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Responding to the Needs of Socially Disadvantaged Livestock Producers

Investigators
Whitley, Niki; Eley, Michelle; Baldwin, Keith
Institutions
North Carolina A&T State University
Start date
2009
End date
2013
Objective

In order to support socially disadvantaged livestock producers, workshops and training sessions utilizing existing sustainable livestock production demonstration areas and the enhancement of demonstration areas at NCATSU for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers are planned. Partnerships with other organizations and institutions such as USDA, NRCS and Operation Spring Plant will be expanded, to include local Farm Credit and Farm Bureau offices, USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), personnel with the AGR Lite Insurance program, NC Department of Agriculture and other private and governmental organizations. Specific objectives include

1) training 100 socially disadvantaged sustainable livestock producers in business management practices that will provide growers with opportunities to participate in USDA programs, manage the scale of their operations to maximize income and practice sound environmental resource management and

2) continuing to work with FSA, NRCS, RMA, RDA/RDC, etc. to promote and assist in participation in USDA programs and other programs of benefit to them.

Workshops, conferences, demonstration sites, field days, symposia, trainings, seminars and consulting will be utilized. Producers will learn best management practices including farm business planning and recordkeeping practices necessary for application to USDA programs, filling out Schedule F forms and marketing animals to premium markets. The NCATSU farm demonstration sites will be enhanced to showcase best management practices that protect profitability as well as environmental, soil, and food quality and to provide opportunities for educational workshops, field days and tours for farmers. "Grower's School" training sessions for farmers involving economical, efficient production practices (feeds, feeding, breeding, stock selection, meat quality/food safety, etc., pasture management, environmental quality) will be provided. Existing and new cooperatives will be assisted with marketing and production issues. Educational workshops about programs involving the Farm Service Agency (FSA), EQIP, RMA, RDA and other USDA programs as well as SARE grants, Farm Bureau programs and health insurance programs in NC will be conducted. One-on-one assistance to farmers in applying for and receiving USDA services (through NCATSU CEP personnel and collaborators) as needed. Crop insurance alternatives for socially disadvantaged producers will be provided and value-added opportunities for producers will be discussed.

More information

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY:
The number of African-American farmers in North Carolina is decreasing. The proposed project intends to help increase minority owned and operated farms in part through assistance with USDA program participation. Because North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&TSU) has an established relationship with a large group of minority livestock producers, the focus for this project is the reported 1354 NC minority livestock producers with a specific focus on the African-American, limited resource stakeholders of NCA&TSU. Current outreach and assistance networks will be expanded through working with educational partners like Operation Spring Plant, Inc., a grassroots organization with a goal of assisting minority and limited resource farmers to be more sustainable, along with USDA and local governmental agencies and North Carolina State University, among others. Educational workshops, seminars and conferences will provide information about USDA programs (including one-on-one assistance) and financial management through increased production efficiencies, alternative marketing and adequate record keeping. Practical, producer-level educational resources aimed at minority producers will be developed. Existing and new marketing cooperatives will be supported, expanding our database of minority farmers and allowing for increased collaboration with existing programs such as the Farmer-to-Farmer Mentorship program. Minority farmer and NCA&TSU sustainable livestock production demonstration sites will be expanded and included for hands-on learning opportunities. A multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional and multi-unit Advisory Council and group of educational partners allows for a "holistic" project approach. Evaluation and reporting allows for feedback throughout the project. Overall, it is expected that at least 100 minority farmers will be positively impacted through this project.

APPROACH:
Monthly evening educational trainings ("Grower's Schools") will be held for 7 months a year with topics will be developed through interactions with producer groups and cooperatives (including surveys and needs assessments). The educational sessions will include but are not limited to topics such as waste, nutrient, water, and land management (vegetation, rotations, wallows, feeding and watering station, etc.) as well breeding, selection, livestock health and meat quality. Producers will be identified through collaborations with Operation Spring Plant, Inc. and other non-profit organizations targeting socially disadvantaged producers. Sessions will also include information about (and from) the ATTRA and USDA websites. Hands-on sessions will be added when possible (e.g. showing farmers how to mix rations, showcasing feed examples, arranging for a session at a farm to look at stock selection). As many as three sustainable agriculture livestock demonstration sites at the NC A&T State University (NCA&TSU) Farm will be enhanced in order to demonstrate proper resource management and best management practices for pasture-based animal production systems. An Advisory Council including NCA&TSU CEP faculty and staff, existing farmers on CEP advisory councils, Dr. Jim Green and Dr. Ralph Noble, Chair, Department of Animal Science, will determine what enhancements are needed at the NCA&TSU farm to address the most pressing socially disadvantaged farmer issues. The Advisory Council will also serve in other areas of the grant, including educational efforts. Staff from NCA&TSU, NRCS, an independent technical practices consultant, and CEP faculty will use demonstration tours to provide educational sessions to existing and new/beginning livestock producers. Sessions, workshops, conferences, seminars and other training methods will also be used to provide hands-on assistance to farmers in developing application portfolios for USDA programs. Producer-level materials will be coordinated into notebooks (manuals) for producers and Extension personnel to utilize. An indirect impact of the proposed site is that students training at NCA&TSU will also learn sustainable agriculture livestock practices. This will result in increased educational resources for socially disadvantaged farmers as those students graduate and become part of Extension, USDA, veterinary practices and society. Evaluation will consist of attendance records of socially disadvantaged producers (compared to those invited) and surveys for individual workshops, conferences, demonstration trainings, etc. to assess 1) producer acceptance 2) increase in knowledge -short term impact and 3) intent to change production practices (indicator of potential mid to long term impact). Additional evaluation will consist of measuring soil samples on producer farms, looking at ground cover and other indicators of environmental management as well as surveys of producers to determine if changes were made that increased the profitability of their farm. Longer term impact will be assessed through follow-up surveys and farm visits.

PROGRESS: 2011/09 TO 2012/08
Target Audience: Target audiences include minority (including women) farmers and producers, especially those that are small-scale and/or limited resource. Efforts include demonstration farm development and tours, workshops, seminars, and offering travel support for these and other professional development opportunities. In addition support for existing cooperatives developed and new ones is included in the efforts for this project. Changes/Problems: Project timelines and some goals were modified with not as much depth as would have been liked (including impact evaluation) for several reasons. There was an initial delay in getting funds at the University from NIFA as well as with paperwork for hiring the Project Assistant. The process for hiring was delayed by a couple of initially unsuccessful searches. Once a Project Assistant was hired, some adjustments were needed when that person was injured on the job and had reduced duties; temporary assistance was required. In addition, one project co-PI took another position in the University, and the project PI, the only Animal Science Specialist at the University, and the other co-PI were appointed to majority administrative appointments mid-way through the project period. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Growers Schools and invited presentations/seminars (topic examples: parasite management, introduction to goat/sheep production, introduction to pasture pork and poultry production, grass fed beef and more). Demonstration site tours including topics of rotational grazing, natural resource management, value added production, marketing, and more. Farm tours (including A&T demo sites) included one event with over 60 minority and small-scale farmers from Tennessee and Alabama. Farmers indicated they increased their knowledge and would use the information on their farm. Several Field Days with a majority of producers who are socially disadvantaged were provided at the A&T demo sites with at least 80 people attending individual sessions, over 200 attending each Field Day. Pasture pork, beef cattle and sustainable goat production were highlights. Advertisement/support was provided for webinars related to farmers adopting computer training, and for various production topics (lambing, parasite control, etc.). How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Posters were provided on the program and results for Small Farm Conference and Association of Extension Administrators. Non-profit colleagues and collaborators have been beneficiaries of the project and have been providing information to their clientele. Information is provided during Extension field staff trainings as well. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Work will continue with demonstration sites, Grower's Schools and Extension field staff, even beyond the granting/funding period.

PROGRESS: 2010/09/01 TO 2011/08/31
OUTPUTS: Educational workshops, seminars and conferences have provided production information, including information for a potential new marketing cooperative made up of minority farmers (through colalborations with Operation Spring Plant). Information has been provided to agents about USDA and other sources of funding/programs for farmers and marketing cooperatives in part through demonstration site farm tours as well as Growers Schools and invited presentations. Handouts that are practical and producer-level were developed and used. Minority farmer (women-owned) sites have been identified and supported for rotational grazing of sheep and for diverse livestock production and marketing (hogs, cattle, lamb). Advisory Council members have been consulted. PARTICIPANTS: Operation Spring Plant has helped recruit and organize workshops with groups of minority farmers, including those interested in starting a marketing cooperative; Dr. Michelle Eley and Dr. Keith Baldwin at NCA&TSU CEP have provided support for the grant; other educational partners have provided assistance (serving as speakers for example) such as Dr. Ralph Noble (NCA&TSU Animal Sciences Department Chair), Casey McKissick from NC Choices and various instructors from North Carolina State University. TARGET AUDIENCES: Minority (including women) farmers. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: The timeline has shifted back some just due to delay in getting funds at the University and paperwork for hiring the Project Assistant. PARTICIPANTS: Dr. Niki Whitley, The Cooperative Extension Program at NCA&TSU - PI Dr. Michelle Eley NCA&TSU - The Cooperative Extension Program at NCA&TSU PI Operation Spring Plant - Dorathy Barker, Raymond Hawley; helped recruit minority farmers for (and also attended some) workshops, seminars and professional development opportunties. Dr. Ralph Noble - NCA&TSU Department of Animal Sciences Chair - presentations for producers/farmers Casey McKissick, NC Choices, presentations for producers/farmers, recruitment of farmers for events Various Extension Agents - assisted in farmer recruitment and organization of workshops/events; participated in professional development opportunities (livestock artificial insemination, goat management, etc.) TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences include minority (including women) farmers and producers, especially those that are small-scale and/or limited resource. Efforts include demonstration farm development and tours, workshops, seminars, and offering travel support for these and other professional development opportunities. In addition support for existing cooperatives developed and new ones is included in the efforts for this project. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

PROGRESS: 2009/09/01 TO 2010/08/31
OUTPUTS: Educational workshops, seminars and conferences have provided production information, including information for a potential new marketing cooperative made up of minority farmers (through colalborations with Operation Spring Plant). Information has been provided to agents about USDA and other sources of funding/programs for farmers and marketing cooperatives. Handouts that are practical and producer-level were developed. Minority farmer demonstration sites have been explored and a couple identified. Some members of the Advisory Council have been identified. PARTICIPANTS: Operation Spring Plant has helped recruit and organize workshops with groups of minority farmers, including those interested in starting a marketing cooperative; Dr. Michelle Eley and Dr. Keith Baldwin at NCA&TSU CEP have provided grant support; other educational partners have provided assistance (serving as speakers for example) such as Casey McKissick from NC Choices and various instructors from North Carolina State University. TARGET AUDIENCES: Minority (including women) farmers. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: The timeline has shifted back some just due to delay in getting funds at the University and paperwork for hiring the Project Assistant.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
NCXN-WHITLEY
Accession number
219414
Categories
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Education and Training
Parasites
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Commodities
Meat, Poultry, Game