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.
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 (email@example.com).
Alternatively, producers can also contact Dr. A by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further
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.
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
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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.
Extension Entomologist &
Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator
Regional Extension Agent
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