A key component of the SSDP program is the provision of various training modules to help participating SSDPs improve their skills and knowledge and become better able to sustain and improve their operations. The training modules will cover such things as:
- The formation of cooperatives: Successful cooperatives will be reviewed and personnel from these cooperatives will be invited to share their successes with SSDPs. The SSDPs who are interested in forming cooperatives will be provided with two days of training in this area. This training will especially benefit participants who usually grow fruits and vegetables and need to find a market for their produce.
- Value-added produce, direct marketing and risk management: We will conduct special sessions to emphasize value-added agriculture, direct marketing, third party certification, and labeling to capture niche markets, and on strategies SSDPs can use to retain a higher share of their revenues.
- Field Days: We will sponsor a field day – essentially a trip to a successful cooperative managed by SSDPs – to show various cooperative activities related to production, processing and marketing of fruits, vegetables and other produce.
- Whole farm planning and agroforestry training: We will provide two training sessions of two-days each, covering farm planning, enterprise budgeting, use of maps in farm planning, and agroforestry practices. Participants will visit successful model farms for demonstration purposes. The training will be facilitated by KSU Forestry and GIS faculty, NRCS, and extension personnel. Demonstrations of record keeping; online applications for USDA programs; farm record keeping for tax purposes; cost-benefit analysis of agroforestry and other practices; downloading of online maps, such as land use land cover, soil, elevation, and other topographic maps; and computation of the cost of distance to nearby markets.
- One-on-one needs-based technical assistance, education, and training: Project staff will be available to work one-on-one with program participants to assist with training in a wide range of farm planning, production, processing, and farm and financial risk management strategies.