Michigan State PDP Plan of Work: 2021 - 2022

Project Overview

WNC20-105
Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2022: $130,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Michigan State University Extension
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
State Coordinator:
Dr. Dean Baas
Michigan State University Extension

Commodities

No commodities identified

Practices

No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

  • Michigan Initiative 1: Strengthening the Success and Sustainability of Beginning Farmers

  • Michigan Initiative 2: Building Sustainable Agriculture Capacity with Diverse Audiences

  • Michigan Initiative 3: Advancing Sustainable Approaches to Address Production, Environmental and Climate Issues

Project objectives from proposal:

Michigan Initiative 1: Strengthening the Success and Sustainability of Beginning Farmers

In order to continue the NCR-SARE regional initiative for 2021-22, one of our initiative focus areas will be on “beginning farmers and ranchers.” We will work with members of our state delegation who attended the regional training in Indianapolis on October 1-2, 2019.  The Michigan Co-coordinator will lead and coordinate the delegation to develop a database of Michigan beginning farmer and rancher educational programming to directly support beginning farmers and ranchers and/or educators working with these stakeholders. This can include a website, workshops, study tours, webinars or other educational programming. As identified by the Advisory Council: The economic sustainability of CSA models, declining farmers market sales, financial literacy, on-line marketing/connectivity and urban agriculture are issues to address. During the two-year plan of work period, we will offer SARE-funded travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers.

Activities

  • Funds will be used to support mini-grant projects and programs to:
    • Identify, compile and promote on-line resources for educators and beginning farmers.
    • Develop and implement on-line and distance education for the professional development for educators of beginning farmers and food hubs.
    • Sponsor activities that promote beginning farmer networks, peer networks and regional workshops.
    • PDP for educators of beginning farmers and food hubs through meetings and workshops.
  • Funds will be used to support professional development travel scholarships:
    • One regional delegation planning meeting per year.
    • Two educators/year to attend a national or regional beginning farmer conference.

Expected Outcomes

  • 25 educators will be trained in beginning farmer development topics
  • 20 educators will use new information to answer client questions and address local issues.
  • 20 educators and farmers will develop new contacts and partners for work.
  • 50 beginning farmers will incorporate new knowledge into their production system.
  • 25 beginning farmers will make a change on their farm to increase their sustainability

Evaluation

  • Post-event evaluations will be conducted to determine change in knowledge and intentions to act on new information.
  • Educators will complete Michigan SARE PDP post-event evaluation 1 - 6 months after workshops to assess short- and intermediate-term outcomes.

Michigan Initiative 2: Building Sustainable Agriculture Capacity with Diverse Audiences

SARE has an extensive list of sustainable agriculture resources for educators and stakeholders. These resources, while readily available, are not being fully utilized due to language barriers, cultural impediments or a lack/loss of knowledge of their existence. It is understood within Michigan’s sustainable agriculture community that interdisciplinary, multi-organizational collaboration and coordination is essential to further the implementation of sustainable practices among diverse audiences in our food and agriculture system. Latinx farmers are one of fasting growing farmer demographics and translation of additional existing SARE materials would be a very important way to engage this community. The history of systemic racism within US agriculture has impacted circumstances, policies and practices for farmers of color and tribal communities. Understanding and acknowledging these inequities is essential to engaging these groups. Veterans are uniquely positioned to benefit personally from the financial and wellness opportunities in agriculture. Educators would benefit from understanding the unique needs of veterans and veteran families when working with them around sustainable agriculture. Finally, while many individuals within traditional constituent groups (i.e. Extension, NRCS, MAEAP, etc.) use SARE resources, in aggregate, many in these groups are unaware or have lost sight of SARE and its resources. Professional development to re-engage these groups in mass by targeting their unique needs will strengthen the sustainable agriculture community in Michigan.

Activities

  • Funds will be used to support mini-grant projects and programs:
    • Sponsor activities that promote the understanding and needs of a diverse range of audiences.
    • PDP for educators targeting the needs of diverse audiences through meetings and workshops.
    • Deliver an MSU Fall Extension Conference program to reach a broader educator audience about SARE and SARE resources.
  • Funds will be used to support professional development travel scholarships:
    • Three educators/year to attend a national or regional agricultural diversity conference
  • Funds will be used to purchase and distribute a sample SARE resources (books, bulletins, thumb drives, etc.) to educators across diverse audiences.

Expected Outcomes

  • 50 educators will be trained in the availability and use of SARE resources
  • 50 educators will use SARE information to answer client questions and address local issues.
  • 20 educators and farmers will develop new contacts and partners for work.
  • 100 farmers will incorporate new knowledge into their production system.
  • 50 farmers will make a change on their farm using sustainable agriculture practices.

Evaluation

  • Post-event evaluations will be conducted to determine change in knowledge and intentions to act on new information.
  • Educators will complete Michigan SARE PDP post-event evaluation 1 - 6 months after workshops to assess short- and intermediate-term outcomes.

Michigan Initiative 3: Advancing Sustainable Approaches to Address Production, Environmental and Climate Issues

Agriculture in Michigan is faced with a variety of current and on-going production, environmental and climate issues including soil health, water quality, pest resistance, changing markets, energy and resilience to extreme climate events. Sustainable approaches to these issues are increasingly seen as a part of the solution. Agricultural educators are critical to advancing and fostering of sustainable approaches to agricultural issues at all scales and across sectors. Professional development that provides current and science-based research and educational information for educators and support for dissemination to other educators, farmers, agri-business and service providers will advance the use of sustainable practices and approaches in Michigan. Agriculture educators need to be current on these issues and efforts taking place in their regions of the state. Support of the educator/farmer partnership in program delivery is more effective as farmers learn from other farmers through experience and educational and networking opportunities.

Activities:

  • Funds will be used to support conferences, workshops, and field days through mini-grant projects and programs:
    • Development of educational materials on sustainable approaches to production, environmental and climate issues.
    • Support field days and workshops sponsored by MSU Extension, Conservation districts, NRCS and other partners.
    • Support for educator on-farm demonstration projects to support educational objectives.
    • Support for travel to educational events.
  • Funds will be used to support professional development travel scholarships:
    • Two educators/year to attend the Soil Health Nexus Conference or equivalent
    • Three educators/year to attend the Midwest Cover Crops Council Conference or equivalent

Expected Outcomes

  • 50 educators (Extension, NRCS, MAEAP, agriculture instructors) will continue to enhance their knowledge about sustainable solutions to agricultural issues.
  • 25 educators will use this information to answer client questions.
  • 50 farmers and educators will develop new contacts and partners for work.
  • 200 farmers will incorporate new knowledge into their production system.
  • 100 farmers will make a change on their farm to reduce production, environmental or climate challenges.

Evaluation

  • Post-event evaluations indicating change in knowledge and intentions to act on new information will be conducted by sponsoring organizations/events.
  • Educators will complete Michigan SARE PDP post-event evaluation 1 - 6 months after workshops to assess short- and intermediate-term outcomes.
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.