2021 Florida SARE MSA Proposal UF

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2021: $33,333.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2022
Grant Recipient: University of Florida
Region: Southern
State: Florida
State Coordinators:
Dr. Marilyn Swisher
University of Florida
Dr. Cassel Gardner
Florida A&M University


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Proposal abstract:

Florida activities for 2021-2022 will build upon the basic framework for the model state program. Planned activities include integrating results of SARE funded research and Extension activities, and other relevant research, and using this information as resources for educational programs. We also plan to continue to strengthen our focus on targeted training for state and county Extension faculty, representatives of non-profit organizations, representatives of state and federal government agencies, and farmer representatives. To fulfill the priorities and objectives of our program, our training funds will be used to address programs in three subject matter areas: (1) new and emerging solutions for Florida agricultural production, (2) advancing Extension capacity in sustainable agriculture, and (3) entrepreneurial innovation in sustainable agriculture.  Our expected outcomes are: (1) Extension faculty will participate in SARE in-service training programs and use this information in their own programming, (2) Extension faculty will participate in regional and national training programs in sustainable agriculture and apply the lessons learned in their own programming, (3) at least two of the statewide Extension priority teams will include information and resources about sustainable agriculture and SARE in their professional development training programs and Extension programming, (4) through SARE, Extension agents and farmers will identify opportunities for the development, outreach, and research of alternative crops and enterprises, (5) regional and local county agents will develop new collaborations with organizations, agencies, and groups working in sustainable agriculture, and (6) Extension faculty and agents will make increased use of resources to support programming in sustainable agriculture.

Project objectives from proposal:

The 2021-22 Florida SARE programming builds upon our previous years’ work in two ways. (1) We continue to focus on outreach and training that enhances the environmental and economic benefits of production agriculture. (2) We continue to host trainings that emphasize local and regional food systems to address issues and policies that impact our food system. We continue to address the changing training needs of state and county faculty. (1) The need for SARE to provide training to county faculty in IRB requirements for human subject research has declined and we have discontinued training about how to complete the submission. We do point out the requirement for human subject approval in all aspects of our work and direct Extension faculty to the training site and the submission site. (2) County, regional and state Extension personnel continue to press for more training in how to develop research and outreach proposals and how to assemble and train teams to implement their projects. We will continue to expand this training to include identification of potential funding sources (public and private). (3) County faculty want more access to cutting edge research in sustainable ag to reduce the time between research and adoption. We are accommodating this need by involving county faculty in field assessments of various research projects. Through this venue, county faculty have a voice in the development of research projects and in the data generation process. (4) We will expand our training program that integrates grower and technical advisor input into ecological and biological research to enhance research outcomes. UF has hired additional Extension personnel over the past three years, including a number of Regional Specialized Agents who are responsible for a specific production system (e.g., commercial horticulture) in a multi-county region. These new Extension faculty members who play a role that is distinct from both agents and state specialists is the focus of training regarding empowerment of farmers in the research process. (5) One of the most useful roles we play for IFAS faculty members is to gather preliminary data regarding grower needs, barriers and priorities. We will develop protocols for this kind of data collection and continue to work with faculty members to facilitate the data collection. These data are often critical to the development of good grant proposals. (6) We will continue to offer training about how to strengthen the outreach and evaluation components of extension projects and incorporate more on-farm trials into their work. Our revised strategic plan emphasizes increasing diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our SARE program. This includes a training program in the 2021-22 period using the Young Farmers’ Racial Equity Toolkit. NE SARE produced the toolkit, which was authored by Caitlin Arnold and the National Young Farmers’ Coalition. 

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.