The membership of the U.S. Virgin Islands SARE Advisory Council proposed three priority areas in which training is needed in order to advance agricultural sustainability in the territory. The professional development activities described in this proposal for the 2020 – 2021 implementation period are designed to meet the needs of all stakeholders while building upon the successes achieved during previous years. The specific areas of need include training on Farm Record Keeping; the Safety, Health, and Wellness of Farmers; and Cost Share Opportunities and Sustainable Agricultural Practices.
During the 2018 – 2019 implementation period areas of priority included pollinator identification and population management, food safety training, and the cooperative business model. During the 2019 – 2020 period the training objectives focused on continued food safety training, the principles of organic farming, and the sourcing/use of farm inputs for use in sustainable agricultural practices.
The proposed training on Record Keeping for the up-coming 2020 – 2021 cycle will build upon previous educational efforts such as education on the cooperative business model to improve the economic practicality of producers. Also, the previous training events on food safety were designed to sustain the economic viability of producers while protecting consumer health. Finally, the suggested training on Cost Sharing Opportunities for Sustainable Agricultural Practices is designed to increase awareness of a cost saving opportunity for producers while encouraging the implementation of sustainable production practices. The target audience for all training events will be outreach staff from all state and federal agencies and mentor farmers.
Project objectives from proposal:
The target audience for the USVI Professional Development Program for the 2020 – 2021 implementation period will be mentor farmers and outreach agricultural staff from state and federal agencies.
Objective 1. To increase knowledge and awareness to improve financial management and record keeping skills
Objective 2. To increase knowledge, awareness as well as management, prevention, and coping skills regarding Safety, Health, and Wellness of farmers
Objective 3. To increase knowledge and awareness about cost share funding opportunities for the implementation of sustainable agricultural practices