- Animal Production: free-range, grazing management, pasture fertility
- Crop Production: cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, high tunnels or hoop houses, multiple cropping, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers, pollinator habitat
- Education and Training: extension, workshop
- Farm Business Management: risk management, value added, whole farm planning
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
- Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, flame, mulches - living, physical control, weed ecology
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
The overall objectives of the 2018-2019 SC SARE Program will be to continue the existing strategic and collaborative planning process for statewide sustainable agriculture development, to provide professional development opportunities for Extension agents, NRCS field staff and other agriculture professionals and reward outstanding service, and to continue to organize and conduct in-service training in sustainable agriculture practices. The MSP Assistant will work with the state SARE coordinators and program advisory committee to organize training activities for 1890 and 1862 Extension and other agriculture professionals that will address critical needs identified by program stakeholders. The program advisory committee met on November 30, 2017 to identify priority topics for the 2018-2019 training program that include: non-chemical approaches to pest management (including information on disease and insect pest life cycles, selection of disease and insect resistant crop varieties, soil pest and disease management); integration of grazing animals in vegetable cropping systems; cost-effective cover cropping for small farming operations; proper harvesting and handling of vegetable crops in the field and packing shed; small equipment repair; organic and non-GMO egg production. Training will focus on an experiential approach to learning where classroom sessions are supplemented with hands-on training in the field. South Carolina State University 1890 Extension will continue to play a key role in planning and will continue to conduct training on sustainable vegetable production with a focus on small-scale and minority owned farms. The MSP position will continue to facilitate program reporting and evaluation, and will assist with project accounting and budgeting. A joint budget for Clemson and South Carolina State University has been developed. Funds will be administered through Clemson; South Carolina State University will submit invoices for training expenses to the Clemson Sustainable Agriculture Program
Project objectives from proposal:
• Continue the existing strategic planning process for statewide sustainable agriculture development. Building on new and existing collaborations with stakeholder groups, the state co-coordinators will work with the MSP Assistant and with the SC SARE Advisory Committee to broaden the pool of stakeholders including under-represented groups who are involved with the planning process and the development of educational programs. As in previous years, an annual sustainable agriculture retreat will be organized in fall/winter to identify priorities and to plan educational programs based on stakeholder needs. We will continue to collaborate on training programs with stakeholder organizations and with SARE PDP personnel from neighboring states when appropriate. The comprehensive and inclusive planning process will limit duplication of effort and will help to leverage available resources.
• Continue to provide professional development opportunities for Extension agents, NRCS, FSA and state Department of Agriculture staff and other sustainable agriculture educators. The outcomes of this objective are that our agriculture professionals will enhance their knowledge and competency in sustainable agriculture, they will increase their contact with the sustainable agriculture community, and they will be recognized as local experts to be called upon for information on sustainable agriculture. Travel scholarships will be provided for select Extension agents and agricultural professionals to attend the 2018 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) Sustainable Agriculture Conference (November) and other sustainable agriculture educational events as funds are available. These events represent valuable educational opportunities for our agents and other agriculture professionals, and also facilitate interactions between agriculture professionals and farmers.
• Continue to support the “Outstanding Sustainable Agriculture Extension Agent of the Year” award to recognize SC cooperative extension personnel for excellence in sustainable agriculture outreach. A call for nominations will be released in summer of each year open to 1890 and 1862 personnel. The award recipient will receive a travel scholarship to attend a sustainable agriculture event and a plaque recognizing their service to the sustainable agriculture community. The award will continue to encourage the development of innovative public outreach programs by our Extension agents.
• The SC SARE PDP Program will continue to organize and conduct in-service training opportunities for Extension agents, NRCS, FSA and state Department of Agriculture personnel, agricultural educators, and for other interested persons as space permits. Workshop topics will be determined annually by the Advisory Committee (see listing of 2018 workshop topics below). The MSP Assistant, in consultation with the coordinators and the SC CFSA representative, will have overall responsibility for workshop organization, publicity and evaluation.