2009 National Extension Risk Management Educational Conference Presented by: Okarsamaa B. White, UMCP Berran Rogers, UMES INNOVATIVE APPROACHES FOR MEETING THE NEEDS OF UNDERSERVED FARMERS IN MARYLAND Equal Opportunity Employer Equal Access Programs
Objectives • Introduce Maryland audience not vested in traditional extension service • Discuss innovative methods used to effectively reach underserved audience • Present collaborative efforts among the Land Grant Institutions and partners.
Project Overview • Small Farm Outreach Initiative goal is... To improve the economic and social well-being of small-scale, limited resource farmers, including socially disadvantaged farmers, by providing educational programs that enhance their farm management skills and increase their access to and participation in USDA farm programs.
Target Audiences • Limited-Resource (Small-scale) • Socially Disadvantaged • Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc... • Female Producers
Target Audiences (New) • New Immigrant Entrepreneurs • NIFI Definition • Immigrants and refugees who aspire to have a farm business or are currently farming for the social and economic benefit of their family and the community • Immigrant Farmers’ Needs • Basic and additional agricultural training • Introduction to the U.S. culture and institutions • Inputs and output knowledge • Network and collaborative strategy • Farm Landowners • Niche Farmers
Project Area Core Areas MD: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, Howard, Montgomery , St. Mary’s, Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester Fringe Area VA: Accomack, Northampton Fringe Areas MD: Talbot, Queen Anne’s and Kent
Agriculture Production Mid-Shore: Small Grains, Pastures, Hay, Some livestock, poultry Southern Maryland: Vegetables, Small Ruminants, Ethnic Vegetables, Some tobacco, Lower Shore (MD & VA) Vegetable Crops, Poultry, Seafood,
Reaching Underserved Audiences can be difficult because…. • Existing database(s) out-of-date • Harder to reach • Disengaged from mainstream services • Require more time and investment to build trust and confidence in the service • Barriers and stigmas need to be broken down or changed
Strategies In Reaching and Meeting Needs of Underserved Audiences : • Establish working relationships with key persons/organizations in identifying clients • Conduct needs assessment to accurately identify farm issues • Understanding their daily struggles • Design programs centered around their schedule (be flexible) • Approach their needs from a holistic consideration
Traditional Methods Direct Mailing (leaflets, newsletters, etc…) Farm Visits and Phone Calls Informational Brochures Local Newspapers, radio, and other media Exhibit Displays at local venues (Ag fairs, community events, etc..) Informational materials at public facilities, Ag businesses Informational Meetings Churches and Civic organizations Outreach Approaches..... Getting the Word Out
Innovative approaches… Farmer Focus Groups Cross Interdisciplinary Community Leader Involvement Hands-on, Demonstrations and Seminars Field Tours and Field Day Website / Internet Email Churches and civic organizations Outreach Approaches..... Getting the Word Out
Handout Materials Telephone Calls One-on-One Visits Demonstration Trials
The main reasons why these outreach approaches are effective: • They are provided in an informal setting • They encourage and inspire greater participation • Promote and foster good relationships • Outreach workers are able to help customers overcome barriers • Provide a relaxed “non-threatening” atmosphere for learning about USDA Farm Programs and to ask questions
5thAnnual Small Farm Conference University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD Saturday, November 1, 2008
Exhibits, Informational Booths, etc.. Family Finance Workshop Seminars Mass Mailings
Alternative Market Workshop Small Farmers Seminar Farm Conservation Program, USDA Farm Service Agency Loans and Grant Session
Strategies Used to Meet Needs of Underserved Populations • Focus/Advisory Group Meetings • Collaboration with Local Grassroots & Community Organizations • Partnerships with local, state, government agencies • Evaluation and Client Feedback
Forestry and Conservation Tour(s) for Underserved Landowners UMES partnered with USDA-NRCS, Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources, and other agencies to conduct a Forestry and Conservation Field Tour for minority and limited-resource farmers and landowners to learn about forest management, conservation and cost-share programs available from USDA and state agencies.
Topics Addressing Farmers Issues • Family Finance (Budget Sheet) • Value Added Opportunities Partnership • NRCS - Conservation Program • Young and Beginning Farmers Grant/Loans • FSA – Loans/Youth, Conservation Programs • Alternative Marketing Updates • Direct Marketing
Southern Maryland Small Farmers Seminar Saturday, March 21, 2009 Niche Farmers and Specialty Markets USDA NRCS Workshop State, County and Non-Organizations present to farmers on various program and services available.
Leveraging Resources Across Agencies • Partnerships and cooperation among agencies are “a must” in order to leverage resources • “One stop” funding is not enough to cover all expenses involved when serving limited-resource and minority farmers • “One size fits all” programs are not suitable for audiences with unique needs • UMES, RC&D and NRCS experience
Leveraging Resources Across Agencies (Cont.) • UMES, RC&D and NRCS experience • Started in 2002 • Technical and financial assistance • USDA farm program opportunities identified • Alternative and agri-tourism opportunities identified • Information concerning limited and small farm resources shared • Additional partnerships created with government and private small farm interests
Collaborative Efforts • Maryland Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) • Maryland Small Farm Initiative for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers • USDA, Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. (RC&D) • USDA, Farm Services Agency (FSA) • MARBIDCO, Maryland Agricultural and Resource Based Industry Development Corp.
Advisory Committee Meetings In September 2008, University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Small Farm Outreach Project collaborated with representatives from local grassroots and community-based organizations, and county agencies to plan its first advisory group meeting.
Conclusion • Underserved populations encounter many obstacles • Meeting their needs requires a holistic approach • Leveraging resources could be crucial to their survival • Innovative and creative strategies must be utilized • Better coordinated effort is needed for better outcomes
Developed by: Dr. Stephan Tubene, Co-Project Director Outreach for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Project UMES 2122 Richard A. Henson Center. Princess Anne, MD 21853 410-651-6206 or email@example.com Okarsamaa B. White, M.S., AFC Extension Educator - Finance, Family and Consumer Sciences Maryland Cooperative Extension, Prince George’s County 6707 Groveton Drive Clinton, MD 20735 (301) 868-9410 or firstname.lastname@example.org Berran Rogers, Small Farm Program Coordinator & Project Director Outreach for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Project UMES 2122 Richard A. Henson Center. Princess Anne, MD 21853 410-651-6693 or email@example.com Equal Opportunity Employer Equal Access Programs