The OkSARE PDP strives to promote an exemplary level of cooperation between Langston University and Oklahoma State University to further the sustainability of Oklahoma agriculture by promoting the adoption of viable economic practices, responsible environmental resource management and the recognition of social responsibility in Oklahoma. This Plan of Work builds upon and extends prior programming efforts wherever possible. The goal of the program is to integrate and increase sustainable agricultural practices in historically mainstream agricultural endeavors as well as the emerging significant urban/suburban interface of our state while enhancing the quality of our natural resources and the rural way of life. Objectives remain to train agricultural professionals (Land Grant, federal/state agencies, and NGOs) and mentor farmers in the concepts and best management practices of sustainable agriculture as well as disseminating information regarding sustainable agriculture through various outlets. We recognize that the fundamentals of our focus do not greatly change over time. They include Crop Production, Small Acreage Programming, Vegetable Production, Local Food Systems, Livestock Production, Farm and Ranch Management, Drought, Weather, and Water Issues along with a new topic, Disaster and Emergency Preparedness. Training will be provided as allowed and deemed safe via participation at national, regional and local workshops and trainings, demonstrations, tours, research presentations, online and small group in-service trainings. 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:
1.) Sustainable Crop Production concepts which may include cover cropping, crop rotations, irrigation practices and pesticide/herbicide use will be included in programing for/by at least ninety agricultural educators. a) In 2020, the training provided to these educators were offered through the OSU Winter Crop School, the Panhandle Crops Clinic, the Red River Farming Conference and Regional Farming and Small Grains Conferences which were held virtually in Oklahoma. b) In 2021, if pandemic conditions permit, OSU will offer a Master Irrigators Training to be held in February to a limited number of attendees in a face-to-face multi day training. The OSU Winter Crop School, Red River Farming Conference and various Small Grains Cropping Systems meetings will be scheduled as allowable.
2.) That fifty agriculture professionals will be able to provide information, education and guidance on Small Acreage Programs. a) In 2020, several of the programs historically supported by the OkSARE PDP were cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We have taken this opportunity to explore expanding the programming through our participation in an Agriculture and Natural Resource Team which has been established to provide a focused approach to topics of interest to the small scale producer. b.) In 2021, A new program which has been proposed as a direct result of Educator participation in a previous SSAWG Conference will be a series of inservice training sites to be established to train Educators and Producers in the hands on production and management of honey bee colonies to support pollinators and provide new and alternative products for producers in our state. Additionally, a program to cover the basics of backyard poultry keeping is planned to encourage responsible management of poultry on small acreage farms. Other topics which are scheduled to be addressed for the small producer are forage production/stocking rates, hay storage, fruit and vegetable production for beginners (Organic and Conventional), food preservation methods and disaster/emergency preparedness. OkSARE will, as always, be providing significant support for the Langston University Annual Goat Conference in addition to the a fore mentioned trainings.
3.) Twenty educators would receive training on Local Food Systems. a) In 2021, the ANR Team has proposed trainings on the following topics to be developed: Direct Marketing considerations for fruit/vegetable producers, designing a Small Scale Farm Operation curriculum for Educators/Producers, a clearinghouse for community garden information, health department regulations (FSMA, hydroponics, aquaculture, etc.) and strategies to alleviate food insecurity.
4.) Eighty agricultural professionals will be able to provide the latest information with respect to the environmentally sound management of natural resources – especially water, soil and air, particularly as they are affected by Drought, Weather and Water issues. a) Specific topics that have been addressed to meet these needs are: Droughts preparedness and response, Pond Management, Water Conservation and Crop Efficiency, Weather Extremes, the development of a comprehensive water plan. b) In 2021, these issues will be addressed through the OSU Winter Crop School, the Panhandle Crops Clinic, the Red River Crop School, and the Oklahoma Irrigation Conference.
5.) Twenty extension educators would be better prepared to assist and provide technical direction for producer driven research and on-farm demonstration activities through producer program granting opportunities such as the USDA and SARE. a) In 2021, this will continue to be encouraged through the distribution of Educator Kits containing information with respect to the SARE, ODAFF and USDA granting programs.
6.) Fifty educators and others will receive training in Farm and Ranch Management covering topics such as analyzing production costs, transition and estate planning, marketing and cash futures, finance programming and USDA programs and the farm bill to subsequently help producers in developing and sustaining their operations. a) In 2021, this will be accomplished with previous mentioned programming by sponsoring sessions covering these topics at the Red River Farming Conference, the OSU Winter Crop School, the Master Irrigator’s Program and online trainings.
7.) Sixty professionals will be trained in sustainable alternative livestock practices to cover analyzing feed costs and supplements in a production system, marketing, reproduction and herd health and other biosecurity concerns. a) In 2021, this will continue to be addressed through the Oklahoma State University Meat Goat Boot Camp and the Langston University Goat Conference programs as well as rotational grazing presentations at the Red River Crop School and the OSU Winter Crop School. We will also work closely with coordinators of a recently funded NIFA Sustainable Ag systems Grant entitled “ Enhancing livestock production from rangelands in the great plains” to facilitate training on multi-species patch burn grazing strategies.