Kansas SARE PDP is part of K-State Research and Extension (KSRE) based at the main campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas as part of the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops (KCSAAC) in the Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) administrative unit. Guidance for Kansas SARE PDP is provided by an advisory committee with oversight by KSRE ANR administration. The Kansas SARE PDP coordinator provides support, cooperation, and training to regional (north central) and national SARE goals, activities, and requests.
The primary target audience for professional development programming in the 2017-18 budget cycle is Extension professionals — county/district Extension agents and area/state specialists. Secondary audiences are NRCS, FSA and Conservation District professionals, NGOs, agriculture educators, and graduate students.
The state of Kansas is experiencing significant tax revenue shortfalls resulting in a callback of extension operating funds from the university and counties. While the situation is unfortunate and hopefully short-lived, KS SARE continues to experience an increase in requests for small dollar amounts to attend professional improvement trainings.
2017-18 Kansas SARE initiatives are:
- Carbon, energy, and climate
- Local food and speciality crops
- Applied sustainable agriculture
The educational approach of the Kansas SARE Professional Development Program is to promote professional improvement through travel scholarships and mini grants for programs that fit the current Plan of Work and the SARE definition of sustainability:
- Profit over the long term
- Stewardship of our nation’s land, air and water
- Quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their communities
Priority areas for 2017 were: Carbon, Energy, & Climate and Local Foods & Specialty Crops. Support is provided for topics outside the priority areas for any professional development projects working on applied sustainable agriculture practices.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
Support workshops and conferences that help agriculture professionals increase their knowledge about building soil quality, climate and livestock production, uses of cover crops, intesive grazing management, organic production, water quality and quantity, pollinator habitat, biofuels, and on-farm energy production.
To meet stated objectives, 4 mini grants and 9 travel scholarships in the area of Carbon, Energy, and Climate.
Mini Grants were awarded for: Extension Livestock Program Focus Team Training: Cattle Nutrition Tools for Ag Agents to Aid Constituents and Maximize Potential with Limited Resources (34 participants); Feedlot Field Day (59 participants); Fuller Field School: Whole Life. Think. Manage. Live. Whole. videos of speakers (15 completed views from Nov. & Dec. 2017); and Jackson County Conservation District Soil Health Initiative (106 participants).
Travel scholarships were awarded to for the following professional improvement opportunities: American Society of Agronomy Annual Meeting (1 scholarship), Midwest Cover Crops Council Conference (2 scholarships), National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference (2 scholarships), Soil Health Bootcamp (1 scholarship), and Range Beef Cow Symposium (3 scholarships).
34 Extension agents and Extension specialists increased their knowledge of how to balance cattle feed rations while taking into consideration on-farm environmental factors related to weather factors (especially drought conditions) and compromised feed sources (grazing and feed grains).
18 ag professionals and farmers increased their knowledge of USDA conservation programs.
21 ag professionals and farmers increased their knowledge of managing runoff from non-confined feeding sites to protect natural resources and options for alternative watering systems for non-confined feedlot systems.
239 Extension agents, agency personnel, ag professionals and farmers increased their knowledge of establishing cover cropping goals for increasing soil organic matter, attracting beneficial insects, supressing weeds, extending grazing, and preventing runoff.
59 agriculture professionals, extension agents, agency personnel, and farmers increased their knowledge of soil biology and how it relates to soil health.
8 videos were created from the 2018 Fuller Field School that are accessible from the KS SARE website Resources Page
100% of participants at the Extension Livestock Program Focus Team Training had completed at least one ration for a beef producer in their area within 60 days following the training.
85% of participants in mini grant funded events and 90% of travel scholarship recipients planned to share what they had learned with others.
85% of travel scholarship recipients planned to use new information in newsletters.
80% of travel scholarship recipients planned to incorporate new ideas and information into regular programming.
40% of travel scholarship recipients planned to offer new programming after attending a professional improvement event.
3% of farmers who attended the Feedlot Field Day indicated interest in hosting a field day on their farm within the next 12 months.
Support professional development among Extension, agency personnel, ag professionals, and farmers to build capacity around diversifying agriculture in Kansas; specifically local food and specialty crop production.
To meet the objective of the Local Food and Specialty Crops initiative 6 mini grants and 8 travel scholarships were awarded.
Mini grants were awarded for: Farmers Forum at the 2017 Kansas Farm and Food Conference (8 breakout sessions, 85 participants); Extension Horticulture Agents Bus Tour (38 participants); Urban Food Systems Study Tour (13 participants); Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) Farm Tour (45 participants); Women in Farming Workshop and Farm Tour (2 events, 50 participants); and Southeast KS Extension Agents Professional Development Trip (15 participants).
Travel scholarships were awarded for the following professional improvement events: Kansas Farmers Market Conference and Workshops (5 scholarships); Partnership for Food Safety Education (2 scholarships); National Incubator Farm Training Initiative Field School (1 scholarship).
66 Extension agents, specialists, and farmers market vendors increased their knowledge of direct-to-consumer sales regulations in Kansas and local food and farm policy councils.
53 Extension agents increased their knowledge of diversified farming practices by visiting a specialty producers such as a goat dairy & creamery; multi-species grazing operation; an organic fruit, vegetable, and herb farm; high tunnel producer; miscanthus grower; and a 300-day grazer.
58 Extension agents, specialists, graduate students, and farmers increased their knowledge of urban farming practices and local food distribution systems by visiting 17 unique urban/suburban growers.
98 Extension agents, governmental agency personnel, NGO personnel, and farmers increased their knowledge of the importance of pollinators on the farm.
48 Extension agents, government agency personnel, NGO personnel, and farmers were introduced to pre- and post-harvest safe food handling protocols.
100% of participants in mini grant funded events and travel scholarship recipients who participated in events with farm tours indicated the most meaningful experience was meeting and learning from farmers and ranchers who were actively putting into practice ideas and management strategies that were outside the conventional agriculture box.
90% of participants in mini grant funded events and travel scholarship recipients planned to use their new knowledge to answer client questions.
85% of travel scholarship recipients planned to use information in newsletters.
70% of travel scholarship recipients planned to incorporate new ideas and information into regular programming.
50% of travel scholarship recipients planned to develop new programming based on information learned.
15% of travel scholarship recipients indicated they had made new contacts and partners for work.
Suppport all ag professionals increase their understanding of alternative and sustainable agriculture practices -- especially those that fall outside of targeted initiatives.
Encourage grant submissions to NCR-SARE grant programs by conducting grant writing workshops.
To fulfill the objectives of this initiative eight travel scholarships were awarded for professional improvement. The scholarship recipients used their awards to attend: Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle Symposium (1 scholarship), Changing Lands, Changing Hands Conference (1 scholarship); Women Food and Ag Network Conference (1 scholarship), and the National Ag in the Classroom Conference (4 scholarships); and Conservation Biological Control Short Course (1 scholarship).
4 scholarship recipients received training on the Journey 2050 and Farming 2050 game lessons for classroom training about sustainable agriculture. The game requires players to balance financial sustainability, environmental sustainability, and community sustainability to earn points by applying science, math, and social studies skills in farm situations.
3 scholarship recipients increased their knowlede of drone technology in agriculture.
1 scholarship recipient increased knowledge of farm succession planning, land tranfser assistance, and farm link programs.
2 scholarship recipient increased knowledge about soil conservation/plant nutrients, hydroponics, and school gardening.
1 scholarship recipient increased knowledge about managing bull fertility and estrous synchronization during extreme weather conditions.
70% of scholarship recipients planned to share new information through newsletters.
75% of scholarship recipients planned to incorporate new information into regular programming.
45% of scholarship recipients planned to use new information to answer client questions.
30% of scholarship recipients planned to offer new programming based on information learned.
Educational & Outreach Activities
From a SARE Travel Scholarship Recipient — “SARE’s travel scholarship allowed me to attend a conference that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. I was able to access knowledge from other national programs that are utilizing the incubator model for beginning farmers like we are. I gained a lot of knowledge about best growing practices, aggregation tools, developing new marketing channels, cultivating community partnerships, accessing appropriate land and permaculture practices in small spaces. I feel confident that I will be able to use this knowledge to better serve the small farmers in our area through individual conversations and during our winter workshops. The conference also gave me new ideas about how to re-structure parts of our program. None of this would’ve been possible without this SARE scholarship- we are so grateful!”
From an ag professional who attended a mini-grant sponsored farm tour — “This event is one of the most valuable networking and ‘thinking outside the box’ professional development opportunities that I attend. It was very neat to see the wide range of topics we learned about. Coming from a very traditional agriculture background, it was great to get to see and experience other agriculture areas that I don’t come in contact with every day.”
Face of SARE
Face of SARE activities are primarily educational exhibits at meetings, workshops, and conferences around the state; not including SARE mini-grant funded activities which are reported with their respective initiative. KS SARE had a presence at 22 events in and out of Kansas that reached 1,850 farmers, students, and agriculture professionals. The KS SARE state PDP coordinator led two, 50-minute lectures for FNDH 132 Basic Nutrition classes (undergraduate human and animal nutrition students) about sustainable agriculture principles and offered two grantwriting workshops — one for graduate students and one for farmers and ag professionals.
2017 Face of SARE activities:
Playa Lake Workshop, Garden City
Great Plains Growers Conference (with Iowa, Missouri & Nebraska SARE), St. Joseph, MO
Mid America Organic Conference, (with Missouri SARE) KC, MO
Winter Grazing Conference, Topeka
Women Managing the Farm Conference, Manhattan
Kansas Farmers Market Conference, Manhattan
Ag Day at Fort Riley
Pollinator Workshop, Holton
FSMA Training & Farm Tour, Sedgwick County
Soil Health Workshop, Holton
Beginning Organic Grain Farming Workshop, Hiawatha
3i Farm Show, Dodge City
Flint Hills Wellness Coalition, Manhattan
FSMA Trainings, Colby and Wichita
Grantwriting workshop for ag teachers at NAAEA, Nashville, TN
2 KS SARE Advisory Committee Meetings