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  • Much-Needed Help for Georgia's Growing Pasture-Based Dairy Industry
    Contact SSARE AC State Coordinator Tools SARE Travel Home Educational Resources From the Field Much Needed Help for Georgia s Growing Pasture Based Dairy Industry Much Needed Help for Georgia s Growing Pasture Based Dairy Industry Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Much Needed Help for Georgia s Growing Pasture Based Dairy Industry For years the rising cost of energy and feed along with tightening credit have forced droves of dairy farmers in southeastern Georgia to scale back or close shop entirely From 1997 to 2007 the industry shed an average of 1 820 cows and 47 operations per year according to USDA statistics There is a bright spot however pasture based dairies The numbers bear this out Pasture based dairies now represent more than 15 percent of the total herd in Georgia up from a mere 1 percent in 2006 While only 20 out of about 270 dairy farmers are pasture based the herd on these dairies is typically 2 4 times that of their conventional peers This growth is largely due to many farmers seeing the personal environmental and financial advantages of these systems To help pasture based dairy farmers develop and make the most of their operations University of Georgia UGA researchers are using multiple SARE grants to create a body of technical knowledge specifically for these systems The growth we re seeing in this market is an opportunity for our educators to be involved and to understand that the technical specifications for a conventional dairy are very different than for a pasture based dairy says UGA Forage Extension Specialist Dennis Hancock Hancock and his colleagues used a 2009 SARE grant to stage training tours workshops and a two day pasture based dairy summit to fill knowledge gaps in key topic areas including nutrient management rotational stocking strategies forages and economics In total these events have reached more than 200 personnel from Extension the Natural Resources Conservation Service and other agricultural support agencies In addition UGA researchers have received two other SARE grants to improve the efficiency of grazing systems through better forage selection and management and irrigation scheduling They re providing tremendous info that can really help people I wish it had been available when we got started in 1993 says Desiree Wehner who along with her husband Al operates three grazing dairies in southeastern Georgia with a combined herd of about 1 700 cows The Wehners who transitioned from a conventional system about 20 years ago allowed the UGA researchers to conduct moisture and nitrogen studies on one of their farms to better understand their pastures needs at each time of the year They have a more consistent profitable system now whereas in the past Wehner says all we ever did was try to grow as much grass as we could and sometimes we had too much sometimes not much A key outgrowth of Hancock s SARE grant was the establishment of a farmer network in Georgia northern Florida

    Original URL path: http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/From-the-Field/Much-Needed-Help-for-Georgia-s-Growing-Pasture-Based-Dairy-Industry (2016-05-01)
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  • Food Hubs: The Next Evolution in Local Markets?
    hub and it could very well be the next evolution in local markets The USDA has identified over 20 food hubs throughout the Southern region in such states as Virginia Kentucky North Carolina Florida Arkansas Alabama Mississippi Texas Tennessee and Oklahoma The latest addition to the food hub family is GrowFood Carolina based in Charleston S C With the assistance of a Southern SARE Sustainable Community Innovation Grant the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League launched the food hub in September 2011 It s the first food hub in the state Less than 10 percent of what is grown in South Carolina is consumed in the state said Sara Clow GrowFood Carolina general manager We hope to change that with GrowFood Carolina The interest was there for local foods but the one thing missing for the chefs grocery stores and farmers in bringing it all together was an actual physical location where local produce could be delivered by the farmer and distributed to area businesses Clow feels that GrowFood Carolina can make an economic impact on the Charleston community by keeping local small to mid sized farmers profitable and competitive Indeed in the short time the food hub has been operating it has helped bridge sales and marketing of local produce between a growing number of farmers some located over 120 miles away and nearly a dozen local restaurants and grocery stores In addition GrowFood Carolina serves local residents by providing fruits and vegetables to food banks The 10 000 square foot building complete with a 6 500 square foot warehouse and an 800 square foot cooler sits in an ideal location right in the middle of Charleston s food deserts yet less than a mile from the vibrant downtown waterfront and restaurant scene and easy access to major highways and interstates that connect the city to the state s coastal islands We are witnessing a 300 year revolution in South Carolina said Dana Beach executive director of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League There has been more excitement surrounding local foods and healthy eating than any environmental issue we ve ever worked with There has been an avalanche of commerce activity and as long as we have that infrastructure in place I think there s nothing that can stop it Food hubs may also be the next evolution in Georgia s agricultural industry turning the state s largest economic sector into an even larger engine of job creation and rural community revitalization With the aid of a Southern SARE Planning Grant key agricultural stakeholders in the state have joined forces to create the Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium The goals of the group are to support sustainable agriculture systems and improve rural economies and communities by collaborating to create and deliver science based information to current and future farmers students policymakers and the general public said Julia Gaskin who coordinates extension programming in sustainable agriculture at the University of Georgia One of those goals is to launch two food hubs in

    Original URL path: http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/From-the-Field/Food-Hubs-The-Next-Evolution-in-Local-Markets (2016-05-01)
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  • Experimental Farm Helps North Carolina Farmers
    Ground Newsletter Index Annual Report Join Our Mailing List Social Media Media Toolkit Southern SARE Logo Events Southern SARE Event Calendar Southern Region Cover Crops Conference National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health About Us What is Sustainable Agriculture History of SSARE Advisory Leadership Contact SSARE AC State Coordinator Tools SARE Travel Home Educational Resources From the Field Experimental Farm Helps North Carolina Farmers Experimental Farm Helps North Carolina Farmers Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Experimental Farm Helps North Carolina Farmers Specialty crop farmer Alex Hitt hesitated when a team of scientists asked him to help launch a research project Designed to test sustainable practices under the same skies and soil conditions as North Carolina s working farms the 2 100 acre experimental farm would truly be a long term commitment Major results couldn t be expected for about seven years The project would bring together myriad partners from researchers to farmers to government officials and community leaders and juggle as many viewpoints Its scope in terms of time and size was scary but our determination to go ahead brought into focus just how important we believe long term field scale systems research is recalls Hitt Today 14 years after its dedication the Center for Environmental Farming Systems CEFS has produced a wealth of field and time tested data Scientists from CEFS partnering organizations North Carolina State University North Carolina A T State University and the state department of agriculture monitor everything from weeds to disease to soil health across six different farming research units dairy pastured beef organic cropping small farm alternative swine and farming systems CEFS also offers training and market research in sustainably raised swine organic grains and community supported agriculture The birth of this large scale project wasn t easy Before operations could begin the partners spent four years hashing out details and mapping the site s widely varied farming conditions SARE supported the project from the get go Says Paul Mueller director of CEFS Farming Systems Research Unit SARE got us off the ground It bought into the systems approach early on and it continues to be a platform for systems thinking SARE has funded the farming systems unit as well as a number of graduate and faculty projects The research has been steadily yielding information nuggets For example the CEFS organic transition experiment has showed that careful weed management can generate organic soybean yields equal to conventional beans during the first year of a transition CEFS researchers also found that conservation tillage can be a way to cut back on soil erosion And rye with its allelopathic properties can help reduce the need for herbicides Mueller expects that in the next 3 4 years the research will illuminate ways to significantly reduce tillage in organic systems Nested experiments shorter term projects within the ongoing longer term efforts are used to test specific questions arising from the main research trials For example one study compared heritage turkeys

    Original URL path: http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/From-the-Field/Experimental-Farm-Helps-North-Carolina-Farmers (2016-05-01)
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  • A Toolbox of Innovations to Control Small Ruminant Parasites
    different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results A Toolbox of Innovations to Control Small Ruminant Parasites The growing ranks of ethnic groups across the South have spurred a sudden demand for specialty meats particularly goat and sheep Sales have been brisk A wrench in the works however threatens the new businesses widespread invasion of Haemonchus contortus or barber pole worm The blood sucking parasite lodges in the animals intestines causing anemia bottle jaw and eventually death if left untreated Overuse of chemical dewormers has greatly increased the worms resistance making them almost impossible to control One female can lay more than 5 000 eggs per day Thanks to funding from SARE the Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control SCSRPC was formed to research and educate farmers on alternative parasite control The consortium s scientist veterinarian and extension members developed a toolbox of affordable techniques that dramatically reduced the need for costly and increasingly ineffective chemical deworming agents A diagnostic tool called famacha is one of the consortium s important findings The tool is a chart that matches eyelid color to anemia levels an indicator of parasite infection This allows farmers to target treatment only to infected animals which in some systems has reduced use of deworming agents by 90 percent FAMACHA has become the standard in detection and costs only 10 for a card printed with the chart According to Thomas H Terrill of Fort Valley State University one of the founders and current coordinator of the consortium more than half of the charts about 11 000 have been sold in the United States It s an indication of how big a problem it is in the U S says Terrill The farmers were desperate and it s a cheap simple tool Linda Coffey a goat farmer and specialist says FAMACHA has had a great impact It reduces dewormer use thus saving money and it slows down resistance problems Just as important it allows the farmer to select breeding stock that is not anemic That strengthens the flock over time Feeding copper oxide wire particles to parasitized animals is another promising method Although reasons are unclear this reduces infection rates in lambs and kids up to 90 percent Terrill is focusing on sericea lespedeza a forage containing high amounts of tannins which dramatically reduce parasites in many types of livestock Terrill s project is one of a handful of SARE funded research projects investigating the forage including projects on an Ohio farm and at Louisiana State University Another SARE project at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is exploring high tannin grain sorghum to control parasites Terrill says there is no silver bullet for parasite control It s a combination of tools So we are moving into the next phase of trying to figure out the right anti parasitic formula for each farm For more information go to SARE s database of projects and search for LS02 143 SCSRPS LNE05 232 UMES GS07 059 and GS05 047

    Original URL path: http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/From-the-Field/A-Toolbox-of-Innovations-to-Control-Small-Ruminant-Parasites (2016-05-01)
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  • Bringing Viable Pastured Poultry to the South
    and Soil Health About Us What is Sustainable Agriculture History of SSARE Advisory Leadership Contact SSARE AC State Coordinator Tools SARE Travel Home Educational Resources From the Field Bringing Viable Pastured Poultry to the South Bringing Viable Pastured Poultry to the South Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Bringing Viable Pastured Poultry to the South YaSin Muhaimin started farming late in life after Hurricane Katrina ended his career as educator At a time when he should have been looking at retirement this urban dweller took his insurance money and bought a few rural acres to start an organic farm In a few years he went from novice to savvy farmer direct marketing vegetables and about 5 000 chickens annually He credits his rapid and successful career switch to technical assistance from two SARE state coordinators who gave Muhaimin one on one attention Also critical to his success was a SARE funded business planning toolkit for small scale poultry production It helped me analyze everything I was dealing with and helped me work through the process and determine the feasibility of doing this Muhaimin says The poultry production toolkit is one of many invaluable resources arising from three SARE grants benefiting small scale commercial poultry producers across the southern United States The projects organized by the Arkansas based nonprofit Heifer International in partnership with the National Center for Appropriate Technology NCAT and the University of Arkansas have created the first comprehensive body of educational resources and training opportunities specifically targeting small scale commercial poultry producers I would say that over time there s been more developed on small scale poultry but Heifer and NCAT thanks to SARE funding are leaders on this says Anne Fanatico a researcher on alternative poultry production who helped develop most of NCAT s poultry publications Interest in raising pastured poultry has grown significantly in recent decades because it is often an inexpensive way to add supplemental revenue and diversification to small farms especially ones with limited resources Fanatico says An experienced producer raising 1 000 birds annually a commercial flock is generally considered small until about 5 000 birds can net 3 000 according to a University of Wisconsin study The Muhaimin family earns 12 000 yearly from their chickens and they plan to quadruple the operation over time The SARE funded projects began with hands on training for more than 200 families and 39 educators Project leaders then developed educational materials on a wide range of topics including business planning breed selection nutrition and processing Most recently they have aggregated dozens of resources at an NCAT Web page including multimedia and Spanish language offerings and provided intensive training to more than 100 county extension agents and other educators from across the South many of whom are now helping local farmers manage small scale poultry operations The projects have made particularly important contributions to understanding the technical safety and regulatory aspects of meat processing Depending on local laws producers can

    Original URL path: http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/From-the-Field/Bringing-Viable-Pastured-Poultry-to-the-South (2016-05-01)
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  • Farmer/Researcher Team Makes Organic Peanut Breakthrough
    and Media Press Releases Common Ground Newsletter Index Annual Report Join Our Mailing List Social Media Media Toolkit Southern SARE Logo Events Southern SARE Event Calendar Southern Region Cover Crops Conference National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health About Us What is Sustainable Agriculture History of SSARE Advisory Leadership Contact SSARE AC State Coordinator Tools SARE Travel Home Educational Resources From the Field Farmer Researcher Team Makes Organic Peanut Breakthrough Farmer Researcher Team Makes Organic Peanut Breakthrough Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Farmer Researcher Team Makes Organic Peanut Breakthrough In 2007 Georgia organic grower Relinda Walker produced a historic crop of peanuts The bounty 6 000 pounds grown on two acres was significant because it represented the first crop of certified organic peanuts raised in the Southeast Even though the Southeast produces 79 percent of the country s peanuts more than 99 percent of organic varieties are raised in Southwestern states Recognizing that Southeastern growers are missing out on a lucrative market Mark Boudreau of Hebert Green Agroecology in Asheville N C assembled a team of researchers and growers including Walker to focus on carving out an organic peanut industry for the region The demand is high and the price is premium says Boudreau whose work has been funded by two SARE grants Most processers pay twice as much for organic peanuts and I ve seen it as high as five times as much Since beginning their multi state research in 2005 the team has made important strides toward overcoming the weed disease and insect problems associated with organic peanuts They are problems farmers do not generally face in the Southwest where the climate is drier In its first three years of trials the group found it could significantly reduce insect problems and post emergence diseases But weeds seed rot and poor stand development have emerged as persistent problems according to Boudreau They are caused primarily by the region s wet growing conditions a short planting window and a lack of the right seeds If your peanuts aren t up and running quickly then they aren t going to compete with the weeds he says Boudreau s team is now focused on determining what organic seed treatments and planting conditions are ideal for rapid early growth and stand establishment as well as outlining successful weed management strategies The team includes agronomists plant pathologists weed scientists and others based in Georgia North Carolina and South Carolina Along with building up a strong stand cultivating with a tine weeder is emerging as the best weed control strategy according to Carroll Johnson a USDA Agricultural Research Service weed scientist involved with the project Another major hurdle involves the lack of regional infrastructure to handle a large organic crop For example there are no organic peanut shellers in the Southeast When enough conventional and smallscale growers begin to appreciate the economic value of a local organic industry then many infrastructure issues will get resolved says Carroll

    Original URL path: http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/From-the-Field/Farmer-Researcher-Team-Makes-Organic-Peanut-Breakthrough (2016-05-01)
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  • Helping Appalachian Farmers Tap New Markets
    Annual Report Join Our Mailing List Social Media Media Toolkit Southern SARE Logo Events Southern SARE Event Calendar Southern Region Cover Crops Conference National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health About Us What is Sustainable Agriculture History of SSARE Advisory Leadership Contact SSARE AC State Coordinator Tools SARE Travel Home Educational Resources From the Field Helping Appalachian Farmers Tap New Markets Helping Appalachian Farmers Tap New Markets Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Helping Appalachian Farmers Tap New Markets Gary and Cindy Laws journey to successful organic farming started in the tobacco fields of western Virginia s hill country Both raised on tobacco farms they saw the crop s pitfalls firsthand a declining market health risks associated with smoking and most importantly to the Laws the myriad chemicals used in tobacco production But like hundreds of other farmers in Appalachia interested in tapping the organic market the Laws family needed help learning new methods That is where Appalachian Sustainable Development ASD came in an innovative rural development nonprofit that helps about 100 former tobacco growers and others make a living off sustainably grown food Now the Laws family sells produce grown on four acres to local and regional grocery stores under the Appalachian Harvest label an ASD organic marketing program that receives SARE support Don Kiser another Appalachian Harvest grower added 6 000 to his family s income in 2008 by growing organic bell peppers on a quarter acre Along with technical help fellow program members shared equipment with him keeping his costs low That was something very refreshing about ASD they recognize that if you don t at least make a little money on it you can t keep it up says Kiser This is one of ASD s key premises Families in the economically depressed region of western Virginia and eastern Tennessee must have an alternative to tobacco production that benefits not only the environment but also profits So they turned to certified organics an industry worth 1 7 billion in 2007 according to the USDA Appalachian Harvest one of ASD s two signature field to table programs removes two major barriers for growers who want to sell organic produce locally the lack of value adding infrastructure and access to local markets says ASD Executive Director Anthony Flaccavento Along with technical assistance Appalachian Harvest handles every aspect of marketing from processing and transportation to contracting with area supermarkets to public outreach ASD s other field to table program Sustainable Woods involves buying trees from landowners who practice ecological forest management and processing the wood into high end furniture that is sold regionally ASD owns a sawmill and through Sustainable Woods pays loggers 20 30 percent more for their trees than other processers would ASD has received two SARE grants over the years one in 1999 to recruit interested growers and conduct an educational campaign laying the foundation for a local organics market and another in 2008 to expand Appalachian Harvest Appalachian

    Original URL path: http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/From-the-Field/Helping-Appalachian-Farmers-Tap-New-Markets (2016-05-01)
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  • Chefs A'Field
    Ag Coordinators Funded Grants in Your State Fellows Search for Excellence Programs Educational Resources Books Bulletins Courses and Curricula Fact Sheets From the Field Multimedia Newsletters SARE Project Products SSARE Snapshots SARE Biennial Reports SANET SARE Program Materials Topic Rooms News and Media Press Releases Common Ground Newsletter Index Annual Report Join Our Mailing List Social Media Media Toolkit Southern SARE Logo Events Southern SARE Event Calendar Southern Region Cover Crops Conference National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health About Us What is Sustainable Agriculture History of SSARE Advisory Leadership Contact SSARE AC State Coordinator Tools SARE Travel Home Educational Resources Multimedia Chefs A Field Chefs A Field Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Chefs A Field Chefs A Field is a multi season nationally distributed television series that explores the critical relationship between great chefs and local farmers The award winning public television program features the talents of the nation s most acclaimed chefs and the farmers who supply them with ultra fresh ingredients that are superior in taste nutrition and cost The half hour programs were partly supported by SARE Now in its fourth season the program goes beyond the standard cooking show Travel along as chefs go from kitchen to farm and back again selecting seasonal sustainable ingredients for a dish they later prepare As part of their process we learn how vital farmer chef relationships support farmers and local economies and ensure responsible environmentally sound farming Chefs A Field was awarded the 2004 James Beard Foundation Award for best national television cooking show and the 2004 CINE Golden Eagle Award The CINE Golden Eagle Awards recognizes excellence in film and television and are renowned internationally as symbols of the highest production standards in filmmaking This educational program has been

    Original URL path: http://www.southernsare.org/Educational-Resources/Multimedia/Chefs-A-Field (2016-05-01)
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