Kansas 2019-20 SARE State Plan of Work

Final report for NCKS19-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $130,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Kansas State University
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
State Coordinator:
Kerri Ebert
K-State Research and Extension
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Project Information

Abstract:

Kansas SARE PDP is part of K-State Research and Extension (KSRE) at Kansas State University. KS SARE is housed within the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops (KCSAAC) in the Extension Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Community Vitality (ANRCV) 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 help meet regional (north central) and national SARE goals, conduct program activities, and respond to requests. 

The primary target audience for professional development programming in the 2019-20 budget cycle is Extension professionals — county/district Extension agents and area/state Extension specialists. Secondary audiences are NRCS, FSA and Conservation District professionals, NGOs, agriculture educators, and graduate students. 

Project Objectives:

Professional Development Initiatives 

Initiative 1: Beginning Farmer/Rancher 

Primary audience: 

Extension agents and specialists, NGOs, and other professionals working with young and beginning farmers. 

Background: 

This initiative aligns with the NCR-SARE regional initiative for 2019-20. KS SARE plans to send at least five representatives to a regional professional development event organized by NCR-SARE on beginning farmers and ranchers in 2019. Educators who are supported by KS SARE funds to attend the regional training will be asked to provide educational programming to other educators and/or beginning farmers and ranchers. Programs can include workshops, study tours, webinars, or other educational events. During the two-year plan of work period, KS SARE will offer additional travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers. 

Expected Outcomes: 

  •  5 ag professionals attend the NCR SARE regional training 
  •  20 additional Extension agents and 20 agency professionals trained to assess the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers as well as communicate available resources 
  •  1 mini grant awarded for a beginning farmer/rancher workshop 
  •  25 percent increase in visits to the existing Beginning Farmer resource page on the KS SARE web site 

Activities: 

  •  Provide travel scholarships to NCR-SARE beginning farmers and ranchers regional training. Year 1 
  •  Cooperate with Kansas Rural Center to build on the insight gained from their activity with LNC16-377 – Transitioning farm and ranch land from one family to another: Evaluating new strategies for profitable transfers and sustainable agriculture partnerships. Years 1 and 2 
  •  Connect with the Growing Growers apprenticeship program to monitor progress toward forming a Young Farmers Coalition and assist with travel scholarships and/or mini grants as needed. Years 1 and 2 
  •  Provide support to 2019 MANRRS Conference. Year 1 
  •  Prepare bank of tweets focused on resources for beginning farmers to be posted on Twitter throughout Years 1 and 2 

Evaluation: 

  •  Administer evaluations (pre and post) for regional training 
  •  Collect attendance information from educational events hosted by those trained at the regional training 
  •  Monitor hits on KS SARE Beginning Farmers web page 
  •  Monitor likes and retweets from posts made during sponsored events 
  •  Track educational programming offered by Extension agents in their counties, districts, or areas 

Initiative 2: Diversified Farming Systems 

Primary Audience: Extension personnel, NGOs, farmers, students, governmental agency staff, farm consultants 

Background: 

This initiative is focused on building capacity within Extension and the ag community to address the growing interest in and need for diversifying agriculture in Kansas. The initiative began with an organic systems focus but as state advisory committee members discussed initiatives, the need for a more encompassing approach emerged. Over the last two years there has been increasing interest in organic systems but the interest goes deeper than just organics to include: permanent conversion to forages, rotating crop and grazing lands, pasture renovation, and alternative crops (such as pulses, ancient grains, and industrial hemp). Identified needs include basic, intermediate, and advanced education for grain, livestock, and fruit and vegetable producers about possibilities and options. With low commodity prices, traditional producers are seriously considering alternatives, but Kansas agriculture has been pretty much the same for generations. This initiative focuses on helping ag professionals increase their understanding of the depth and breadth of options available to farmers and providing them with the resources needed to provide meaningful, timely advice. 

Expected Outcomes: 

  •  10 ag professionals participate in at least one workshop about organic agriculture 
  •  25 ag professionals increase their knowledge of alternative crop options 
  •  5 Extension agents use travel scholarships to increase their knowledge of diversified farming systems 
  •  5 Extension agents provide new programming in the area of diversified farming systems 
  •  1 mini grant awarded for wholesale market development workshop 

Activities: 

  •  Provide support, encouragement, and programming options for K-State’s new Sustainable Food Production Systems faculty member. Years 1 and 2 
  •  Support learning opportunities on the subject of wholesale market development (this topic overlaps with Initiative 3); for alternative crops, vegetables, fruits, and meat production. Years 1 and 2 
  •  Support organic systems education opportunities through professional development travel scholarships. Years 1 and 2 
  •  Provide travel scholarships for ag professionals to increase their capacity to assist Kansans who desire to diversify their operations to more regenerative practices. Years 1 and 2 
  •  Add content to KS SARE web site for resources for farmers and ag professionals. Years 1 and 2 

Evaluation: 

  •  Administer evaluations (pre and post) for sponsored workshops 
  •  Collect post event reports from travel scholarship recipients 
  •  Monitor web site hits 

Initiative 3: Local Food 

Primary audience: Extension agents, students, market managers, farmers, other government agencies, NGOs 

Interest in local food production, aggregation, and distribution continues to be a hot topic in Kansas. Interest in food hubs remains strong as producers consider scaling up. At the same time, regulations (FSMA and GAPs, for example) have created confusion and fear. Through this initiative, KS SARE seeks to broaden understanding of issues faced by local food producers. While vegetable and fruit production could be considered a part of Initiative 2 – Diversified Farming Systems, the state advisory committee believes local food should be a separate initiative; recognizing there will be some overlap with Initiative 2. Momentum around local food continues to grow – from the formation of the Kansas City Food Hub in 2016 to the ongoing interest in local Food and Farm Councils throughout the state to the growth in farmers markets. Further evidence of the need to continue a local food emphasis is the grassroots organization of the Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association in late 2018. 

Expected Outcomes: 

  •  20 extension agents and/or market managers will increase their knowledge of local food production by attending a local, regional, or national farmers market education workshop 
  •  20 extension agents and/or market managers will attend Food Safety Modernization Act and/or Good Agricultural Practices trainings to increase their ability to assist produce growers 
  •  1 Sustainable local food public lecture, workshop, or farm tour each year will be co-hosted by KS SARE through a PDP mini grant 
  •  8 professional development travel stipends awarded for local food/specialty crop-related activity 

Activities: 

  •  Support and promote the Kansas Rural Center’s Farm and Food Conference. Years 1 & 2 
  •  Support and encourage the newly-created Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association. Years 1 & 2 
  •  Assist local planning and delivery of sustainable local food programming through farm tours and workshops. Years 1 & 2 
  •  Cooperate with the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Program on delivery of workshops for farmer’s market managers and vendors. Years 1 & 2 
  •  Promote and encourage professional development opportunities for ag professionals who work with local food and/or specialty crop producers. Years 1 & 2 

Evaluation: 

  •  Administer evaluations (pre and post) for workshops to determine usefulness of content and format and need for more or different focus areas 
  •  Collect attendance information from workshops to determine who is attending (and more importantly who is not attending but should) and adjust program promotion accordingly 
  •  Monitor likes and retweets from posts made during sponsored events 
  •  Number of requests for documents; or if available online number of unique visits to the website 
  •  Collect post-event evaluations from workshops and travel scholarships 

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Charlie Barden (Educator and Researcher)
  • Rosanna Bauman
  • Rachael Boyle (Educator)
  • Tom Buller (Educator)
  • Dr. Jeremy Cowan (Educator and Researcher)
  • Mary Fund
  • Mary Howell
  • Mark Janzen (Educator)
  • James Murphy (Educator)
  • Pam Paulsen (Educator)
  • Stu Shafer (Educator and Researcher)
  • Donn Teske
  • Candy Thomas (Educator)
  • Dr. JohnElla Holmes (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

The educational approach of the Kansas SARE Professional Development Program is to promote professional improvement on sustainable agriculture topics through experiential learning opportunities, travel scholarships, and mini grants for programs that fit the Kansas SARE 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

Education efforts for 2019 and 2020 focusd on three initiative areas identified by the Kansas SARE Advisory Committee: Beginning Farmer/Rancher, Diversified Farming Systems, and Local Foods. 

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Beginning Farmer/Rancher
Objective:

Form a team of ag professionals to attend the NCR SARE regional training. Following the initial training, offer in-state workshops to assess the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers as well as communicate available resources and award mini grants to support workshops.

Description:

This initiative aligns with the NCR-SARE regional initiative for 2019-20. KS SARE plans to send at least five representatives to a regional professional development event organized by NCR-SARE on beginning farmers and ranchers in 2019. Educators who are supported by KS SARE funds to attend the regional training will be asked to provide educational programming to other educators and/or beginning farmers and ranchers. Programs can include workshops, study tours, webinars, or other educational events. During the two-year plan of work period, KS SARE will offer additional travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers. 

Outcomes and impacts:

2019
6 travel scholarships were awarded to attend the NCR-SARE Regional Initiative with all recipients reporting they increased their knowledge about issues faced by beginning farmers and ranchers and received valuable resource information.

2020
Four PDP scholarships were awarded for Extension Professionals to attend the KSU Hemp Conference. The majority of hemp producers in Kansas self report as new to farming. One mini grant was awarded for “Sheep and Goat Baasics” workshop which reached 33 producers, 20 who attended reported being novice (less than five years experience) or considering small ruminents. One journal article entitled “From the Ground Up: A Look at Kansas’ First Year of Industrial Hemp Production” was published in Western Economics Forum, Volume 18, Issue 2, Fall 2020, https://waeaonline.org/forum_archives/2020/volume-18-issue-2/

Diversified Farming Systems
Objective:

Build capacity within Extension and the ag community to address the growing interest in and need for diversifying agriculture in Kansas.

Description:

The initiative seeks to fill the need for deeper knowledge of opportunities to encourage greater diversity in agricultural systems. Activities related to this initiative focus on helping ag professionals increase their understanding of the depth and breadth of options available to farmers and providing them with the resources needed to provide meaningful, timely advice. 

Outcomes and impacts:

2019
Mini grant awarded for Sustainable Beef Production Workshop with attendance of 100 ranchers, Extension Agents, pharmaceutical salespeople, NGO representatives, feed salespeople. Topics covered included: 
US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, consumer education, connecting producers with retailers, and cattle handling possibilities from employing a working cow dog, and proper cattle handling with and without dogs.

Mini grant awarded for Statewide Women in Agriculture Forum focused on providing professional development and networking opportunities targeting women in mid-sized diversified ag operations. 90 attended. Topics covered included conservation practices on farms to protect the environment; community resources available to help farmers through tough times — economically and emotionally; farm business management skills; and rebuilding after tradgedies/disasters.

Mini grant awarded for “I Grew in the Classroom” hands-on ag lessons for 4th graders in the 4-County Southwind Extension District. The District Horticulture Agent reached 600 4th graders and their teachers through 95 visits at public, private, and home schools. Lessons taught included: soil erosion, soil components, plant structure and hydroponics. Students learned how water erodes soil and how vegetative cover can prevent most soil erosion; what particles soils are comprised of; an understanding that plants can be grown without soil in a hydroponic system; plant structure and function; and the importance of recycling and how worms are beneficial to humans.

Mini grant awarded for Farm and Food Conference: Planting Ideas, Growing our Future: Carbon, Climate and Community. Attendance was 150. Plenary sessions included agriculture’s role in ecocological sustainability and economic justice; rural-urban food market linkages; and the Kansas Climate Health Declaration. The conference featured 28 breakout sessions on topics from renewable energy to pesticide drift laws to soil health management.

8 scholarships were awarded to attend: MOSES Conference (1), No-Till on the Plains Winter Conference (1), NACAA (1), Range Beef Cow Symposium (4), and Earth, Wind, Solor Conference (1).

2020
2 scholarships were awarded to attend the Missouri Organic Conference; 1 scholarship was awarded to attend the Range Beef Cow Symposium. Mini grant was awarded for the Women in Agriculture Workshop attended by 60 farm women and 30 ag professionals with a keynote presentation on family farm finances and breakout sessions about soil conservation practices, balancing farm and family, and profitable, small-scale beef production. 

 

Local Food
Objective:

Continue support for activities and learning opportunities focusing on local food production, aggregation, and distribution.

Description:

Through this initiative, KS SARE seeks to provide mini grants and professional development travel scholarships that help broaden understanding of issues faced by local food producers. Momentum around local food continues to grow – from the formation of the Kansas City Food Hub in 2016 to the ongoing interest in local Food and Farm Councils throughout the state to the growth in farmers markets. Further evidence of the need to continue a local food emphasis is the grassroots organization of the Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association in late 2018. 

Outcomes and impacts:

2019
Mini grant awarded for Farmers Market Workshops. Six workshops were held in separate locations reaching 353 market managers, Extension agents, and market vendors. Topics covered included: Sales tax laws, produce safety rules, recruiting vendors, high tunnel production, pricing produce off the farm, how to sell and better display, mushroom identification, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. The workshop also featured scale certification.

Mini grant awarded for Urban Ag Study Tour to 18 Detroit and Lansing, Michigan food systems locations. 20 graduate students and faculty from Kansas State University were able to go beyond the traditional classroom setting and build student confidence and readiness to enter the Urban Food Systems profession. Students learned about different techniques, practices, programming, community building, and growing that is being done in Detroit and Lansing, Michigan.

18 travel scholarships awarded to attend specialty crop and farmers market workshops. Scholarship recipients attended the Great Plains Growers Conference (4), Missouri Blueberry School (3), Farmers Market Workshops (10), and High Tunnel Grow Workship at Hindman Settlement School.

2020
Two scholarships awarded – one for an Extension professional to attend a Regional Farmers Market Training and one for an NGO employee to attend Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training. Five mini grants were awarded. Programs assisted by mini grants included: Cultivate KC’s Farmers & Friends educational workshop attended by 150 local foods growers and leaders; Southeast Kansas Farmers Market Workshop attended by 30 growers and ag professionals; Urban Food Systems Symposium, an international gathering conducted virtually and attended by 300 industry leaders from agribusiness, governmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, and growers; Farmers Market/Direct-To-Consumer Workshops (6 locations) attended by 255 farmers market managers, local food producers, Extension professionals, and regulators; and the K-State Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Virtual Field Day attended by 100 local food producers and Extension professionals. Ten videos produced for the K-State Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Field Day were uploaded to the K-State Olathe Horticulture Center’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHU7lk1osn87jNxrO-eGAcQ/videos) where they received 445 views (collectively) in five months.

 

Educational & Outreach Activities

65 Consultations
1 Journal articles
26 Minigrants
2 On-farm demonstrations
4 Tours
27 Travel Scholarships
6 Webinars / talks / presentations
10 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

200 Extension
25 NRCS
25 Researchers
400 Nonprofit
175 Agency
600 Farmers/ranchers
600 Others

Learning Outcomes

1000 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
500 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

5 Grants received that built upon this project
25 New working collaborations
175 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
650 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

2020 was a unique year that started normally enough but quickly led to bans on face-to-face meetings/workshops and travel for professional improvement opportunities. Kansas Extension adapted quickly by moving to online collaboration and education delivery modes.

One unanticipated outcome from 2019 was the ease with which ag professionals — especially Extension professionals — self identified as wanting to be part of the Beginning Farmer/Rancher Team. The SARE initiative brought together folks who saw a need and knew they needed more partners but were unsure how to form the partnerships. The regional training provided the opportunity they needed to form a cohesive group to channel their energies and talents toward helping beginning farmers.

From 2020, the most striking outcome was the speed with which all Extension program delivery converted to online coupled with the nearly seamless transition by ag professionals and producers to embrace and adapt to online delivery. 

Success stories:

Beginning Farmer Successes: Three Team Kansas members from the Regional Training took leadership roles in K-State Extension Transdisciplinary Teams (TDT) that were formed in Spring 2020. The Ag Transition TDT is co-chaired by two Extension professionals who attended the regional Beginning Farmer and Rancher training. The Local Foods TDTs is co-chaired by one Extension professional who attended the Regional Training. All three report using resources and knowledge gained from the regional training. Another member of the Regional Training team co-coordinated a series of workshops entitled “Farm Financial Skills for Women in Agriculture” at 32 sites in Kansas in January and February 2020. The sessions attracted over 700 attendees and spawned a self-paced, online series of financial skills lessons that will launch in 2021.

Local Food Successes: The K-State Extension Local Foods Transdisciplinary Team, co-chaired by a member of Team Kansas from the Beginning Farmer Regional Training produced 10 videos under the theme of “Homesteading 911” https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUdL3XGccEJG1gz4ZyUBl23D6YSB5mluS

 

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

Kansas SARE PDP Activities 2019 and 2020

Educational Exhibits

  • Great Plains Growers Conference January 10-12, 2019 and January 9-11, 2020, 500 attendance
  • Kansas Commodity Classic January 24, 2019, 150 attendance
  • Women Managing the Farm Conference, February 7-8, 2019 and 2020, 450 attendance
  • Ag Day Forum at Fort Riley, March 22, 2019, 50 attendance
  • KRC Farm and Food Conference, 2019, 150 attendance
  • Kansas Farmers Union Annual Conference, 2019, 75 attendance

 

Grant Writing Workshops

  • 14th Annual Farmers & Friends Meeting, 2019, 13 attendance
  • KSU Horticulture 796 Class, 2019 – class project was to write a SARE grant, 12 attendance
  • SAVE Grant Writing Workshop, 2019 and 2020, 15 attendance
  • Douglas County SARE Grant Writing Workshop, 2019 20 attendance
  • KSRE Community Development Grant Writing Workshop, 2019, 20 attendance
  • Southeast Kansas Farmers Market Workshop, 2020, 30 attendance

 

Other events with KS SARE presence from short presentations or breakout sessions

  • Playa Lakes Workshop 2019 and 2020, 175 attendance 
  • Winter Grazing Conference, 2019, 70 attendance
  • MANRRS Conference in Kansas City, KS; including SARE farm tour (45 attendance for tour) April 4, 2019
  • 3, one-day tours of small farms in cooperation with KS Farmers Union, Farm Credit Services, and KS AgrAbility, July 22, August 5 & 19, 2019, total attendance 90
  • Host SARE Fellows Tour in October 28-November 1, 2019, 13 attendance
  • K-State Research and Extension Local Foods Transdisciplinary Team virtual meeting presentation, June 17, 2020, 25 attendance
  • Urban Food Systems Virtual Symposium Sponsor Break, October 14, 2020, 15 attendance

 

 

350 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
125 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.