The Utah Professional Development Program (PDP) provides resources and training to agricultural professionals and producers that promote the goals of Western SARE. The program is guided by an Advisory Committee of eight members (as of August 2020). The Committee urges the Utah PDP to seek answers to the state’s challenges, such as being the 9th most densely urban and the 2nd most arid state in the nation, in a way that protects natural resources and human safety, and enhances the quality of life for our producers. Specific topics recommended by the committee include improving local production and distribution of food (as affected/evidenced by COVID-19), building soil health practices, increasing adoption of integrated pest management (IPM), and improving sustainable grazing.
The Utah PDP primarily reaches the livestock, forage, and specialty crop industries, particularly on small farms. For 2021-24, the program will direct resources to the following activities each year: four conferences/workshops, training in IPM, access to publications, and mini-grant awards. Delivery of resources will be structured as needed based on whether the current COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are still in place (virtual or live). The two conferences are long-standing events that have been supported by the Utah PDP in the past, and include the Urban and Small Farms Conference (reaching over 200 producers and professionals) and the Utah-Arizona Annual Range and Livestock Conference (reaching over 180). The workshops are new events for the Utah PDP, and mini-grant awards for professional travel or event hosting will continue as they have in the past.
Project objectives from proposal:
There are three objectives for this proposal that will target the overall goals for 2021-24 to increase local production and distribution of food (as affected/evidenced by COVID-19), build soil health practices, increase adoption of integrated pest management (IPM), and improve sustainable grazing.
- Increase knowledge and skills of nine Utah Extension agricultural professionals and up to 300 producers through the award of approximately three mini-grants each year for travel or event-hosting (offered spring and fall of each year), measured by reporting and follow-up surveys of award recipients. (“Travel/Event Hosting Awards”)
- Facilitate adoption of sustainable agricultural practices of 900 professionals and producers through the support of four conferences and workshops offered in spring, summer, and fall of each year, as measured by retrospective surveys after each event. (“Support of Conferences/Workshops”)
- Increase knowledge and skills of up to 120 agricultural professionals and 500 producers in integrated pest management through on-going presentations and delivery of publications and guides, conducted throughout the duration of the award, and measured by paper or online surveys. (“General Outreach”)