide information and education with respect to the sound management of natural resources-especially water, soil and air.
a.) In 2019-2020, OkSARE will be working closely with various state specialists to develop a curriculum for trainings to address irrigation issues specifically to deal with the shifting climate and depletion and quality of the available water for agriculture.
5) Provide educators and others with opportunities for trainings in food handling safety.
a.) In 2019-2020 OkSARE will continue to support the inclusion of FSMA trainings into scheduled programming.
6) Encourage educators to be better prepared to assist and provide technical direction for producer driven research and on-farm demonstration activities.
a.) OkSARE has been actively encouraging on-farm and producer driven grants. In 2019-2020, we anticipate a number of such proposals to be written and submitted.
7) Encourage professionals to be trained in sustainable livestock practices such as rotational grazing for beef, poultry and goat production.
a.) In 2019-2020, OkSARE will continue to be active in promoting speakers for the Langston University Goat Conference, but will add to that support a regional level meat goat boot camp programming.
8) Provide opportunities for educators and producers to receive training in IPM techniques to include scouting and remediation strategies.
a.) The OSU Entomology has continued to develop the IPM Scouting Training program for Educators that was initiated in the previous funding cycle. This program has been extremely well received and is expected to continue in its success at the county level.
9) Provide opportunities for educators and producers to receive training in irrigation systems management and irrigation scheduling technologies.
a.) The OSU irrigation team will be developing and delivering a Master Irrigators program that will focus on utilizing irrigation scheduling tools that have been shown to increase water productivity and reduce irrigation water use. The program will also provide on-farm irrigation system efficiency assessments that will improve energy and water use efficiency for irrigated crop production in OK.