NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops team proudly accepted the 2017 Extension Education Materials Outstanding Video Award for their “Winter Lettuce” production from the American Society for Horticultural Science.
The team included Robin Brumfield, Jenny Carleo, Hemant Gohil, Ramu Govindasamy, Jeff Heckman, Jennifer Matthews, Meredith Melendez, Jess Niederer, Peter Nitzsche, Nicholas Polanin, C. Andrew Wyenandt, Fred McGrady and the late Dan Kluchinski.
“Featuring Chickadee Creek Farm in Pennington in a virtual field trip video for training new or progressive farmers on winter lettuce production was a special opportunity for the team,” said Robin Brumfield, who accepted the award for the team at the ASHS Annual Conference in Hawaii. “The team was honored to have Dan Kluchinski share his expertise in our efforts, and his professionalism will be sorely missed.”
“The goal of our videos is to support beginning farmers and our hope is that this award will extend the reach of the project to an even larger number of farmers nationwide. Earning this award means even more to us now that our team member, Dan Kluchinski, has passed away,” said Jenny Carleo, Cape May county agent. Dan was very proud of this video in particular and made major contributions to both the project and the award application. Now his work can continue to improve the lives of the people he so diligently served throughout his career.”
The “Ultra-Niche Crops for the Progressive New Farmer” is a USDA-NIFA grant funded project currently underway at Rutgers University. This project seeks to teach new and beginning farmers about the cultivation, marketing, and business management of 10 “ultra-niche” horticultural crops — those of exceptionally high value that can be grown successfully on 10 acres or less.
Teaching methodologies for this multi-year project include face-to-face traditional Extension programming along with streaming video of the live presentations to two other “remote sites” across the state. Crops have been selected through the work of a grower advisory council.
A major highlight and undertaking of this training is the grower virtual field trips, a video broadcast to all three sites on the evening of the training, and then archived online along with all the other training materials and resources created for and shared during the training sessions. These 20-minute videos include an expert farmer, a wholesaler or consumer marketer or buyer, and a subject matter expert specific to that crop.
Attendees are able to virtually visit the farm in season, see how the crop is grown, learn what buyers look for, and hear from an expert about any specific difficulties a crop may pose. Session presenters are those showcased in the videos, giving the audience members ample opportunity to engage with the speakers, filmed and in real time.
When the project is fully completed, information on how to profitably grow 10 ultra-niche crops will be available on-line. In addition to the virtual field tours for each crop, the website and training sessions include: enterprise budgets for each crop; short segments on the components of a farm business plan; crop profiles — including on-line enterprise budgets; and Feasibility Analysis worksheets, including a SWOT analysis template and a food safety compliance worksheet. All sessions and project details can be found online at http://njaes.rutgers.edu/ultra-niche-crops/.
Established in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science is recognized around the world as one of the most respected and influential professional societies for horticultural scientists. ASHS is committed to promoting and encouraging national and international interest in scientific research and education in all branches of horticulture.
View the ASHS report of all of the Extension on their website.
The video may be viewed at https://youtu.be/s-EGBPod3So.
— Rutgers University