The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry will host its annual Agroforestry Academy from July 23-28 in Columbia, Mo.
This is the fifth year of the weeklong, hands-on experience.
“The Agroforestry Academy is a very exciting event,” said Mike Gold, interim director of the Center for Agroforestry. “We’ve been able to train nearly 110 individuals over four years from across the United States.”“The Agroforestry Academy is a very exciting event. We’ve been able to train nearly 110 individuals over four years from across the United States.”
―Mike Gold, interim director of the Center for Agroforestry
With an initial SARE Professional Development Program (PDP) grant award, the first two years of the academy were focused on training educators, such as extension agents, NRCS employees and non-profit groups. During the past two years, the Center for Agroforestry has welcomed landowners and military veterans as well.
The academy is generally made up of 25 trainees. There are numerous agroforestry topics discussed during the academy, including agroforestry planning and design, agroforestry marketing and economics, silvopasture, forest farming, riparian and upland forest buffers, windbreaks, and alley cropping. Each day normally features classroom lectures and discussions and a trip to a local producer’s property. Those trips give trainees an opportunity to see agroforestry in action.
“We’ve been able to partner with some really great landowners during this academy,” Gold said. “Each person we’ve worked with has offered great insight into what tailor-made agroforestry practices look like.”
The class is divided into teams of five during the week, and each team designs an agroforestry management plan for a local landowner’s farm. At the close of the academy, each team presents the plan to the landowner, academy trainers and fellow trainees. The agroforestry management plan is worked on throughout the week.
“This is always the highlight of the academy,” Gold said. “It’s a great opportunity for our trainees to dig in and really design and develop an agroforestry plan for a real property based on the specific resources, needs and desires of that landowner.”
Registration is currently open and will run until Friday, June 30. The cost of the academy is $1,000 per person, which includes lodging, food, local travel and training materials. Scholarships are available for military veterans.