SARE has awarded numerous grants in every state and Island Protectorate. Aimed at advancing sustainable innovations, these grants add up to an impressive portfolio of sustainable agriculture efforts across the nation. Read more in the following grant portfolio summary and detailed grants list for Alabama.
- Alabama Competitive Grant Portfolio Summary (pdf) The portfolio summary for each state includes one project highlight, a breakdown of funding by SARE project type, and the total funding for the state since 1988. This is a colorful 2-pager in PDF format that can be printed and distributed.
- Competitive Grants List (pdf) The grants list describes each grant in the state by title, project leader and funding level. For further information about any grant in the list, go to SARE Projects and search by the project number or title.
The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is a professional development program sponsored by the Southern Region SARE and co-coordinated by Auburn University, Tuskegee University, and Alabama A&M. We work together to deliver a program that enhances the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of the state through research and education. Alabama SARE partners with researchers, extension faculty, producers, and community organizations to research and implement the best science-based practices available in all aspects of Alabama's agricultural system. In addition to research, SARE is dedicated to providing education in sustainable agriculture through various trainings offered each year.
2013 Outputs and Outcomes
Prepared by State Coordinator Ayanava Majumdar, Auburn University
The SARE program at Auburn University was initiated in 2012 with a new plan of work that emphasized training new producers on vegetable production practices and integrated pest management techniques.
The Commercial Horticulture Extension Team established the Organic/Small Farms Program as a statewide initiative. The program is a three-tiered training process for new (and experienced) specialty crop producers. The training levels consist of short presentations, in-depth workshops, and field demonstrations focusing on improved vegetable production, irrigation, and pest management tactics.
Since 2012, there has been a 40 percent increase in the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tactics on small farms - some of this could be due to better awareness of alternative pest management practices and improved feedback. Many new and beginning farmers with less than 4 acres in vegetable and fruit production participate in the training program.
Over 50 percent of producers use ACES publications and promotional materials while looking for additional information online. Over 47 percent of new producers use the IPM newsletter for learning about pest outbreaks and over 60 percent attend Extension events after reading it in the newsletter.
According to the results of an ACES Cooperative Extension survey, overall satisfaction from Extension trainings was 85 percent, with nearly 100 percent recommending Extension training to their colleagues.
The program sees about 50 percent repeat audiences at the various events meaning that there is a strong demand for continuous training. Alabama Cooperative Extension has reached nearly 900 new producers a year through the training programs.
SARE is recognized at all events, and promoted through various educational efforts, including banners, displays, and educational materials. A stakeholder impact video was developed in 2013, acknowledging support of the SARE program.
Alabama SARE Trainings
Intensive Vegetable Production Training for New Producers
Alabama has several new producers that have small acres and wish to produce high value crops in most economical and environmental friendly manner. This initiative trains producers in basic vegetable production, irrigation, and marketing techniques.
Objectives include: 1.) Provide educational opportunities to new producers with hands-on training; 2.) Improve economic sustainability of small farmers; 3.) Provide continuous training opportunities to experienced producers who can get certified and scale up their operations.
Nine vegetable production hands-on workshops with field tours and demonstration plots for organic/small farms were conducted. Extension specialists documented an average of 38 percent to 50 percent change in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) knowledge from attendees after conducting the meetings.
Intensive Vegetable Insect Pest Management Training to Small Producers
This initiative aims at training organic/small farms in managing critical insect pests in vegetable crops.
Objectives include: 1.) Educating producers about the three-tiered pest management approach in sustainable agriculture; 2.) Demonstrating to producers various alternative pest management tactics in the field to promote rapid adoption of technology; 3.) Providing rapid response to pest outbreaks and minimizing crop losses.
Nine field events were conducted in 2012-2013. Producers were educated on alternative pest management tactics at all levels, including cultural control tactics, mechanical practices, and alternative insecticides. Producers scouted various crops and reported back their findings after working in groups.
Certified Horticultural Retailer (CHR) Program
The Certified Horticultural Retailer (CHR) Program was launched in 2013. The initiative aims at educating and exposing small retail storeowners to scientific information through intensive horticultural training with emphasis on sustainable agriculture. This is part of the overall goal to create an infrastructure for organic/small farmers that will help them access new products and technologies through small retailers.
Five trainings have been completed across Alabama and 12 businesses have been educated using a standardized curricula consisting of publications, hands-on activities, and promotional materials. Satisfaction rating is over 90 percent among participants. This program is filling a gap by extending the sustainable agriculture program to a niche audience.