A primary goal of The Center for Agroforestry is to educate and inform landowners and natural resource professionals about new research in agroforestry, and to demonstrate how this can be applied successfully to their operations. The UMCA Outreach team works side-by-side with landowners, resource professionals and extension agents from across the state, and the Midwest, through on-site consultations, educational workshops and informational exhibits.
These outreach activities are introducing the benefits of agroforestry practices, and the products made through these practices, to land and forest owners, natural resource professionals and consumers. Each of these activities creates an "impression" of the Center's research and its resources - and over time, these total impressions will be translated into direct benefits to land and forest owners and their surrounding communities, the natural environment and consumers on a broad spectrum.
Each year, the UMCA Outreach team participates in numerous agricultural and natural-resources related conferences and events, serving as featured speakers at many of these events. From the National Small Farms Trade Show to the Chestnut Growers of America Meeting, the Missouri Woodland Owners Conference and the Ozark Renewable Living and Sustainable Living Expo, the team reaches thousands of land and forest owners with new research findings and information on the benefits of agroforestry.
The Center for Agroforestry has an exhibit booth at numerous conferences and events throughout the year. The exhibit is tailored to the particular event and the audience, and can include an informational poster, copies of Center for Agroforestry publications and chestnut and other value added product examples.
The Center for Agroforestry staff members roast and sell fresh chestnuts at two local events between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year including the Columbia Farmers Market and the Living Windows Festival.
Focus Group Meetings for Potential Chestnut Producers
As an effort to expand the chestnut industry, the Center for Agroforestry hosted focus group meetings in January and February in Pleasant Hill and Mt. Vernon. The attendees were identified before the meeting as potential chestnut producers. The meetings were held to gauge interest in producing chestnuts and to provide growing and marketing information to the participants in an effort to establish a base of chestnut growers in Missouri. The Center has conducted research with chestnuts for the past 10 years, and is now in a position to offer cultivar and marketing information to potential growers.
The forum was held at the University of Missouri Wurdack Farm and offered information for natural resources professionals and landowners interested in the silvopasture practice. The history and background of silvopasture was presented, along with an overview of management intensive grazing systems and information about selecting appropriate forages. Missouri EQIP and silvopasture practice standards were also addressed. During the afternoon, a tour of silvopasture research at the Wurdack Farm was given to the participants.
State FFA Forestry Contest
The Center for Agroforestry hosted 140 Missouri FFA students at the University of Missouri Basket Wildlife Area in conjunction with the Annual State FFA Convention. The forestry teams consisted of 4 students from 36 high schools located around the state. The teams competed with each other for awards and were tested in their knowledge of forestry tools, native tree identification, timber stand improvement, forest cruising, map reading, and general knowledge of forestry and agroforestry practices.
Missouri Exchange Workshop
The workshop promoted the new Missouri Exchange online marketplace web site and brought buyers and sellers together face-to-face in Columbia. The workshop featured information on selling fresh and niche agricultural products, a web site tutorial, local food and agricultural product samples, and networking among attendees and speakers. The Missouri Exchange workshop included knowledgeable speakers who discussed opportunities for marketing niche and fresh agricultural products to restaurants, marketing of alternative products, native plants and the GrowNative! program, and the rise of the growing local food movement in the United States.
Eastern Redcedar Conference and Tour
A collaborative effort by a diverse group of researchers and stakeholders, the Eastern Redcedar: Challenge or Opportunity? conference held in Springfield brought together landowners, foresters and the redcedar industry to learn how to manage and market this often-maligned native tree species. Workshop topics included growth and management, log grading, pruning and thinning stands, insects and diseases, marketing, mechanical harvesting and a portable sawmill demonstration. The pre-conference tour featured a visit to several redcedar processing facilities located in southeastern Missouri.
Annual Missouri Chestnut Roast
The Outreach team and HARC staff hosts educational events and tours regularly, including the annual Missouri Chestnut Roast. The family-oriented event draws a crowd of more than 4,000 guests each fall to showcase the benefits of agroforestry - including the production of value added products like chestnuts, pine straw and decorative woody florals - at the HARC farm in New Franklin, Mo. See the Chestnut Roast page for more information about this premier outreach event.
Public relations and outreach:
From radio program coverage on chestnuts and mushroom production, reaching more than 35,000 listeners, to nation-wide Associated Press news coverage and specialized tours, the Center for Agroforestry continues striving to make "agroforestry" a household name. Media appearances and special events are tailored to the specific audience, from the health benefits of nut consumption to the market possibilities for value-added niche products produced through agroforestry practices.