An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Agricultural Production Diversification, Marketing and Management, and Economics Research/training in Emerging Renewable Energy Industry Mississippi Delta Region Arkansas

Investigators
Armah, Paul
Institutions
University of Arkansas
Start date
2011
End date
2016
Objective

The broad research project priorities will cover: Sustainable Energy; Food Safety; Agricultural Production Diversification; Human Capacity Training and Development in Agriculture; Climate Mitigation; Global Food Security and Hunger, etc. These proposed 5 year projects will establish innovative frameworks for agricultural research and training with collaborative research and technology transfer components with Arkansas' higher institutions and experimental stations that transcend traditional agricultural research and academic disciplinary boundaries. The projects also have the potential of providing vision for addressing the major challenges of food, energy, climate, and health facing the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas as well as helping to improve the economic conditions in rural Arkansas. This 5 year project will emphasize three (3) broad research and training themes or objectives:

Objectives 1: Economic research and training in integrative biosciences and bio-energy for sustainable food, agricultural and environmental systems in Arkansas (involves integrative and collaborative research and training of students and farmers in food and agricultural, social and economic disciplines), particularly in sustainable ecosystems and functional integrative agricultural production, value-added processing, marketing, and natural resources management. Outcome: Well trained students with skills and expertise with which they can directly pipeline to the emerging bioenergy workforce

Objective 2: Agricultural production diversification - economic analysis for identifying opportunities and potential of producing bio-energy feedstock, dedicated alternative crops for the emerging biofuels industry as well as specialty crops for food processing facilities in the region Outcome: This has the potential of helping farmers in the region make new investments in agriculture, retain on-farm rural jobs, and create new "green jobs" as a result of their diversifying into dedicated energy and alternative crops that can be used to feed the emerging bio-diesel industries in the region. The proposed projects will indirectly impact the agricultural economy of the entire Northeast Arkansas region.

Objectives 3: Agricultural Management and Economics - specifically in agricultural trade policy, resource economics, and economics of alternative energy. Involves the need to provide economic information and opportunities to rice farmers in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas to diversify into the production of "aromatic" Basmati or Jasmine rice varieties so as to access and exploit foreign market opportunities Outcome: Outcome is measurable in terms of increased profit and incomes to farmers, number of jobs created, increased production of new rice varieties, increased exports and prices of Arkansas rice.

More information

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY:
Objective 1- Rationale: The recent higher crude oil prices have created higher incentives for biofuel production, stimulating demand for feedstock products and directly influencing creation of biofuel industry and the production of agricultural commodities in the region. Thus, a new generation of students trained with skills in this emerging industry is needed, and given significant construction of bio-refineries across the nation, the need for trained students to work in this sector is not only strong but is a national necessity.
Objective 2- Rationale: Farmers in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas continue to depend on the production of row crops such as cotton, soybeans, rice, etc. As global competition for these crops increases, a continuing stream of knowledge on diversification into the production and marketing of alternative or specialty new crops that can expand economic opportunities will be needed in the region.
Objective 3 - Rationale: Farmers in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas continue to depend on the production of row crops such as cotton, soybeans, rice, etc. As global competition for these crops increases, a continuing stream of knowledge on diversification into the production and marketing of new crops that can expand economic opportunities will be needed by in the region.

APPROACH:
Methods - Objective1 Use ASU's bioenergy resources to train students to acquire the expertise in bioenergy. Will utilize ASU's 4-year multidisciplinary Renewable Energy Technology (2+2) degree program and other bioenergy resources and private industry to train students to acquire the expertise in bioenergy students acquire the competencies and skills to pipeline them directly into the emerging bioenergy industry in the region. Methods - Objective 2: 1. Conduct economic analysis for identifying opportunities, potential, challenges and barriers of producing alternative/dedicated crops and bio-energy feedstocks for the emerging biofuels industry as well as specialty crops for food processing facilities in the region. 2. Provide continuous economic outlook analysis for the production, processing and marketing of dedicated bio-energy and specialty crops that may impact economic development in the region 3. Collaborate with stakeholders (farmers, processors, investors) in the collection and dissemination of timely information on the production of resilient and resistant crops that can help farmers diversify into bio-energy, specialty and alternative crops with the potential of replacing or complementing the traditionally grown crops in the region. Methods - Objective 3: This will be a participatory-based collaborative production and marketing assistance project between rice farmers in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas on one hand, Arkansas State University, University of Ghana and Ghanaian rice consumers on the other hand. This project will facilitate the production of ""aromatic"" Basmati and Jasmine rice varieties in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas and the initiation of market and supply chain feasibility studies in Ghana to exploit market opportunities for the ""aromatic"" rice varieties. a. Conduct collaborative applied research with randomly selected rice farmers from the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas to grow ""aromatic"" Basmati and Jasmine rice varieties. b. Assess market opportunities for ""aromatic"" Basmati and Jasmine rice varieties produced from the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas in the Ghanaian and other international markets in a collaborative research with the University of Ghana. c. Develop and articulate market research results on ""aromatic"" Basmati and Jasmine rice varieties produced in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas in a concise informative brochure and distribute to Ghanaian rice importers and public officials (Ministry of Agriculture) in charge of rice imports. There is potential for partnership with rice industry cooperatives and promotion groups such as US Rice Federation and others. d. Develop and articulate community based information on the production of ""aromatic"" Basmati and Jasmine rice varieties and foreign (Ghana) market opportunities to farmers, extension agents and other rural enterprises in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas, that will provide a vision for efficient production of ""aromatic"" Basmati and Jasmine rice varieties in the region.

PROGRESS:
2013/01 TO 2013/09
Target Audience: The project collaborated and worked with row crop farmers in Northeast Arkansas,Bioenergy developers, businesses and investors, researchers and students in the same region,, The progress report has also been communicated to Winrock International, Bioenergy Systems, Arkansas State University, AP Innovations, Arkansas USDA, Farmers National. Changes/Problems: The major problem that this project faces is the ability to estimate how many bioenergy facilities that can be located in Northeast Arkansas. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Students at Arkansas State University have had the opportunity to be trained in economic impact analysis using IMPLAN software.Professionals from small businesses and consulting such as BioEnergy Systems LLC,Winrock International Arkansas State Universityinvolved in the project were trained in bioenergy evaluation processesand analysis. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Progress results of the project have been communicated to stakeholders, farmers, students and the general public through presentations at conferences(e.g Annual Agribusiness Conference at Arkansas State University with over 2000 attendants- mostly farmers. We also organized a seminar at Little Rock where the progress result was presented to policy makers, investers. farmers and students What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Identify the best biofuel to be produced in Northeast Arkansas. Evaluate whether at current gas prices the best biofuels produced in Northeast Arkansas will ever be cost competitive with fossil fuel .Whether row crop farmers can make profit by growing energy crops?
PROGRESS:
2012/01/01 TO 2012/12/31
OUTPUTS: Activities include collecting, analyzing alternative and bioenergy data using IMPLAN software to assess their impacts on Northeast Arkansas economy. Products include impacts of employment output, value added, etc. on the diversification of vegetables and bioenergy in the Northeast Arkansas economy, acquisition of skills in the use of IMPLAN software, and engagement of a graduate student on the research as thesis project. Dissemination activities include presentation of the results to stakeholders, farmers and bioenergy professionals at the 2012 Agribusiness Conference. PARTICIPANTS: Principal investigators are Paul Armah or Arkansas State University, Jim Wimberly of Bioenergy Systems, and Steve Young of AP Innovations Project Director is Annett Pagan of Winrock International. Project partners include Winrock International, Bioenergy Systems, Arkansas State University, AP Innovations, Arkansas USDA, Farmers National. Collaborators include Alan McVey of Arkansas State University, Gregory Phillips of Arkansas State University, Robert Young of Arkansas USDA, Jim Wimberly of Bioenergy Systems, Steve Young of AP Innovations, Wayne Miller of University of Arkansas Extension Service, Michael Popps of University of Arkansas. Project trained Craig Walker an undergraduate student and Kassy Whitener a graduate student on data collection and analysis using IMPLAN software. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences include farmers who may diversify into vegetables and dedicated crops production, economic developers and investors who may invest in bioenergy industry in the region and policy makers. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.
PROGRESS:
2011/01/01 TO 2011/12/31
OUTPUTS: Activities include collecting, analyzing alternative and bioenergy data using IMPLAN software to assess their impacts on Northeast Arkansas economy. Events include presenting the preliminary results at Agribusiness Conference, February 8, 2012, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro trainings. Products include impacts of employment output, value added, etc. on the diversification of vegetables and bioenergy in the Northeast Arkansas economy, acquisition of skills in the use of IMPLAN software, and engagement of a graduate student on the research as thesis project. Dissemination activities include presentation of the results to stakeholders, farmers and bioenergy professionals at the 2012 Agribusiness Conference. PARTICIPANTS: Principal investigaters are Paul Armah or Arkansas State University, Jim Wimberly of Bioenergy Systems, and Steve Young of AP Innovations Project Director is Annett Pagan of Winrock International. Craig Walker, a student at Arkansas State University also worked on the project. Project partners include Winrock International, Bioenergy Systems, Arkansas State University, AP Innovations, Arkansas USDA, Farmers National. Collaborators include Alan McVey of Arkansas State University, Gregory Phillips of Arkansas State University, Robert Young of Arkansas USDA, Jim Wimberly of Bioenergy Systems, Steve Young of AP Innovations, Wayne Miller of University of Arkansas Extension Service, Michael Popps of University of Arkansas. Project trained Craig Walker an undergraduate student and Kassy Whitener a graduate student on data collection and analysis using IMPLAN software. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences include farmers who may diversify into vegetables and dedicated crops production, economic developers and investors who may invest in bioenergy industry in the region and policy makers. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Application for grant from USDA to fund the training of students in emerging renewable energy industry was not granted. This will significantly dely or affect the second part of the project.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
ARK02311
Accession number
225538
Categories
Food Defense and Integrity
Bacterial Pathogens