Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program (PDP) Program Assistant for Model State Plan

    Grants and Contracts Details


    Agriculture in Kentucky is in a state of transition. The loss of the USDA Tobacco Program reduced farm income for 60,000 tobacco quota owners and 30,000 tenant farmers. In addition, there is a large, but temporary, influx of tobacco buyout payments to tobacco quota owners and growers. As many of75% of former tobacco growers will stop raising tobacco and incorporate alternative enterprises into their operation. County extension agents, agricultural professionals, paraprofessionals, and farmer mentors need training, resource materials, and assistance as they deal with the changes in agriculture in Kentucky. The 2006-2008 Kentucky Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Model State Program (MSP) proposes to assist this agricultural support network in meeting the needs of sustainable agriculture in Kentucky. To better focus and define the objectives for this model state program, a new Kentucky Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee (SAAC) conducted their first meeting on June 26, 2006. The committee was a gender- and racially-diverse mix of small and large acreage farmers, public sector employees, and representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Community Farm Alliance (CF A), Green River Cattle Company, and Kentucky Women in Agriculture. SAAC members introduced themselves, delivered personal definitions of sustainable agriculture, and participated in discussions facilitated within breakout groups. They summarized what Kentucky is doing well with sustainable agriculture, what Kentucky is not doing so well, and developed prioritized action plans to guide the development of the model state program. Proceedings of the meeting are attached to this proposal. Some of the issues that emerged are difficult to address within the scope of this proposal. For instance, marketing issues arise in virtually every discussion of Kentucky agriculture, and require a multi-faceted approach to solutions. Public policy issues (land use, USDA programs) confronting sustainable agriculture are complex, politically charged, and may best be pursued through capacity building within other organizations (e.g. commodity associations, Farm Bureau). Other issues from the SAAC discussions speak directly to needs that a SARE Professional Development Program (PDP) MSP can address in the near term: Farmers are seeking ways to increase profitability trom existing enterprises and from alternative or value-added crops or livestock. They also want to make farming choices that will allow the next generation to be able to make a living on the farm. Communities are beginning to recognize the value of a viable, sustainable farm economy. The increase in the cost of farming inputs derived from fossil fuels (diesel, pesticides, tertiI izer, etc) is creating a need for reassessment of recommendations, and increased education on how to make adjustments in farming practices. The increase in the number of non-traditional farmers across Kentucky and urban growth into rural areas is creating a new agricultural audience with different educational needs. All these issues relate to the fundamental Kentucky definition of sustainable agriculture ~ agriculture that has a positive effect on net income, the environment, and the community. The full implementation of this Model State Plan depends on the SARE Program Assistant. The 2006-2008 Kentucky Model State Plan proposes to use the new Program Assistant to assist in the entire SARE state program, but especially with the Third Thursday program as it attempts to add locations and reach a broader clientele. Another special and new effort is the development and support of the Alternative Agriculture Resource Teams. In addition, the Program Assistant will assist with the planning and implementation of training and committee events. Another important role will be to integrate available and forthcoming SARE materials (including the CORE curriculum) into agent training opportunities as it fits their needs. The Program Assistant will work with campus faculty/specialists to assist them in incorporating the core SARE principles of profitability, environmental soundness, and community benefits into their educational products and programs. Finally, the program assistant will serve as a liaison between sustainable agriculture activities and interdisciplinary teams such as the Beef Integrated Resource Management, Grain Crops Academy, Integrated Pest Management, and New Crop Opportunities teams.
    Effective start/end date4/1/063/31/07


    • University of Georgia: $20,000.00


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