2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Provide fundamental tools for beginning farmers in sustainable agriculture. We will focus on the Southern Region, but our goal is to have a nation-wide impact. We will develop comprehensive training materials and outreach. Our objectives are:
1. Develop modular training material on integrated natural livestock and agroforestry systems, including specialized material for Hispanic immigrants and returning veterans.
2. Develop demonstration farm with integrated natural livestock and agroforestry systems for experiential learning.
3. Develop training components including workshops and internships, including specialized training for Hispanics and veterans.
4. Develop networks and custom mentoring on natural livestock/agroforestry production and marketing.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
We will develop on-line modular outreach/training materials on integrated natural livestock and agroforestry systems, including specialized material for Hispanic immigrants and returning veterans. The materials will be designed to be used in many ways: electronic self-study, formal educational curricula including:
Whole farm planning: We will include material on feasibility and business planning, marketing, budgeting that beginning farmers can customize to their own individual agricultural enterprise. Legal issues such as licenses, contracts, ownership, liability, and contract issues will also be included.
Natural livestock farming practices and agroforestry: We plan to include different modules that will cover basic grass farming practices such as: soil fertility and management, forage production, parasites, nutrition, pasture establishment, grazing management (rotational vs. continuous), watering systems. We will develop specific modules that cover sustainable livestock production, sheep and goat production (meat, milk, fiber), alternative pasture-based poultry production, as well as small-scale woodlot and agroforestry practices. Methods specific to certified organic production will be developed, including natural health management and organic feeds. As an integral part of our project we plan to develop a demonstration farm as a mean to provide beginning farmers and ranchers with a physical site to observe and perform concrete activities related to the planning, development, management, and maintenance of a whole farm agricultural enterprise. The farm will be located at the USDA, ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, AR, with a smaller hands-on project for poultry in Fayetteville.
This project is in its early stages. Interns are being identified who may be suitable to learn new farming techniques in a small farms environment working with sheep, goats, cattle, agroforestry, or biofuel production.