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Training Conference to Develop Certification Inspectors to Enable Organic Agriculture on Guam and the American Affiliated Pacific

Investigators
Barber, Robert
Institutions
University of Guam
Start date
2009
End date
2011
Objective
Our long-term goal is to develop and implement an organic agriculture certification program in Guam and neighboring American affiliated Pacific island nations. The cost of bringing in organic certification inspectors who are distant from Guam currently makes the cost of organic certification prohibitive, especially for small producers or those newly entering their niche market. Bringing inspectors to Guam is a major expense due to the high costs of travel.

Certification costs can be reduced by training local inspectors from a variety of USDA accredited agencies. Training and certifying local inspectors is the first step, and primary goal of this project, toward the long-term goal of establishing a local certification program.

The proposed project is a critical need. At the present, no USDA certified programs in organic agriculture production exist in the American Affiliated Western Pacific. There is a strong interest in organic production among local producers, retailers and agricultural professionals for the following reasons: Strong desire to use local renewable inputs, desire for alternatives to pesticides, and the marketing advantage conveyed by the USDA organic inspectors in the region.

The proposed project will have supporting outreach objectives to increase the number of local producers and agriculturists in the region who would have knowledge of USDA organic agriculture certification program and to increase the number of producers who would implement organic farming practices.

More information
Non-Technical Summary: The proposed project will offer conference and pre-conference workshops on organic-based agriculture for stakeholders critically needing to know about the organic agriculture certification program in Guam and American affiliated Pacific island nations. During the pre-conference workshops (2nd-7th month of the project), participants will review basic agricultural subjects including horticulture, soil management, animal production, aquaculture, pest management, marketing and agricultural business with an emphasis on using organic agriculture practices. A one-week Organic Agriculture Certification Conference during the 8th month of the project will be held by certified trainers from the Independent Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) to train participants and to conduct the Organic Agriculture Certification Exam at the end of the conference. A short-term goal of the proposed conference project will be production of local certified personnel in Guam. Mid-term and long-term goals of the project will be initiation of commercial organic farms, and development and implementation of a sustainable organic agriculture certification program in this region.

Approach: 1. Description of activities: There will be three phases in the proposed project. Phase I. Preparation period (Months 1-7 of the project): Prior to the one-week Organic Agriculture Certification Conference, that will be conducted by certified trainers from the Independent Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA), personnel of University of Guam Cooperative Extension (Bob Barber) and Agricultural Experiment Station (Mari Marutani and James McConnell) will develop/revise educational materials, offer a workshop, seminar and field activities to teach the basic concepts of organic agriculture to staff members of Guam Department of Agriculture and other local and neighbor island stakeholders who wish to take Organic Agriculture Certification Exam. There will be four (4) steps in the preparation period. Step 1: Planning -- PDs (Barber, Marutani & McConnell) will select topics and guest instructors to review the basic subjects: horticulture, soil management, animal production, aquaculture, pest management, marketing and agricultural business related to organic agriculture practices.. PDs will communicate with IOIA trainers to obtain major topics and emphases that Organic Agriculture Certification examinees should know about. Step 2: Selection of participants and assessment plan -- The collaborator (P. Bassler) will identify participants from the Guam Department of Agriculture for this training project. PDs will contact others (agricultural professionals and other stakeholders) who would like to participate in the proposed project. We will accept 20 participants in the program. PDs and a part-time project assistant will prepare pre-test/post-test questions on general agriculture that will be covered during the preparation period. Step 3: Preparation of educational materials -- PDs and a part-time project assistant will prepare handouts/study guide to be used by participants. Step 4: Pre-conference workshop - PDs and a part-time project assistant will coordinate and offer a workshop to participants. We will invite guest lecturers in the area of expertise, when available. A series of workshop, seminar and field activities will be offered to participants. One of the goals of participants will be to develop an organic farm implementation plan of their own. a. Meet with participants and conduct pre-test, assess knowledge levels b. Workshop, seminar, and field activities c. Participants to develop an organic farm implementation plan d. Conduct post-test Phase II. Organic Agriculture Certification Conference and Exam (Month 8 of the project): We fund two trainers from IOIA to offer a one-week conference. PD (Barber) will contact and coordinate with the IOIA trainers to offer the conference. A project assistant will prepare handouts regarding the schedule and other pertinent information about the conference, and contact with participants to the conference. Phase III. Post-conference review (Months of 9-12 of the project) a. Revision of Educational materials -- The revised materials will be distributed to participants for their future reference and will be used as outreach educational materials at the Guam Cooperative Extension Service.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
GUAN-2009-01346
Accession number
218749
Categories
Education and Training
Chemical Contaminants