South Dakota SARE Plan of Work 2021-22

Project Overview

WNC20-111
Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2022: $129,904.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: South Dakota State University
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
State Coordinator:
Dr. Rhoda Burrows
South Dakota State University

Commodities

No commodities identified

Practices

No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

  1. Beginning Farmers/Ranchers
  2. Wholistic Management
  3. Soil Health
  4. Local Foods

Project objectives from proposal:

All initiatives will include particular efforts to target beginning farmers/ranchers for programming as well as travel grants and minigrants.

1. Beginning Farmer/Ranchers: Identifying needs and strengthening sustainability.

As part of this NCR-SARE regional initiative for 2021-22, we will focus particular efforts on beginning farmers and ranchers. The 2017 Census of Agriculture reported that 45% of vegetable growers, 36% of fruit growers, and 32% of sheep growers in South Dakota are beginning growers (less than 10 years). Other farming categories range around 20% for beginning producers: oilseed/grain, hay, beef and hogs.

a.) Expected outcomes. Short term: We will gain a clearer understanding of the particular needs of beginning producers in our state. Current programs and resources will be identified, and agricultural professionals will be provided training on how to better assist beginning farmers and ranchers. Intermediate term: Sustainable agriculture program areas will report taking into account the special needs of new producers in their program development and delivery. Gaps of resources will be identified and addressed. Long-term: Beginning producers and the ag professionals who serve them will have increased access to programs and knowledge pertaining to the needs of beginning producers.

b.) Activities. Because South Dakota representatives were unable to attend the regional training in Indianapolis in 2019, we will form a task force of interested board members, ag professionals, and producers who have been farming or ranching less than ten years. The task force will identify general and specific educational needs for beginning producers in South Dakota, as well as identify existing resources and programming, both in-state and regionally or nationally. This may include workshops, study tours, webinars, or other educational programming for both beginning producers and the ag professionals serving them. During the two-year period, we will offer travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers. Because of the particular needs of these producers and the potential for long-term outcomes, at least 50% of our mini-grants and travel scholarships will include designated efforts to learn about and/or address the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers.

c.) Evaluation. Assessment of task force plan to increase the access of beginning farmers and ranchers to knowledge and resources in the area of sustainable production. Participants will be surveyed to assess what they have learned, what they plan to implement, and for suggestions to improve the program(s). Recipients of travel sponsorships will be asked to report how they have shared knowledge gained. Recipients of mini-grants will be asked to administer and report results of event surveys. Participants will be invited to participate in post-event surveys to gauge changes in behavior.

2. Soil Health

a.) Expected outcomes. Short term: extension, public sector, and private consultants will be provided with opportunities for training on increasing soil carbon, reducing soil erosion, enhancing soil water infiltration, efficiency of nutrient and water cycling, and use of cover crops. Intermediate term: 50% of trained extension, public sector, and private consultants will provide training to producers on topics related to soil carbon, soil erosion, soil water infiltration, efficiency of nutrient and water cycling, and use of cover crops. Long-term: 25% of producers attending training will adopt practices related to the above topics.

b.) Activities. Various opportunities will exist through SDSU Extension, SDSHC, SDGC, NRCS, and other local organizations to provide meetings, workshops, and schools on soil health, cover crops, no-till, water quality, and efficient nutrient cycling on both crop and grazing lands. We expect to support two to three soil health workshops which will occur in the winter of 2021 and 2022 and the SDSHC Soil Health School each fall. Participants will learn basic principles of: soil structure, soil microbiology, effects of no-till, crop rotations and cover crops management. One hundred fifty participants are expected, including SDSU Extension, NRCS personnel, NGO’s, private industry and farmers. SARE will continue to provide travel scholarships to assist individual educators to attend regional meetings on sustainable agriculture. Educators will use the information gained at workshops to educate producers about sustainable agriculture.

c.) Evaluation. Participants will be surveyed to assess what they have learned, what they plan to implement, and for suggestions to improve the program(s). Recipients of travel sponsorships will be asked to report how they have shared knowledge gained. Recipients of mini-grants will be asked to administer and report results of event surveys. Participants will be invited to participate in post-event surveys to gauge changes in behavior.

3. Sustainable Livestock Production

a) Expected outcomes. Short term: extension, public sector, and private consultants will be provided with opportunities for training on sustainable livestock production practices such as rotational grazing, livestock-crop integration, low stress livestock handling, novel technology adoption and implementation (i.e. drones, virtual fencing, animal behavior/movement monitors). Intermediate term: 50% of trained extension, public sector, and private consultants will provide training to producers on the topics listed above. Long-term: 25% of producers attending trainings will adopt practices related to sustainable livestock production.
b) Activities: Support workshop(s) for extension, public sector, and private consultants that focus on grazing best management practices and will include hands-on field exercises and demos. 40 participants are expected consisting of SDSU Extension, NGO’s, private industry and farmers and ranchers. We will also help support a Grazing School and a pasture walk, with 60 participants from the same audience. We plan to provide funding for mini-grants and travel scholarships supporting sustainable agriculture. Extension personnel will utilize gained knowledge by sharing it with producers.

c.) Evaluation. Participants will be surveyed to assess what they have learned, what they plan to implement, and for suggestions to improve the program(s). Recipients of travel sponsorships will be asked to report how they have shared knowledge gained. Recipients of mini-grants will be asked to administer and report results of event surveys. Participants will be invited to participate in post-event surveys to gauge changes in behavior.

4. Local Foods

a.) Expected outcomes. Short term: extension, public sector, and private consultants will be provided with opportunities for training on local vegetable and fruit hubs, production techniques, marketing, and pest management. Intermediate term: 50% of trained extension, public sector, and private consultants will provide training to producers on topics related to vegetable and fruit cooperatives, production techniques, marketing, and pest management. Long-term: 25% of producers attending training will adopt practices related to local food production.

b.) Activities. Field tours: Support field tours and workshops of organizations working in the area of local foods, such as the South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA. We anticipate about 100 participants consisting of SDSU Extension, NGO’s, private industry and farmers. The audience should better understand the principles of sustainable food production; general production, high tunnel management, marketing, food hubs and CSA’s. We will support the South Dakota Local Foods Conference held in November each year. SARE will support travel scholarships and mini-grants concerning high tunnels, general production practices, producer food safety, and producer cooperation and. Educators will use information gained at workshops to advise and educate producers.

c.) Evaluation. Participants will be surveyed to assess what they have learned, what they plan to implement, and for suggestions to improve the program(s). Recipients of travel sponsorships will be asked to report how they have shared knowledge gained. Recipients of mini-grants will be asked to administer and report results of event surveys. Participants will be invited to participate in post-event surveys to gauge changes in behavior.

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.