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Commercial Horticulture > Comm Hort Blog > Posts > Big News for Alabama Small Farms

For many years, Alabama was being ranked at the bottom when it came to production levels in sustainable agriculture and organic small farms since we did not have a consistent commercial vegetable production education program for a long time. Alabama small producers needed up-to-date pest management information and constant training for preventing significant yield losses. Early grants (since 2009) from the Organic Agriculture Research and Education Initiative, Extension IPM, and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, we were able to create an IPM educational campaign and take it every part of the state. Regional Extension Agents and County Extension Coordinators worked hard to organize training events, distribute training materials, and spread the word. With this solid start, Alabama is on the path to increasing fruit and vegetable production on small farms. Impacts of the first five years of the IPM project have been tremendous, but there is more good news!

In 2015, the Alabama Extension Vegetable IPM program got a major funding from the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program to create and sustain a statewide educational infrastructure, develop electronic and print publications, and producer networks in cooperation with nonprofit and producer organizations. This funding lays special emphasis on the training of low resource farmers in underserved communities and military veterans interested in specialty crop production. We are especially thankful to the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission and the Department of Veteran Affairs for participating in this project as collaborators. With tremendous team work and collaboration, we have just released the Alabama Beginning Farms website that will contain a wealth of useful information; visit www.aces.edu/beginningfarms. Information on the website includes quick access to beginning farm publications, training videos, and online resources offered by Extension and our collaborators. We are in the process of developing an electronic curriculum for producers that will provide basic and advanced self-paced learning opportunities on crop production, pest management, business development, food safety and marketing topics. Producers will be required to create a one-time login so that individuals can monitor their progress and fully benefit with online training – it will be almost like watching Netflix for Farmers! Don’t delay – bookmark the Alabama Beginning Farms website today.

Producers seeking individualized assistance from Technical Assistance Providers (two positions funded by the BFRD grant) regarding business development and marketing plan, should contact Jayme Oates of Farmscape Solutions (jayme@farmscapesolutions.com). Alternatively, producers can also contact Dr. A by email (bugdoctor@auburn.edu) for further information.   

New Alabama Vegetable IPM website content: We have recently upgraded the vegetable IPM website with an easy web address – bookmark www.aces.edu/vegetableipm today. Since online videos seem to be a very popular source of information for producers looking for information, we have added many new IPM videos to the website. New training modules online include trap crops for yellowmargined leaf beetle management, trap cropping for squash insect pests and high tunnel pest exclusion system as a new IPM strategy. Many of our IPM videos include producer testimonials that make the videos more convincing. These videos are suitable for basic and advanced level producers and gardeners. 

AL beginning farms website2015.jpg


The 2015 Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Tradeshow, that recently took place at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center, was a huge success with over 220 participants attending. The farm tours were overbooked and tradeshow floor was very crowded! The next AFVG conference will be again in Clanton on November 17 and 18, 2016. For more information, keep checking the AFVGA website (www.afvga.aces.edu) from time to time or contact Jackie Cooper, Executive Secretary, by calling 334-728-4117.

Happy Holidays to all readers!

Website: www.aces.edu/counties/baldwin

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Baldwin-County-Alabama-Extension -Office/322367574484631

Email address: azm0024@auburn.edu

Phone: 937-7176 or 943-5061, ext. 2222

 

Baldwin County Extension Programs are supported by the Baldwin County Commission.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

 

Ayanava Majumdar

Extension Entomologist & Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator


James Miles

 Regional Extension Agent

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