SARE Professional Development Program Annual Report for Oregon
January 1-December 31, 2013
State SARE Co-Coordinators:
Summary of 2013 PDP Activities and Results
For 2013, the Oregon SARE PDP program had four primary areas of focus, which included funding the 2013 Oregon Small Farms Conference; Investing Through a Pest and Beneficial Insect Train-the-Trainer Short Course; North Willamette Horticulture Society Annual Meetings; Engaging Oregon Agricultural Professionals in Organic Farms Systems Soil and Pest Management Learning. These programs are part of the Oregon PDP focus of encourage long-term changes in the use of sustainable agricultural practices by providing yearly funding for a three-year period. This was the first year of a three year project funding cycle.
Context and Overview
In 2010, the Oregon SARE PDP program began to focus more on longer term and sustainable results. The Oregon SARE PDP program is now providing mini grants on a three-year basis (contingent upon Western SARE funding) to encourage longer term projects. In the fall of 2009, the Oregon SARE PDP program selected the first five projects for three year funding, which were completed in 2012. In fall 2012, we selected the proposals for the next three year cycle, which included four mini-grants. This report reflects the impacts from the first year of this current three year cycle. We feel the use of three-year funding cycles is the best way to leverage limited SARE funding and provide educators with a long enough funding stream to achieve sustainable results.
Activities and Methods
1. 2013 Oregon Small Farms Program
2013 marked the 13th year the OSU Small Farms Conference has taken place. The conference goal is to instruct, challenge and inspire. Attendees enjoyed a full day of plenary and 21 concurrent sessions and an elaborate locally sourced lunch. The registration fee of $45 is heavily subsidized by grants and sponsorships, including the Western SARE mini-grant.
The conference’s focus was three-fold:
- Scale-appropriate sustainable production practices for beginner, limited resource, and traditionally underserved small-scale commercial farmers;
- Scale-appropriate viable alternative marketing channels for the same group; and
- Business and policy information for famers and food and nutrition advocates.
The conference offered 21 concurrent sessions on topics including soil assessment, crop production, marketing, access to land and capital, navigating regulations, farmer’s market management, and more. The plenary session included a panel of Oregon authors of the recently published book Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmer Movement. College of Agricultural Sciences Dean, Dan Arp, offered a welcome and introduced the plenary panel and moderator. We again offered simultaneous spanish language translation for selected sessions. Participants had the opportunity to socialize after the conference at the Greenhorns/Grayhorns Mixer at the nearby Mary’s River Grange Hall.
Attendance for the conference has grown steadily in recent years and has reached the limit of the facilities. Efforts were made for the 2013 conference to keep attendance below 800. Total attendance was 785. The profile of attendees indicates we are reaching groups we specifically target:
- 28% agriculture professions (university, federal/state agency staff, food and farm non-profit staff, market management)
- 72% farmers (69% farmers, 3% aspiring farmers)
Attendees offered a high overall rating for the conference:
- Average rating = 4.1 (scale of 1 to 5 with 1=poor and 5=excellent)
- 75% rated the conference at a 4 or 5 (equivalent to a range of grade B+ to A).
And, indicated that they enhanced their knowledge of small farm issues and opportunities:
- Average rating = 3.8
- 67% rated the conference at a 4 or 5 (equivalent to a range of grade B+ to A).
Attendees offered 135 comments on concepts/ideas they learned and will apply. Here is a sample:
- “I will use the soil assessment in my orchard as part of a fertility program.”
- “Record keeping techniques, getting a soil test, and increasing my use of cover crops.”
- “We learned how to better manage our pastures and improve feed for our animals.”
- “Use of paddocks and not over-grazing pastures!”
- “Better record keeping, better soil management.”
- “The use of dispersed flowering plants and trap crops in my vegetable production. Timing of row cover to prevent root crop pests, I thought that was really helpful.”
- “La composta, la higiene en todos los ambitos de produccion de alimentos, y EL apego a la ley.”
- “We will be signing up to accept SNAP payments; will plant more flowers intermixed will ask our extension agent about using the Visual Soil assessment & how to use the results.”
- “How to plan for planting, ideas for pest and weed management, sowing and saving seeds.”
Total expenses for the SFC were more than $80,000. This figure includes the coordination salaries, and costs associated with administrative support funded by Benton County. It does not include salaries for Small Farms and other faculty who managed the conference and conducted outreach and education activities at the conference.
Conference sponsors for 2012 were:
- Oregon Department of Agriculture
- Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
- USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
- Oregon Farmers Market Association
The Small Farms team relies on external sponsorships, grants, and funds from for-profit vendors at the event to maintain the conference’s affordability for our very price-point sensitive target audience. The $4,000 in Western SARE mini-grant funds for 2012 was applied to speaker honoraria to subsidize travel and time for conference speakers. The low registration fee of $45 per person or $80 for two from the same farm is possible in part through Western SARE mini-grant funds.
2. Engaging Oregon Agriculture Professionals in Organic Farm Systems Soil and Pest Management Learning)
Two workshops were held for this project. The first was a workshop for ag professionals and farmers and the second was a workshop solely for ag professionals. The ag professionals attending the workshops included: Doug O’Brien, O’Brien Ag Consultants; Bryan Tilt, Ed Peachey, Amy Garrett, Chip Bubl, Jessica Green, Nick Andrews, Lauren Gwin, Helen Atthowe, Alex Stone, OSU; Chris Philips, WSU.
In this project, they evaluated strategies for how to best use information generated by a Western SARE R&E Project (Integrating Research and Practice in Systems Management of Organic Vegetable Farms) to support ag professional learning about systems soil and pest management strategies on organic farms. The first workshop (winter) targeted systems nutrient management and the second workshop (summer) was focused on aphid management in Brussels sprouts.
In the first workshop, participants became more aware of the different approaches to organic nutrient management (replacement, sufficiency, balancing). Participants designed an on-farm field trial that tested these approaches to nutrient management: In the second workshop participants learned how to monitor for aphids and beneficial insects that suppress aphids. Participants stated that they became more aware that it was possible to plant specific beneficial insect attracting plants and those could reduce aphid damage in nearby crops.
Nick Andrews and Alex Stone are working together with farmers who attended the workshops to evaluate Brussels sprouts varieties and Phacelia (as beneficial insect habitat) for suppression of aphids in Brussels sprouts in on-farm demonstration plots and research station trials.
A total of twelve agricultural professionals participated in this program. Partners and collaborators included Nick Andrews and Helen Atthowe, Oregon State University.
Total funding received from the Oregon SARE PDP program and other contributions: $3650
3. North Willamette Horticulture Society 2013
In 2013 the North Willamette Horticulture Society developed their first website with general information about the society, program and registration information, and slides from meeting presentations. The complete 2013 program agenda for the Organic Crops Section is shown below. Heather Havens (Concentrates, Inc.) served as Chairperson. Ted Radovich from the University of Hawaii was the invited Western SARE Sustainable Agriculture speaker. He addressed “Genetic and Environmental Factors Influencing Vegetable Flavor and Human Health Potential.” Carol Miles from Washington State University was also invited from out of state to discuss “High Profits Under High Tunnels?”
At the annual Society meeting during the Vegetable Section, new Board members were elected for 2014, see table below. Oregon Tilth certified organic grower Anne Berblinger (Gales Meadow Farm) was elected to the Board. In response to a request from Clackamas Community College Horticulture instructor Renee Harber, the Society offered reduced registration fees for students on a pilot basis. At the follow-up meeting, the Board voted to make this change permanent.
|Henry Heiser||President||Board appointee||2014|
|Frank Battilega||Treasurer||Board appointee|
|Nick Andrews||Secretary||Board appointee|
|Anne Berblinger||Chairperson (org)||2013||2013-2016|
|Ryan Fowler||Chairperson (veg)||2013||2013-2016|
|Mike Erbe||Chairperson (berry)||2013||2013-2016|
|Heather Havens||Board member (org)||2012||2012-2015|
|Jed White||Board member (veg)||2012||2012-2015|
|Henry Heiser||Board member (berry)||2012||2012-2015|
|Michelle Armstrong||Board member (org)||2011||2011-2014|
|Matt Battilega||Board member (veg)||2011||2011-2014|
|Matt Unger||Board member (berry)||2011||2011-2014|
|Joe Beaudoin||Board member (berry)||2009||2009-2014|
Attendance at the meeting remains strong, with 164 participants in 2013, see table below. Many participants attend more than one day of the meeting, 63% of the members attending the meeting attended the 2013 Organic Crops Section.
The Organic Crops Section continues to draw considerable interest from the farming community in NW Oregon and SW Washington.
Organic Crops Section
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
|8:30||Welcome and Announcements - Paul Borgen, President, NWHS|
|8:50||Door Prizes - Session Chairperson, Heather Havens|
|9:00||*Exploring Pest Management through Crop Rotation and Habitat Development: Case Studies - Alex Stone, Extension Vegetable Specialist OSU, Corvallis|
|9:50||NRCS Organic EQIP - Todd Peplin, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Portland, OR|
|10:00||Exhibitor Break & Door Prizes|
|10:30||Vegetable Taste Tests and Chef Preferences - Lane Selman, OSU Extension, Corvallis, OR; Jaret Foster, Senior Market Manager, Portland Farmer’s Market, Portland, OR; Scott Dolich, Chef and Owner, Park Kitchen and The Bent Brick, Portland, OR|
|11:10||Genetic and Environmental Factors Influencing Vegetable Flavor and Human Health Potential - Ted Radovich, Sustainable and Organic Farming Systems Laboratory, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI|
Buffet Luncheon in Exhibitor Pavilion, serving Pasta Bar.
Door Prizes before and after lunch.
*Recognizing and Managing Pest and Benefici
al Insects in Berries and Vegetables
Paul Jepson, Director, OSU Integrated Plant Protection Center, Corvallis, OR
High Profits Under High Tunnels?
Carol Miles, WSU Extension Vegetable Specialist, Mt. Vernon, WA
Managing Aspiring Farmers in Your Workforce
Anne Berblinger, Gales Meadow Farm, Gales Creek, OR; Bob Egger, The Pumpkin Patch, Portland, OR; Laura Masterson, 47th Ave Farm, Portland, OR
Food Safety Training Program Announcement
Philip Gütt, Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, Corvallis OR
|4:00||Door Prizes and Adjourn. Please Visit the Exhibitor Pavilion|
|*2 hours of pesticide re-certification credit are available.|
4. Investing Through a Pest and Beneficial Insect Train-the-Trainer Short Course
This program focused on a beneficial insect train-the-trainer short course for professionals. They delivered one workshop (25% of the pests/beneficials was specific crop related: e.g. potatoes, onions, wheat and corn). Participants attended the four-hour class and participated fully in the course activities (lecture and hands-on). Preference was given to participants with basic knowledge on insects. Participants participated in a pre- and post-survey (see results below). After completion of the course, participants are expected to provide 10 service hours each in return for their training.
They created a short course syllabus (each session is one hour) - concurrent sessions
- Session 1: Insect beneficials and pests in small grains: identification, time present in crop, identification and pinning insect specimens
- Session 2: Insect beneficials and pests in potatoes: identification, time present in crop, identification and pinning insect specimens
Each year of the three year project, insect topics will be modifying according to emerging needs in the region.
A survey was conducted pre- and post- at the short course with the following results. There is a clear pattern of increased knowledge and awareness of insects following the training. However, the major comment was the need for a longer course.
|Rate your knowledge of basic insect ID and morphology:|
|Pre - 2.8/6|
|Post - 3.9/6|
|Rate your ability to count and mount insects:|
|Pre - 2.5/6|
|Post - 3.9/6|
|Rate your knowledge of new insect pests:|
|Pre - 2.5/6|
|Post - 3.8/6|
|Rate your knowledge of IPM:|
|Pre - 3.7/6|
|Post - 4.2/6|
|Rate your confidence in sharing insect knowledge with others in your community/work place:|
|Pre - 2.9/6|
|Post - 3.9/6|
They will do a follow-up survey in 9-12 months to assess long-term changes in behavior of the 20 participants registered and attended the workshop.
Program collaborators included: MaryCorp, Regional Leader, Oregon State University Extension (OSUE) Service, Pendleton, Oregon; Steve Van Vleet, WSU-Regional Extension Specialist, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Colfax, Washington; Stuart Reitz, OSUE Service, Malheur County, OR; Silvia I Rondon, OSUE Service, Extension Entomologist Specialist, Hermiston, OR.
They received from the Oregon SARE PDP program and other contributions = $6,500 per year (three year grant). A registration fee on $50 dollar was applied. Dollars will be used towards future workshops.
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products
Small Farms materials can be found on the OSU Small Farms website. The Northwest Horticulture Society presentations are posted. The Investing Through a Pest and Beneficial Insect Train-the-Trainer Short Course created individual syllabus for each of the two sessions.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation
We do have an Oregon SARE PDP Advisory Committee which is made up of OSU Extension faculty (Agents, Specialists and Program Leaders). We did meet formally in late 2012 to select projects to be funded in the 2013-15 three year cycle and chose four mini-grant projects to be funded. We do communicate with our Oregon SARE PDP Program Advisory Committee by email as needed.