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On-farm visit

2018-21 Annual Report

Our goal with the Beginning Farmer program is to help new producers develop knowledge and critical skills so they can sustain and grow their farms using technical information, learning networks, and other resources.

Audience Diversity

  • 52% female
  • 48% male
  • 88% white
  • 10% black
  • 2% other

Beginning Farmer Success Rate

  • 70% with 70+ business/marketing/food safety plans developed

Russell Bean, S & B FARMValue of Business Consultancy

  • 319 producers assisted
  • $144 k savings for farmers

Crop Improved/Saved

  • $2.1 mil

Total Impact

  • $2.9 mil

Farming Barriers Reduced

  • 18% reduction in access to information
  • 30% reduction in need for marketing training
  • 55% crop losses prevented

Return on Investment 10:1

“Farming Basics [online course] is filled with good information. We recommend it as a resource not only for beginning farmers but seasoned producers as well.”

—Russell Bean, S & B FARM

Free Resources

Farming Basics Online Course

  • Provides five chapters featuring video presentations
  • Offers a certificate of completion with CEU points credited
  • Is a teaching tool for on-farm workers, school classes, and farmers

Farming Basics mobile appFarming Basics Mobile App

  • Includes horticultural crop descriptions and basic information on getting started
  • Provides information about major insect pests and diseases
  • Includes a fertilizer and irrigation calculator
  • Connects you to an Extension agent near you

On-farm Assistance

The Beginning Farmer program by the Commercial Horticulture Extension team provides free intensive on-farm guidance to beginning farmers, including military veterans, women, retired workers, and low-income individuals.

Farming Basics

*Communication award winners from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, American Horticulture Society, and Southern Region IPM Center

Farming Basics Online Course

  • 1,412 Students
  • 21% Completion Rate
  • 97% Satisfaction Rating with Immediate Use of Information
  • 4 CEUs from the American Agronomy Society and the American Horticulture Society

Southeast Vegetable Crop Handbook

2,000* per year

High Tunnel Crop Production Handbook

5,000* total circulation

Organic Vegetable IPM Slide Chart

18,250* total circulation

Urban Farm/ Market Garden IPM Toolkit

7,000* total circulation

Citrus IPM Field Guide

500

Alabama IPM Communicator E-newsletter

3,343* subscribers

IPM Communicator E-newsletter

13,200* email clicks

Social Media Subscribers

4,772

Farming Basics Mobile App

1,000+ installations

 

*Communication award winners from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, American Horticulture Society, and Southern Region IPM Center.

COVID-19 Special Program’s Evaluation System (Piloted 2020)

Online Event Surveys

Zoom meetings (immediate quantitative)

  • Pre-registration poll
  • Post-event poll

Qualtrics survey (retrospective, quality)

  • Social media posts
  • E-newsletter
  • App based
  • Online Course

Social Media Networks

Quantitative information

  • Facebook Insights
    • Likes: number of followers
    • Reach: number of people watching
    • Views: number of video views
    • Engagement: combined total of likes, comments, shares, etc. Demographic information: M/F/O, age, groups, online behavior
  • Twitter Analytics
    • Following: people you follow
    • Followers: number of followers
    • Tweet: limited-character messages
    • Impressions: number of times a tweet circulates
  • Mailchimp Campaign Reports
    • Recipients: total subscribers
    • Trend: new subscribers
    • Opens: emails read
  • Youtube Channel
    • Channel views
    • Views
    • Likes & shares

Qualitative information

  • Testimonials from post reactions

COVID-19 Progress Report (March–December 2020)

Alabama Virtual Farm TourAlabama Virtual Farm Tour

  • 18 Events completed
  • 255 Live participants
  • 4,611 People reached
  • 12,382 Recording views
  • 480 Likes & shares
  • 492 Engagements

Commercial Horticulture Webinar SeriesCommercial Horticulture Webinar Series

  • 21 Events completed
  • 694 Live participants
  • 12,159 People reached
  • 5,047 Recording views
  • 244 Likes & shares
  • 1,417 Engagements

O&A FridayQ&A Friday

  • 29 Events completed
  • 170+ Queries answered
  • 386 Live participants
  • 18,617 People reached
  • 9,158 Recording views
  • 464 Likes & shares
  • 3,680 Engagements

Testimonials

“I want you to know how much I enjoy and appreciate all the webinars that ACES puts on. Last summer my wife and I bought a 131-acre farm near Walnut Grove in Etowah County and have been working with Chip East (REA). Thanks again!”

Vernon Lee Sanders II, via Facebook Messenger, March 19, 2021


“I don’t really know how to express my appreciation for the work that you and your colleagues are doing. Thanks again!”

Roger Westover, GA, via email, May 28, 2020


“Info shared by Extension personnel is vital to our farming community. It helps our learning curve so we can be profitable quicker when branching out into other ventures.”

Anonymous, via the IPM newsletter survey, 2020

Evaluation Data Overall

  • 1,335 Direct participants, 68 Online events
  • 35,387 People reached
  • 5,589 Engagements (170 Questions answered)
  • 4,071 Followers (77% Increase)
  • 47% Male 50% Female 3% Other
  • 84% White 7% Black 7% Asian 2% Others
  • 94% Usefulness of info 25% New audience
  • 22% Beginning 10% Experienced farmers
  • 40+ Farm magazine articles by team members
  • 60+ On-demand mailing of publications
  • $50,000+ Gain from 125 Client reports

Program Coordinator

Ayanava Majumdar, (251) 331-8416

Commercial Horticulture Regional Extension Agents, Extension Coordinators, and Specialists

www.aces.edu/go/927

Technical Assistance Providers

  • Jayme Oates, (334) 740-8515
  • Karen Wynne, (256) 520-2400
  • Andrew Williams, (334) 216-1344
  • Darrell McGuire, (334) 349-9115

Funding Agencies

USDA-NIFA, BFRD (2015-04598, 2018-02936), Southern SARE, CPPM, OREI and the ADAI Specialty Crop Block Program

Check out more project reports & impact videos on alabamabeginningfarmer.com

Past Annual Reports

Beginning Farmer Annual Report 2015-2018

2016 Progress of the Alabama Beginning Farmer Project poster


New August 2021, Beginning Farmer Program Annual Report, ANR-2604

Download this article as a PDF

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