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Toward Culturally Responsive Disaster Management for Limited Resource Producers: The Role of Person, Place and Professional Agencies

In partnership with Prairie View A & M University and the 1890-Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Advisory Group, Tuskegee University is developing a research-based disaster preparedness program for Historically Underserved Producers and Ranchers (HUPR). Funded by USDA - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) in 2020, the program was designed to utilize a cultural lens to create a snapshot of the vulnerabilities faced by HUPRs during disasters, examine how they respond, and outline steps needed to mitigate disasters impacts. The program has five specific objectives:

(1) Identify cultural challenges HUFRs face with regards to disasters
(2) Determine how cultural factors influence HUFRs behavior and decisions they make during disasters, and consequently how research, extension and academics can intervene to influence the HUFRs posture around emergency management
(3) Develop research-based recommendations, best practices, and procedures to lay the foundation for a proposed 1890 Disaster Training Academy
(4) Create disaster materials, publications and programs that are culturally sensitive to producers, and disseminated throughout venues such as the SARE Learning Center, national EDEN, 1890 Association of Research Directors (ARD), and the 1890 Association of Extension Administrators (AEA)
(5) Assess the level of interaction between HUFRs and professional agricultural agencies, as well as state and federal agencies.

The Tuskegee University team is led by Dr. Rashidah Farid (CAENS Research/Extension faculty), Warren Buchanan (CAENS Outreach), and Rodney Stone (USDA liaison). This December during Professional Agricultural Workers Conference (PAWC), Rodney Stone and team will lead an exciting workshop on “Disaster Boogie Bag Preparation.”  Boogie or Go bags contain survival supplies that your family would need in event of an emergency, including food clothes and medicines. Mr. Stone will demonstrate how to prepare a go bag and tailor its contents to protect your family in an emergency.

Due to the pandemic, the team offered virtual programs on natural disaster preparedness at PAWC, including a focus group to understand systemic barriers to state and federal agency resources allocation. The team will continue conducting interviews and surveying producers throughout the Black Belt region in Alabama through spring of 2022. “Our hope is to further understand the direct needs of producers in disaster preparedness and to facilitate federal and state disaster resource use”, states Dr. Farid, Tuskegee University’s Co-PI for the grant.

For more information on disaster preparedness for your family, farm, and property, please visit https://www.ready.gov/ or contact Dr. Farid, rfarid@tuskegee.edu, for information on our next workshop.