Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Overview

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Learn about Kerr Center programs, history and groundbreaking work defining sustainable agriculture and reaching out to farmers, ranchers, policymakers and consumers.

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  • A little bit about our origins, history
  • Legacy of Sen. Kerr4000 acres in southeast OK along the Poteau River
  • Conservation-minded in a 1930s, 40s way: soil and water conservation
  • Reports and info about programs onlineAlso Brought sampling of pubs today take what you like
  • Explained in the book written by Kerr President Jim Horne and myself and published in 2001
  • Rotational grazing and compost animal manures and alternatives to cafos
  • 4000 acres pasture forest a lot of wildlife
  • Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Overview

    1. 1. Welcome to the Kerr Center A private non-profit educational foundation
    2. 2. Located just off highway 271 5 miles south of Poteau, Oklahoma, on Kerr Rd.
    3. 3. We demonstrate sustainable agriculture on the Kerr Farm & Ranch
    4. 4. Kerr Foundation: Established by the family of Senator Robert S. Kerr after his death in 1963
    5. 5. Kerr Center Beginnings • 1965-66, Agriculture Division of the larger Kerr Foundation established • Mission: Outreach to farmers and ranchers in SE Oklahoma
    6. 6. • In 1985 sustainability became central focus Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture
    7. 7. Foundation supported by an endowment, grants and donations.
    8. 8. Dr. Jim Horne • President of Kerr Center since transition to sustainable organization
    9. 9. On-farm & ranch projects make Kerr Center different from most non-profit sustainable educational foundations
    10. 10. • Organic Horticulture • Sustainable Livestock • Conservation What Kerr Center offers... • Online & in print • In person, in Poteau
    11. 11. www.kerrcenter.com
    12. 12. Education available online: publications, videos, slideshows
    13. 13. Social media FORID:0
    14. 14. ● Beginning Farmer and Rancher Training Program ● Resilient Farm (Organic) Project ● Intern Training Program ● Native Pollinator Project Current Special Initiatives
    15. 15. So, how do you “do” sustainable agriculture?
    16. 16. So, how do you “do” sustainable agriculture?
    17. 17. In the 1990s Kerr Center identified 8 components of sustainable ag • Healthy Soil • Water Quality & Conservation • Responsible Waste Management • Adapted Crops
    18. 18. • Biodiversity • Ecological Pest Management • Energy Conservation • Profitability
    19. 19. Steps are Covered in this 2001 book:
    20. 20. 1. Soil: • Conserve and Create
    21. 21. Good Soil: The foundation of a sustainable agriculture Microorganisms in one spoonful of soil outnumber the people on earth Sustainable Ag Soil
    22. 22. Erosion: still a threat Erosion threatens the productive capacity of nearly one of every three cropland acres. ---Natural Resources Conservation Service
    23. 23. One solution: Keep the soil covered
    24. 24. Cover crops or green manures: basis of Kerr Center’s organic program
    25. 25. Cover crops like vetch also add nitrogen, a key nutrient, to the soil.
    26. 26. George Kuepper, Horticulture Manager, mowing cover crop
    27. 27. The mowed material can be tilled in, or left on the surface as mulch.
    28. 28. We also create healthy soil with compost
    29. 29. & compost tea...
    30. 30. 2. Water: • Conserve and Protect Its Quality
    31. 31. Riparian buffers on Kerr Ranch Buffers can trap 70-80% of sediment and contaminants in run off. Protecting Water Quality
    32. 32. Drip irrigation conserves water
    33. 33. 3. Organic Wastes: • Manage so They Don’t Pollute
    34. 34. Sustainable Agriculture • Animals are raised on integrated farms • Animal wastes provide nutrients for growing crops without polluting watersheds
    35. 35. Kerr cows on the move: rotational grazing
    36. 36. Electric fencing allows management intensive grazing
    37. 37. As cows move to new pastures, manure is distributed more evenly & doesn’t pollute
    38. 38. 4. Adapted to the Environment: • Grow Locally-Adapted Breeds and Varieties
    39. 39. • With large amounts of inputs, farmers can raise non- adapted crops • Farmers raise animals and plants adapted to the existing environment Industrial Sustainable Agriculture Agriculture
    40. 40. 2010 -2012: heirloom sweet potato variety trials...
    41. 41. Sweet potatoes are heat and drought tolerant
    42. 42. and well adapted to Oklahoma
    43. 43. Looking for the best tomato: Trials of heirloom varieties
    44. 44. Okra, squash, sorghum, flour corn also tested
    45. 45. Reports with results from all variety trials are available free online.
    46. 46. A Good Mix for Oklahoma Angus X Gelbvieh Cattle Adaptability—Sustainable Ag
    47. 47. Pineywoods cattle: hardy heritage breed
    48. 48. • 5. Encourage Biodiversity
    49. 49. Biodiversity • Over 100 breeds of livestock and poultry are endangered in U.S. • With important genetic traits: adaptability, hardiness, disease resistance • Only 20 per cent of the maize varieties reported in Mexico in 1930 are now being grown
    50. 50. Kerr Center is growing rare corn varieties
    51. 51. Biodiversity Threatened • Monoculture-- planting fence row to fence row-- destroys habitat for native plants and wildlife
    52. 52. Saving space for wildlife on the Kerr Ranch Wildflower Meadows & Plots Provide Habitat for Diverse Pollinators
    53. 53. A native pollinator (sweat bee)
    54. 54. Wildlife on the ranch
    55. 55. Kerr Ranch has woods, pastures, riparian corridors
    56. 56. Beneficial insects help control insect pests in hort plots.
    57. 57. Birds eat millions of insects and billions of weed seeds
    58. 58. Pests: • Manage Them with Minimal Environmental Impact
    59. 59. Environmental Consequences of Overuse of Pesticides • Resistance: 500 insect pests, 270 weed species, 150 diseases resulting in chemical treadmill • Non-target pests often killed, too often beneficial predators Industrial Ag--Chemicals
    60. 60. Health Consequences • Pesticide poisoning (worldwide) • 10-20,000 deaths per year • At least 3 million acute cases • American farm workers have the highest rate of chemical-related illness of any group Industrial Ag--Chemicals
    61. 61. Pesticide Use • Rate of usage in agriculture more than doubled since 1964—3/4 of usage in U.S. • Share of farm budget for pesticides rose 35 percent in same period Industrial Ag--Chemicals
    62. 62. . Our Cannon Horticulture Farm is certified organic
    63. 63. Without herbicides, controlling bermudagrass is a challenge...
    64. 64. ...but sorghum-sudangrass, a summer cover crop, outcompetes it
    65. 65. Energy: • Conserve Nonrenewable Resources
    66. 66. Conserve fuel by using small-scale equipment
    67. 67. Solar-powered fencing
    68. 68. Profitability: • Increase Profitability and Reduce Risk
    69. 69. Consumers are driving change
    70. 70. • Farmers’ markets • Farm-to-school • Community gardens • CSA farms • Food cooperatives
    71. 71. Opportunities: Direct and local sales • Higher per acre returns– horticulture crops • Direct sales: farmers get 100% of food dollar • Attractive to young, women, minority and beginning farmers
    72. 72. Farmers’ Markets • Increase Access to Healthy Foods, Affordable • 70 Farmers’ Markets in Oklahoma (35 in 2007) • For more info: http://okfarmandfood.org
    73. 73. It’s Affordable! Selected produce price comparisons ($/lb.), (F.M. had lower prices on majority of items) Farmers' Market Wal-Mart • Romaine Lettuce $0.76 $1.38 • Turnips $0.91 $1.46 • Green Onions $1.63 $3.26
    74. 74. Farm-to-School • Makes healthy foods available to low-income kids • Research says farm-to-school programs significantly improve eating habits • 2007: 40 school districts in OK • 2013: over 100 school districts • More info: http://www.okfarmtoschool.com /
    75. 75. We Can Grow It in Oklahoma • From A-Z, Asparagus to Zucchini
    76. 76. For more info read our report Closer to Home : http://www.kerrcenter.com/publications/closer_to_home/toc.htm
    77. 77. Consumers are the key to change • Buying safe, nutritious, locally-produced food • Be willing to pay a fair price for this food
    78. 78. WE NEED MORE FARMERS
    79. 79. Farmer Training at Kerr Center • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Training Program • Resilient Farmer Project • Intern Training Program
    80. 80. Intern Program: college students get hands-on experience in sustainable ag
    81. 81. Popular educational events held regularly
    82. 82. Tours: second Tuesday of each month
    83. 83. Learn about Kerr Center online • Programs, history, staff bios, awards
    84. 84. Subscribe to our free newsletter
    85. 85. Tremendous Progress since 1985 • and • Many Challenges to Come
    86. 86. You can help us meet the challenges! Donate online!
    87. 87. Contact us: 918.647.9123 • mailbox@kerrcenter.com • www.kerrcenter.com • 24456 Kerr Road • Poteau, OK 74953-8163
    88. 88. When you’re right, don’t run. Hoe your row out. • Robert S. Kerr

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