UMCA News Release
Center for Agroforestry begins series of trainings for professionals
Jan. 25, 2006
As part of an ongoing commitment to increase the knowledge and adoption of agroforestry practices across Missouri and the Midwest, the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry (UMCA) has expanded the depth and reach of its training program. This effort began with a successful Agroforestry Professional Training Workshop held Jan. 10 and 11, 2006, in Columbia, Mo.
In the fall of 2005, the Center was awarded a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program grant to fund a series of agroforestry trainings geared toward a targeted audience: individuals from state and government federal agencies, University Extension personnel, and non-profit and professional organizations dealing with issues that directly impact landowners and their management of forests and farms. More than 50 professionals representing several disciplines in the natural resource-based fields attended the January training. The event was designed to increase core agencies' knowledge about agroforestry practices and the benefits they offer when applied as sustainable farming practices, and to foster the establishment of social networks for assisting resource professionals and landowners in finding answers regarding the establishment and management of agroforestry.
The training workshop utilized a new and updated Agroforestry Training Manual designed to facilitate all phases of implementing the five agroforestry practices -- alley cropping, silvopasture, riparian forest buffers, windbreaks and forest farming. [Manual available for downloading on the Publications page]. Speaker topics included assisting landowners with budgeting/planning for agroforestry practices; marketing the products they grow; designing agroforestry for wildlife habitat management; and institutional barriers affecting agroforestry. In addition to classroom instruction, a tour of the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center at New Franklin, Mo., featured demonstrations of diverse agroforestry practices.
Natural resource professionals broke into smaller multi-agency work groups to evaluate implementing agroforestry practices into a real-world agroforestry case study, Idolour Farm in Boone County, Mo. The farm is owned and managed by J. Arbuckle, Ph. D. student at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Center for Agroforestry research collaborator, who plans to implement ideas presented by the group into an agroforestry plan. A cow/calf operation, woodlots, and riparian areas are among the farm's features Arbuckle may expand to meet his goals - including a goat operation, non-traditional crops and a rotational grazing system.
"I felt like I was in one of those TV shows, 'Extreme Agroforestry Makeover' or something. It was great to have so many resource professionals thinking about ways that we might improve our conservation and production practices through agroforestry," said Arbuckle. "One of the things that was most interesting to me was how the groups came up with so many ideas for agroforestry applications for such a small farm - windbreaks, riparian buffers, silvopasture, forest farming - all on under a hundred acres. Plus, they gave me good ideas on how we might find some funding to help with establishment costs. It was a fun learning experience and we plan to implement some of those ideas over the coming years."