Enhancing the Viability and Profitability of Direct Sales and Agritourism Agripreneurs through Education, Clustering and Networking Opportunities

Final report for NEWVU17-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $44,420.00
Funds awarded in 2018: $44,381.00
Funds awarded in 2019: $44,200.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Grant Recipient: West Virginia University
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
State Coordinator:
Dr. Doolarie Singh-Knights, Ph.D.
West Virginia University
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Project Information

Summary:

Social agripreneurship is gaining much traction in West Virginia (WV) and the US because of increasing social awareness around food issues referred to as the ‘good food movement’. The term ‘social entrepreneurship’ describes businesses with a mission to address social exclusion and empower specific disadvantaged communities or target groups. In WV, we see both beginning and established profit-oriented family farms capitalizing on the concept of social agripreneurship, by creating a variety of farm-to-fork ventures with a strong ‘agvocacy’ and ‘good food’ message

The inclusion of social motives by farms that already face traditional challenges of farm profitability and sustainability has challenged the status quo of extension programming for the food system in WV. These small farms are increasingly interested in how to develop and promote their role as social agripreneurs to further their economic motives. And because these ventures are very small (<$20,000 in annual sales), and geographically challenged with limited market opportunities/ability to effectively capture market opportunities, they are increasingly interested in working together or forming ‘agribusiness clusters’ for financial and social benefits. 

This project addressed the need to build diversity and multi-functionality into extension risk management programs to create a more proactive educational model that meets both financial (profit) goals and social (agvocacy, environmental stewardship, community-building and food security) missions, while also embracing the principles of whole-farm planning and risk-management for all producers. In effect, this proposal addressed the needs of ASPs working with traditional profit-oriented producers, or ASP serving profit-oriented producers that share a social mission.

In Year 1, participants learnt about principles of entrepreneurship, whole-farm planning, and risk management.  In Year 2, the project developed an inventory of existing and potential ‘farm-to-fork’ ventures in four (4) main regions of the state: the Greenbrier Valley, the Potomac Highlands, Huntington-Charleston, and the Eastern Panhandle. Using the Agribusiness Asset Mapping Tool, ASPs learnt how to profile the farm-to-fork business in their region and identify possibilities for building agribusiness alliances/’agribusiness cluster development’.  Year 2 complementary ASP Training included cooperative marketing, hospitality and events planning, ‘agvocacy’, building alliances/agribusiness clusters. In Year 3, ASPs learnt how to develop improved individual ‘farm-to-fork’ ventures, and learnt how to help motivate, support and manage individual farm operators wanting to work cooperatively to create ‘regional agribusiness clusters’. Year 3 ASP complementary training included team-building, strategic planning and organizational development, managing conflicts, and contracts and agreements.

As a result of their participation in this project, 22 ASPs reported working directly with their regional clientele/stakeholders ('Regional Agriculture Working Groups') to advance 'cluster-development' activities, and discuss issues of entrepreneurship, whole-farm planning and risk management with their respective clientele. Their activities to date based on personal communication are 11 factsheets, 223 one-on-one consultations, 3 on-farm demonstrations, 5 online trainings, 15 newsletter article, 6 study circles/focus groups, 3 tours, 27 Presentations, and 11 workshops.

As a result of these educational activities offered by project participants, 118 beginning farmers who manage more than 11,800 acres adopted at least four (4) recommended (specific) actions in entrepreneurship, whole-farm business planning and risk management, community partnerships and strategic planning, and report improved productivity and/or profitability of existing/expanded operations and fulfillment of social goals. Examples include 1) Conduct entrepreneurship and farm-to- fork readiness assessment, prioritize risks and marketing concerns, and develop an appropriate whole-farm plan to be used to further their profit and social motives; 2) Develop whole-farm, enterprise and/or partial budgets, and associated records, to estimate costs, returns, and break-even points, and transactional requirements for a specified farm-to- fork target market; and 3) Initiate a business relationship with a complementary enterprise or a regional agribusiness cluster to implement one aspect of their whole-farm plan.

This program was targeted to agricultural service providers with diverse expertise from various agencies in WV, who work with a variety of farm enterprises representative of WV agricultural landscape. Delivering a comprehensive team-based educational program that can raise the knowledge and skill level of a broad group of ASPs resulted in better service to WV farmers and will ultimately help lead to strengthened WV´s agribusinesses, improved local foods systems, increased community development, and long-term partnerships among agriculture service
providers.

Performance Target:

12 agricultural service providers who gain practical knowledge and skills needed to support farmers who wish to develop farm-to-fork businesses that meet their social values , will confidently design and deliver related educational programs/services, including but not limited to workshops, webinars, educational materials, reading-the-farm tours, individual consultations, mentoring and coaching to 100 social agripreneurs (small scale crop, livestock, and value-added producers with both profit and social motives) who manage more than 10,000 acres of farmland. The ASPs will be supported by 8 farmer leaders in their region.

Introduction:

Social agripreneurship is gaining much traction in West Virginia (WV) and the US because of increasing social awareness around food issues referred to as the ‘good food movement’. The term ‘social entrepreneurship’ was coined by William Drayton and others to describe businesses with a mission to address social exclusion and empower specific disadvantaged communities or target groups. In WV, we see both beginning and established profit-oriented family farms capitalizing on the concept of social agripreneurship, by creating a variety of farm-to-fork ventures with a strong ‘agvocacy’ and ‘good food’ message

The inclusion of social motives by farms that already face traditional challenges of farm profitability and sustainability has challenged the status quo of extension programming for the food system in WV. These small farms are increasingly interested in how to develop and promote their role as social agripreneurs to further their economic motives. And because these ventures are very small (<$20,000 in annual sales), and geographically challenged with limited market opportunities/ability to effectively capture market opportunities, they are increasingly interested in working together or forming ‘agribusiness clusters’ for financial and social benefits. A 2017 needs assessment survey conducted with ASP and producers in WV revealed that, producers generally required continued training and support in whole-farm business planning and risk management (production, price, marketing, legal and human resource risks) to support profit motives. However, a number of new training needs with ‘high importance’ emerged, including entrepreneurship/agripreneurship – understanding new market opportunities; building community partnerships and connections, marketing – new strategies for ‘selling the farm story’; advocacy; and strategic planning – topics that would ensure that social missions align with profit goals. 

This project addresses the need to build diversity and multi-functionality into extension risk management programs to create a more proactive educational model that meets both financial (profit) goals and social (agvocacy, environmental stewardship, community-building and food security) missions, while also embracing the principles of whole-farm planning and risk-management for all producers. In effect, this proposal addresses the needs of ASPs working with traditional profit-oriented producers, or ASP serving profit-oriented producers that share a social mission.

In Year 1, participants continue to learn about principles of entrepreneurship, whole-farm planning, and risk management – topics will include entrepreneurship and business planning, understanding consumer demand, resources assessment, financial analysis and management, legal liability management, marketing, and farm and food safety.

In Year 2, the project will develop an inventory of existing and potential ‘farm-to-fork’ ventures in four (4) main regions of the state: the Greenbrier Valley, the Potomac Highlands, Huntington-Charleston, and the Eastern Panhandle. Using an Agribusiness Asset Mapping Tool, ASPs will learn how to profile the farm-to-fork business in their region; identify gaps in training needs/’farm-to-fork readiness’ (understand the product and market development risks and relationships they must manage as they seek to develop farm-to- fork relationships with various customers and other social agripreneurs; and the transactional requirements to manage those relationships [food safety, insurance needs, guarantees, etc.]); and identify possibilities for building agribusiness alliances/’agribusiness cluster development’. An example of an ‘agribusiness cluster’ is a group of like-minded agribusiness working together to achieve their social and profit missions – WV Mountain Maple Days is a group of related businesses in different regions of WV working together on one weekend in March to bring visitors to their region to buy products and learn about their social contributions. Year 2 complementary ASP Training will include cooperative marketing, hospitality and events planning, ‘agvocacy’, building alliances/agribusiness clusters. Years 2 Farmer Training – ASP will be supported to deliver Year 1 materials with their producers.

In Year 3, ASPs will learn how to develop improved individual ‘farm-to-fork’ ventures, and learn how to help motivate, support and manage individual farm operators wanting to work cooperatively to create ‘regional agribusiness clusters’. Year 3 ASP complementary training will include team-building, strategic planning and organizational development, managing conflicts, and contracts and agreements.

This program is targeted to agricultural service providers with diverse expertise from various agencies in WV, who work with a variety of farm enterprises representative of WV agricultural landscape. Delivering a comprehensive team-based educational program that can raise the knowledge and skill level of a broad group of ASPs will result in better service to WV farmers and ultimately help lead to strengthened WV´s agribusinesses, improved local foods systems, increased community development, and long-term partnerships among agriculture service
providers.

Advisors/Cooperators

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Educational Approach

Educational approach:
  • The project began in 2017 with an introductory webinar that introduced the overall 3-year PDP project, and annual training topics, schedule and format, and participation requirements. The project lead beneficiaries through a comprehensive curriculum on the principles of entrepreneurship, and the business, financial, marketing, legal and hospitality skills needed to help farmers assess farm-to- fork entrepreneurship opportunities and become ready to take advantage of them. Learning activities include an integrated combination of in-person classroom workshops and web-based trainings utilizing a Moodle classroom and discussion forum (years 1 and 2).
  • In October, 2019 (Year 2) beneficiaries had the opportunity to participate in a bus tour of successful farm-to-fork operations in WV and neighboring states (Ohio and Kentucky). Participants engaged in a (mini/mock) ‘Reading the Farm’ activity, and conducted ‘First Impressions’ assessments of direct marketing and agritourism operations. Additional individuals involved in farm-to-fork business, including direct buyers, school foodservice directors, chefs, etc., were among the beneficiaries/participants on the tour to help enhance networking and provide additional opportunities for implementing best practices, networking, and community building.
  • In addition to the workshops and online trainings, in Year 2 (2018-2019) the project initiated the development of an Agribusiness Asset Mapping Tool described above, and taught beneficiaries how to use this tool to help farmers identify business partnership opportunities.
  • Partnerships are especially important for small businesses to combine resources to take advantage of market opportunities. ASPs learned how to develop and support ‘regional agribusiness clusters’ to help their clientele achieve profit and social motives.
  • Each year beneficiaries checked in, either formally or informally with the Project Team, to ask questions and share challenges and successes. An annual focus group was convened for beneficiaries to discuss the progress and evaluate the success of the project to date, and help develop future plans. To further team-building and cross-disciplinary exchanges, project participants were invited to become part of a directory of trained ASPs and farmer-leaders who agree to be available for mutual support and as resources for inquiries from other ASPs and farmers.
  • Finally, a key feature for ensuring that beneficiaries use their new knowledge, skills, and learning resources with farmers, the project offered travel support and stipends to cover meeting expenses for farmer education events conducted by the beneficiaries. Not much of the project funds were utilized in this way because of COVID-19 restrictions on travel and hosting in-person events.

Milestones

Milestone #1 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

October 2017: 45 ASPs and 35 farmer leaders (based on existing list serves/mailing lists) will receive notification about the 3-year project, including learning objectives and performance target, the trainings to be offered, expectations for participants, and incentives for participation (travel support and stipend for educational programs and materials).

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

35

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

45

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

32

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

42

Proposed Completion Date:

October 31, 2017

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

June 30, 2017

Accomplishments:

42 ASPs and 32 farmer leaders (based on existing list serves/mailing lists) received notification about the 3-year project, including learning objectives and performance target, the trainings to be offered, expectations for participants, and incentives for participation (travel support and stipend for educational programs and materials).The Project Team had numerous one-on-one communication with potential participants (ASP, Farmer Leaders) about the project, their role and expected benefits.

Milestone #2 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

November 2017: 25 ASPs and 10 farmers leaders enroll and attend an introductory webinar to learn more details about ‘Enhancing Social Agripreneurs Viability and Profitability through Education, Agribusiness ‘Clustering’ Partnerships and Networking Opportunities’, including how participants can include this project in their annual plan of work, and more details on curriculum and timelines. Participants completed a pre-project survey to assess their current baseline level of knowledge, skills and confidence, and particular learning interests based on client needs.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

10

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

25

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

12

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

21

Proposed Completion Date:

November 30, 2017

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

December 18, 2017

Accomplishments:

21 ASPs and 12 farmers leaders enrolled and attended an introductory webinar to learn more details about ‘Enhancing Social Agripreneurs Viability and Profitability through Education, Agribusiness ‘Clustering’ Partnerships and Networking Opportunities’, including how participants can include this project in their annual plan of work, and more details on curriculum and timelines. Participants completed a pre-project survey to assess their current baseline level of knowledge, skills and confidence, and particular learning interests based on client needs. Overall, pre-survey indicated 100 percent of participants were interested in working with farmers and community groups to help them succeed at direct marketing and agritourism initiatives; 100 percent were interested in receiving training and resources; 66 percent were interested in working directly to train producers with clustering and networking opportunities; and 34 percent were interested in working indirectly to assist producers with clustering and networking opportunities. All priority topics for training as outlined in the proposal were identified as important for the proposed curriculum, that is, each topic was selected by at least 50 percent of respondents. Therefore, the topics as outlined in the NESARE PDP Curriculum (2017-2020) will be included in the curriculum as planned. One outcome of note was the mutual desire between the agriculture ASPs and Tourism ASPs to improve collaboration and partnerships to better serve our clientele; this will be incorporated into the curriculum.

Milestone #3 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

October 2017 – March, 2018: 25 ASPs and 10 farmer leaders receive updates and materials via the project website and Dropbox repository of materials to support agents training, and initiate planning and development of curriculum in entrepreneurship, whole-farm planning and risk management.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

10

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

25

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

10

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

25

Proposed Completion Date:

March 31, 2018

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

September 30, 2018

Accomplishments:

25 ASPs and 10 farmer leaders continue to receive updates and materials (as they develop) via the project website and Dropbox repository of materials to support agents training, and initiate planning and development of curriculum in entrepreneurship, whole-farm planning and risk management. Participants received preliminary technical information on project topics (entrepreneurship, building local food systems, agritourism, etc.); best practices in direct marketing and agritourism; and reporting templates to help them plan their record-keeping and reporting their activities (and those of their farmers).

Additionally, the Project Team has conducted one online event and 2 field days (Moorefield and Morgantown, WV), and many individual consultations, to introduce the project and recruit participants.

Milestone #4 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

April – July, 2018: At least 12 ASPs and 8 farmer leaders participate in ‘Enhancing Viability and Profitability of Direct Markets and Agritourism Agripreneurs’, conducted by project team and independent consultants. Participants will complete general curriculum in entrepreneurship, building community partnerships and strategic planning. This curriculum will comprise the following topics:
a. The Principles of Entrepreneurship in Meeting Market Oriented and Social Goals (covering the 8 Entrepreneurship Life Lessons of the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program) – 8 hour workshop
b. Emerging Farm-to-Table Opportunities and Consumer Demand – 2 hour online training
c. Assessing Your Entrepreneurship and Farm-to-Consumer Potential and Readiness – 2 hour online training
d. The Business-Side of Farm-to-Table Agribusinesses; and Managing Legal Liability, Farm and Food Safety, and Event and Emergency Planning – 8 hour workshop
All online training courses are ‘blended-courses’; there will be synchronous web-conferencing to allow participants and project team to interact and share feedback on course progress.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

8

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

October 20, 2018

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

The general curriculum in "Enhancing Social Agripreneurs Viability and Profitability" has been completed. The strategy for delivering the curriculum training was changed based on requests by ASPs to accommodate their regular schedules and limited time for additional training. As such, the following changes were made:

  • The 'instructor curriculum' was available as a self-study - ASPs received curriculum materials with supporting notes and 'instructor materials' that would allow them to work through the materials independently.
  • Some curriculum topics were addressed as stand-alone webinars and workshops (Women in Agriculture Conference, WV Small Farm Conference, and the WV Governor's Conference on Tourism, to supplement the self-study curriculum materials (11 workshop presentations)
  • Other curriculum topics were incorporated into other state-wide or regional events attended by our core project target group and other ASPs (The WV Agritourism and Direct Marketing Initiative, and Tourism Symposiums at 3 regional locations) - 7 additional workshops. 

This strategy of using a multi-prong approach to deliver project materials to our core group of ASP/Farmer Leaders, as well as others interested in the program topics, help us to reach more audiences with our project (our core group of 12 ASPs, 8 farmer Leaders, and over 100 more individuals).

Milestone #5 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

12 ASPs will apply for project funds (submit plan of work) following training, to help cover the cost of their farmer training events. ASP will apply for project funds (submit plan of work) following training, to help cover the cost of their farmer training events. The ASPs will be supported by 8 farmer leaders in their region.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

1

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

1

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

August 31, 2018

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

Because of the delays in getting the program started, ASPs were not ready to begin programming in their area. They will apply for funds to initiate their programs in 2018-2019.

Update 2018: Although Cluster Development was proposed as a Year 3 activity, there was some momentum to initiate 'regional clusters' around the Mountain State Maple Days, and other areas of interest in WV. 5 ASPs have applied for funds to help their clientele implement and promote their 'regional integration/cluster' initiatives. These activities were mostly around the Mountain State Maple Days Regional Clusters, and other emerging areas ('ramp festival' ; 'farm crawl' and 'open farm days'. ASPs used funds to cover travel, supplies, printing, and refreshments, necessary to work with these initiatives.

More summer regional clusters are being planned, and will continue into Year 3.

Update Dec 2019: To date, 4 ASPs have applied for funds to cover expenses related to their farmer training events (most of these funds have been used by ASPs to cover travel, meeting spaces and promotional materials regarding their events).

Milestone #6 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

June - September, 2018: 12 ASP, 8 Farmer Leaders, and 15 other community stakeholders (direct buyers – food service directors, chefs, etc.) participate in an educational, networking and ‘cluster stimulation’ bus tour of successful farm-to-table operations in WV and neighboring state(s) (likely VA, PA or Ohio), with at least 8 stops. One-day of this tour will be devoted to a ‘Reading the Farm’ effort to help participants understand the farm as a whole-system, and gain an increased level of awareness about farm management parameters to consider when they are making recommendations to help profit- and socially-oriented agripreneurs to manage and sustain their agribusinesses. Other tours will incorporate the ‘First Impressions for Tourism’ program, but adapted for direct marketing and agritourism operations (something being worked on by WVU Extension). Participants will also understand what’s possible and what works in farm-to-table operations and related agribusiness clusters. The tour will also help participants to build a sense of community among farm-to-table stakeholders, through networking and ‘bonding’ on the bus tour. ASPs will apply for project funds (submit plan of work) following training, to help cover the cost of their own ‘Reading the Farm’ training events.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

September 30, 2018

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

This tour was completed in Oct 2019 with 42 participants attending. (See SARE BUS TOUR Booklet).

14 ASPs, 10 Farmer Leaders, and 18 other community stakeholders (direct buyers – food service directors, chefs, etc.) participated in an educational, networking and ‘cluster stimulation’ bus tour of successful farm-to-table operations in WV, OH and KY. One-day of this tour was devoted to a 'mock' ‘Reading the Farm’ exercise to help participants understand the farm and agritourism operation through a whole-farm systems lens. This helped participants to gain an increased level of awareness about farm management parameters to consider when they are making recommendations to help profit- and socially-oriented agripreneurs to manage and sustain their agribusinesses. Other tour stops incorporated concepts from the ‘First Impressions for Tourism’ program, but were adapted for direct marketing and agritourism operations (something being worked on by WVU Extension - Singh-knights as an extension to this project). Participants were also introduced to successful business models of  what’s possible and what works in farm-to-table operations and related agribusiness clusters. The tour also helped participants to build a sense of community among farm-to-table stakeholders, through networking and ‘bonding’ on the bus tour.

3 ASPs applied for project funds (submitted plan of work) following trour, to help cover the cost of their own ‘Reading the Farm’ training events.

Milestone #7 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

October, 2018: 12 ASPs, 8 farmer leaders, and 15 farm-to-table stakeholders as above receive notification, enroll and attend a focus group workshop to discuss the progress and evaluate the success of the project to date, help develop future plans, and begin compilation of directory of trained ASP and farmer leaders that will be available for general contact.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

8

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

October 31, 2018

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

Planning for one focus group meeting have proved difficult, so I have met with the 4 core regional groups (ASPs and their clients) for at least 3-hours each, to discuss their progress on activities to date, evaluate their successes and challenges to date, and to help develop future plans for future initiatives. or example, when meeting with the participants in Mountain State Maple days, we discussed what worked well and what did not, both in terms of their individual operations and how they worked within the 'cluster. As project Team Lead, I continued to meet regularly with the 4 core regional groups and have gotten regular feedback from stakeholders about project progress.

Milestone #8 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Project team complete annual verification and evaluation activities (pre- and post-test comparisons, and annual progress update focus groups) to evaluate project progress and modify activities based on feedback. We will document events and processes against project plan; conduct formal curriculum evaluation; and assess efficacy of the curricula; and assess effectiveness of overall project.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

8

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

October 31, 2018

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

May 2019 -  Surveys covering work completed since 2017 is being completed; completion date is August 2019. We opted to delay the survey until our participants had some tangible activities (and experience regarding these activities) to report on. The current survey will include analysis of the Mountain State Maple Days regional integration effort.

Oct 2019: Evaluation of project to date is completed. Surveys are being analyzed and will be integrated into the final project report. Some current statistics and included at the end of this report.

December 2019 - Evaluation of Regional Cluster Surveys are completed and results are included in the National Presentation - Singh-Knights, D. (Author & Presenter). 2019 AAEA Annual Conference (AAEA Extension), “Harnessing the Power of Community in Agritourism Clusters – Perspectives from both Sides of the Fence.” Atlanta, GA, USA. (August 23, 2019).

Milestone #9 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

November 2018 – January, 2019: Project team develops an ‘Agribusiness Asset Mapping Tool’, and ASP learn how to apply the tool to their regional areas to identify and prioritize farm-to-table enterprises and related assets based on ‘farm-to-table readiness’, and how to digitally map these assets for future product and market development initiatives. While ASPs are the main beneficiary here, other project participants (Farmer Leaders, Farmers and other Community Stakeholders) will also be invited to the workshop, as their input is necessary to building a complete asset map. – 4 Hour Workshop – estimated 35 participants

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

5

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

4

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

5

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

4

Proposed Completion Date:

January 31, 2019

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

January 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

Project team completed development of the ‘Agribusiness Asset Mapping Tool’. ASPs attended two 'Go-to-Training' sessions and GIS Expert Jackie Strager guided them through the mapping tool. Participants learned how to apply the tool to their regional areas to identify and prioritize farm-to-table enterprises and related assets based on ‘farm-to-table readiness’, and how to digitally map these assets for future product and market development initiatives. ASP and Farmer Leaders are now working with their constituents to populate the asset map. The Asset Map is the result of 5 individual databases being collected and populated (Produce, Livestock, Specialty Products, Agritourism, and Craft Beverages). The Asset Map includes the following:

- Business Information - Name, address, Contact info, website/social media

- Business Category - Accommodations, Arts and Culture, Community Resources, Emergency Services, Food and Drink, Historical sites, Recreation/leisure, Services, Retail/shopping

- Types of markets (direct sales, on-farm sales, agritourism [education, entertainment, accommodations, recreation])

- Types of products offerings - fresh fruits and vegetables, value-added products, arts, crafts and other artisan products.

- Farm-to-table readiness - formal hospitality training, farm and food safety training, partnerships and alliances, marketing, etc.

Milestone #10 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

February - May 2019: 12 ASPs, supported by 8 farmer leaders, work with Project Team to implement ‘Asset Mapping’ tool in their regional areas and work with aspiring, beginning and experiences producers in their targeted regions to populate asset map with information and attributes about the business (from primary data collection or updating with existing data). Resultant asset map will show inventory of existing or proposed agribusinesses in each of the 4 regions (the Greenbrier Valley, the Potomac Highlands, Huntington-Charleston, and the Eastern Panhandle), and an assessment of their ‘farm-to-table’ readiness.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

8

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

December 30, 2020

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

November 30, 2021

Accomplishments:

ASP and Farmer Leaders worked with their constituents to populate the asset map on an ongoing basis as new businesses were identified. We started with the core project regions ( (the Greenbrier Valley, the Potomac Highlands, Huntington-Charleston, and the Eastern Panhandle), but asset mapping project may extend to other areas of WV. We attempted to integrate efforts from other entities (WVDA, WVU's School of Economics, and Div of Tourism) to add different entities/layers to the map. This will help ensure that when clusters are being designed, stakeholders can draw from a diverse set of businesses for possible delivery of (agri)tourism services.

The database being collected and populated on the asset map includes the following:

  • Business Information
  • Name, address, Contact info, website/social media
  • Business Category - Accommodations, Arts and Culture, Community Resources, Emergency Services, Food and Drink, Historical sites, Recreation/leisure, Services, Retail/shopping
  • Types of markets (direct sales, on-farm sales, agritourism [education, entertainment, accommodations, recreation])
  • Types of products offerings - fresh fruits and vegetables, value-added products, arts, crafts and other artisan products.
  • Farm-to-table readiness - formal hospitality training, farm and food safety training, partnerships and alliances, marketing, etc.

The final Asset Map has both a service provider interface (to help ASPs tailor their training and development activities based on information gleaned from asset map analysis) and a public interface (to help buyers and consumers connect to move the local food system forward).

Milestone #11 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

June - July, 2019: Project team use Asset Map and GIS spatial analysis techniques to identify gaps in ‘farm-to-table readiness’; potential business linkages between agribusiness based on their complementarity; and potential ‘agribusiness cluster’ opportunities in production and/or marketing. This analysis will enable ASPs and producers to determine agribusiness sites and regional areas for additional training and technical support efforts, and for regional agribusiness ‘cluster’ development. This analysis will be shared to enable ASPs and producers to determine agribusiness sites and regional areas for additional training and technical support efforts, and for regional agribusiness ‘cluster’ development. While ASPs are the main beneficiary here, other project participants (Farmer Leaders, Farmers and other Community Stakeholders) will also be invited to the workshop, as their input is necessary to building agribusiness clusters. 4 Hour Workshop - estimated 35 participants.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

4

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

7

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

4

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

7

Proposed Completion Date:

September 30, 2019

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

December 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

ASP and Farmer Leaders are now working with their constituents to populate the Agritourism Asset Map. Once this is completed, the team will use the database/Asset Map and GIS spatial analysis techniques to identify gaps in ‘farm-to-table readiness’; potential business linkages between agribusiness based on their complementarity; and potential ‘agribusiness cluster’ opportunities in production and/or marketing. This analysis will enable ASPs and producers to determine agribusiness sites and regional areas for additional training and technical support efforts, and for regional agribusiness ‘cluster’ development.

Our GIS specialist will assist with these spatial analysis techniques and related training.

One formal training workshop was conducted in Sept 2019 to demonstrate the use of the Asset Map for stakeholder clustering activity. Several areas were identified as having gaps in 'farm-to-table' readiness training, or areas that have potential for improved linkages between agribusiness based on their complementarity, or areas with potential ‘agribusiness cluster’ opportunities in production and/or marketing. These areas fall within the scope of our previously identified Core Regional Focus Areas, so our ASPs will continue to focus their farmer training events in these areas (Potomac Highlands, Eastern Panhandle, Greenbrier Valley and Huntington-Charleston). 

Milestone #12 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

August – October, 2019: 12 ASPs and 8 farmer leaders participate in ‘Farm-to-Table Readiness and Regional Agribusiness Cluster Development’ training to understand the results of the Asset Mapping activity; and to understand the market development risks and relationships small agribusinesses must manage as they seek to develop farm-to-table relationships with various customers and other social agripreneurs; and the transactional requirements necessary to manage those relationships. The Year 2 curriculum will address the following topics:
a. Innovative Marketing Strategies for Farm-to-Table Enterprises – 4 hour online training
b. Hospitality Training and Management; Strategic Planning, and Building Meaningful Partnerships with Producers and Consumers – 8 hour workshop in 3 convenient regional areas (3 Workshops)

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

8

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

April 30, 2021

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

September 30, 2021

Accomplishments:

This curriculum has been developed. One online training was completed in November of 2019 on Innovative Marketing Strategies, and the Hospitality Management trainings were conducted in the 4 core regional areas as described above. The online training was completed in 2020.

The regional workshops were constrained due to COVID-19 restrictions on trainings, and were initially postponed to wait until they could be conducted in person because of the 'interactive' nature of the subject matter. However, because of continued COVID-19 restrictions on in-person training, this short course was conducted in 2021 as a virtual training with some self-study components.

12 ASPs and 8 farmer leaders participated in ‘Farm-to-Table Readiness and Regional Agribusiness Cluster Development’ virtual short-course training to understand the results of the Asset Mapping activity; and to understand the market development risks and relationships small agribusinesses must manage as they seek to develop farm-to-table relationships with various customers and other social agripreneurs; and the transactional requirements necessary to manage those relationships. This short-course addressed the following topics (with some changes from the original proposal):

  1. Innovative Marketing Strategies for Farm-to-Table Enterprises – 2 hour online training
  2. Hospitality Training and Management; Strategic Planning, and Building Meaningful Partnerships with Producers and Consumers – 3 hour workshop for 4 regional area (cluster) groups (4 Workshops)
Milestone #13 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

August – October, 2019: 12 ASPs will apply for project funds (submit plan of work) following training, to help cover the cost of their farmer training events. By having the service providers work with farmers throughout the project, they can transfer new learning and practice new skills immediately as they help farmers achieve specific benchmarks and goals. ASP identify people to work with on clusters.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

8

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

April 30, 2021

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2021

Accomplishments:

Although Cluster Development was proposed as a Year 3 activity, there was some momentum to initiate 'regional clusters' around the Mountain State Maple Days, and other areas of interest in WV. In 2019, 5 ASPs applied for funds to help their clientele implement and promote their 'regional integration/cluster' initiatives. These activities were mostly around the Mountain State Maple Days Regional Clusters, and other emerging areas ('ramp festival' ; 'farm crawl' and 'open farm days'). ASPs used funds to cover travel, supplies, printing, and refreshments, necessary to work with these initiatives. Three (3) additional ASPs applied for project funds to conduct clustering activities in March of 2020, but these events were cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Overall, 8 ASPs have used project funds to help organize 'direct marketing. agritourism and regional cluster events' with their constituents. As a result of this project, the following events have been conducted from 2018-2021:

  • 7 farm-to-table dinners involving 'clusters of producers' in 4 regions (Potomac Highlands, Northern Panhandle, Preston County, Greenbrier Valley)
  • Mountain State Maple Days (2018, 2019, 2021) with 9 total regional cluster events
  • 8 other cluster events (including the Preston County Farm Crawl - 2 years, the Alderson HOOT - 1 year, Potomac Highlands Farm Bus Tour - 1 year)
  • Stakeholder groups to further cluster activity in the state (WV Agritourism Association, WV Cider Advisory Board, Potomac Highlands Creative Economy Action Council), and worked with other groups to further their planning activities in their region or the state (WV Maple Producers Association, WV Veterans group - Welcome Home Program, Brooke County Tourism Group)
Milestone #14 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

October, 2019: 12 ASPs; 8 farmer leaders, and 10 selected ‘Regional Agribusiness Cluster’ stakeholders from the identified regions, receive notification, enroll and attend a focus group workshop to discuss the progress and evaluate the success of the project to date, help develop future plans, and update compilation of directory of trained ASP and farmer leaders that will be available for general contact. 4 Hour Focus Group Workshop.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

10

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

14

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

10

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

14

Proposed Completion Date:

October 31, 2019

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

A Focus Group evaluation session was conducted in Oct, 2019 (prior to the Bus Tour) to gauge project progress and evaluate the success of the project to date, and help develop future plans for Year 3 of Project.  14 ASPs; 10 farmer leaders, and 18 selected ‘Regional Agribusiness Cluster’ stakeholders participated in the Focus Group session.

Milestone #15 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Project team complete annual verification and evaluation activities (pre- and post-test comparisons, and annual progress update focus groups) to evaluate project progress and modify activities based on feedback. We will document events and processes against project plan; conduct formal curriculum evaluation; and assess efficacy of the curricula; and assess effectiveness of overall project.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

October 31, 2019

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

A formal survey on regional integration initiatives was designed and conducted. Evaluation of project to date is completed. Surveys are being analyzed and will be integrated into the final project report. Some current statistics are included at the end of this report. The Project team will continue to conduct evaluations of project activities as they occur, and complete end-of-project evaluations after our participants have had some tangible activities (and experience regarding these activities) to report on. The current survey will include analysis of the 2020 Mountain State Maple Days regional integration effort.

Milestone #16 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

In 2019, we will complete the 'Bus Tour' as was proposed for Year 1. 12 ASP, 8 Farmer Leaders, and 15 other community stakeholders (direct buyers – food service directors, chefs, etc.) participate in an educational, networking and ‘cluster stimulation’ bus tour of successful farm-to-table operations in WV and neighboring state(s) (likely VA, PA or Ohio), with at least 8 stops. One-day of this tour will be devoted to a ‘Reading the Farm’ effort to help participants understand the farm as a whole-system, and gain an increased level of awareness about farm management parameters to consider when they are making recommendations to help profit- and socially-oriented agripreneurs to manage and sustain their agribusinesses. Other tours will incorporate the ‘First Impressions for Tourism’ program, but adapted for direct marketing and agritourism operations (something being worked on by WVU Extension). Participants will also understand what’s possible and what works in farm-to-table operations and related agribusiness clusters. The tour will also help participants to build a sense of community among farm-to-table stakeholders, through networking and ‘bonding’ on the bus tour. ASPs will apply for project funds (submit plan of work) following training, to help cover the cost of their own ‘Reading the Farm’ training events.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

27

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

27

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

15

Proposed Completion Date:

October 31, 2019

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2019

Accomplishments:

Bus tour completed with 42 participants. This tour was designed with educators/service providers (tourism, agriculture, EXTENSION, CVB’s, community development) and agritourism operators (aspiring, beginning, mid-level) in mind. The stops enabled participants to get a first-hand perspective of how successful operations combine agriculture, direct-marketing, education, entertainment and social interactions on their operations to improve their profitability and cash flow positions. 

Through the process of immersion, learnt directly from their peers, and were able to experience their onsite signage, experience their agritourism and direct-marketing activities and hospitality, and hear from them about their business models, key partnerships, marketing strategies, farm safety and liability best practices, and the policies and programs that support their work. Participants also learn from some of them about their participation in agritourism and agribusiness clusters and discovered what it takes to make a vibrant agritourism destination.

Milestone #17 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

October, 2019 - January, 2020: Project team conducts team-building, strategic planning and organizational development, managing conflicts, and contracts and agreements training for 12 ASP, 8 farmer leaders and 6 sets of ‘regional cluster’ stakeholders (including agribusiness and other regional entrepreneurs interested in clustering with other entities) – 8 hour workshop.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

32

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

14

Proposed Completion Date:

January 31, 2020

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

January 17, 2020

Accomplishments:

Two regional 5-hour trainings were completed in 2020 with 9 ASPs, 7 farmer leaders and 13 regional cluster stakeholders in attendance. Topics covered included team-building, strategic planning and organizational development, managing conflicts, and contracts and agreements.

Two other trainings were planned for April, 2020, but were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Materials from the first set of trainings were disseminated to others via online platform as part of self-study short course - 5 ASP and 11 Farmer Leaders/Other Stakeholders completed short-course). 

Milestone #18 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

February - June, 2020: Project team and subject matter specialist assist ASP and Farmer Leaders with the formation of at least 4 ‘regional agribusiness clusters’ in counties where there are a number of farmers engaged in existing farm-to-fork businesses and interested in working collectively with others in a ‘regional cluster’. 12 ASP and 8 Farmer Leaders, and 6 sets of ‘regional cluster’ stakeholders will receive technical assistance in initial strategic planning, establishing key leaders and working policies, etc. Each cluster will operate independently from project team in 6 months – 2 3-hour workshop at each of 4 locations.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

20

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

September 30, 2021

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2021

Accomplishments:

Two 3-hour online workshops were conducted in 2020 instead of the planned face-to-face regional workshops, just to keep the participants engaged in the project during the shut-down. Instead of focusing on strategic planning, establishing key leaders and working policies for clustering activities, the sessions were mostly focused on helping direct marketers and agritourism operators to focus on health, safety and crisis management in the short term, and on marketing and communication strategies as they prepare for the recovery phases and ‘new normal’ in local food and agritourism opportunities as a result of the COVID_19 pandemic.

We will complete these activities as planned as soon as we are allowed to reconvene group trainings.

In 2021, the project team assisted ASP and Farmer Leaders to conduct numerous direct marketing, agritourism and cluster events in their regions. Because of ongoing pandemic restrictions or cautiousness on face-to-face gatherings,  most regional groups received individual (virtual and in-person) technical assistance in topics including strategic planning, establishing key leaders and working policies, and the logistics of organizing their events.

The following activities were achieved from 2018-2021:

  • 7 farm-to-table dinners involving 'clusters of producers' in 4 regions (Potomac Highlands, Northern Panhandle, Preston County, Greenbrier Valley)
  • Mountain State Maple Days (2018, 2019, 2021) with 9 total regional cluster events
  • 8 other cluster events (including the Preston County Farm Crawl - 2 years, the Alderson HOOT - 1 year, Potomac Highlands Farm Bus Tour - I year)
  • Stakeholder groups to further cluster activity in the state (WV Agritourism Association, WV Cider Advisory Board, Potomac Highlands Creative Economy Action Council), and worked with other groups to further their planning activities in their region or the state (WV Maple Producers Association, WV Veterans group - Welcome Home Program, Brooke County Tourism Group)
Milestone #19 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

March- August, 2020: ASPs and Farmer Leaders will apply for project funds (submit plan of work) following training, and Project Team, ASP and Farmer Leaders will help train at least four (4) ‘farm-to-table’-ready regional agribusiness clusters to develop and promote their agribusiness clusters to various buyers (schools, restaurants, institutions, etc.) and customers (residents and visitors). 2 3-hour workshop at each of 4 locations.

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

4

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

20

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

September 30, 2021

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2021

Accomplishments:

Two ASPs had requested funds to assist with regional clusters for the Mountain State Maple Days event - March 22, 2020. Unfortunately, these and subsequent events were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. APS and farmer leaders are working virtually to help plan for regional cluster events within the next year as proposed for this project.

In 2021, the project team assisted ASP and Farmer Leaders to conduct numerous direct marketing, agritourism and cluster events in their regions. Because of ongoing pandemic restrictions or cautiousness on face-to-face gatherings, most regional groups received individual (virtual and in-person) technical assistance in topics including strategic planning, establishing key leaders and working policies, and the logistics or organizing their events. The following activities were achieved from 2018-2021:

  • 7 farm-to-table dinners involving 'clusters of producers' in 4 regions (Potomac Highlands, Northern Panhandle, Preston County, Greenbrier Valley)
  • Mountain State Maple Days (2018, 2019, 2021) with 9 total regional cluster events
  • 8 other cluster events (including the Preston County Farm Crawl - 2 years, the Alderson HOOT - 1 year, Potomac Highlands Farm Bus Tour - I year)
  • Stakeholder groups to further cluster activity in the state (WV Agritourism Association, WV Cider Advisory Board, Potomac Highlands Creative Economy Action Council), and worked with other groups to further their planning activities in their region or the state (WV Maple Producers Association, WV Veterans group - Welcome Home Program, Brooke County Tourism Group)
Milestone #20 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

July - September, 2020: Participants respond to Year 3 evaluations and verification surveys about overall project effectiveness and farmers impacts

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

20

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

September 30, 2021

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 29, 2021

Accomplishments:

12 ASPs and 8 farmer leaders and 13 selected farm-to-table stakeholders responded to Year 3&4 (2020-2021) evaluations and verification surveys about overall project effectiveness and farmers impacts.

Participants were surveyed to determine their responses to the following questions, as they worked with their respective constituents or communities:

  • What were the motivations for engaging in the project
  • What were the biggest issues affecting direct marketing, agritourism and cluster events in your area
  • What were the factors involved in groups/individuals 'cluster' decisions
  • What were the benefits of participating in a regional cluster event
  • What were the 'keys to success' for participating in a 'cluster' event
  • ASPs Competency and Training Needs for Direct Marketing, Agritourism and Cluster Events (based on specific topics/practices) - Importance of topic/practice and how competent they feel post-project
  • Farmer Leaders Competency and Training Needs for Direct Marketing, Agritourism and Cluster Events (based on specific topics/practices) - Importance of topic/practice and how competent they feel post-project
  • Overall feedback on project

 

Milestone #21 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

October 2021: 12 ASPs; 8 farmer leaders and 10 selected farm-to-table stakeholders, enroll and attend a focus group workshop to discuss the progress and evaluate the success of the project to date, help develop future plans, and update compilation of directory of trained ASP and farmer leaders that will be available for general contact.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:

8

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:

12

Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:

8

Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:

12

Proposed Completion Date:

October 31, 2021

Status:

Completed

Date Completed:

October 31, 2021

Accomplishments:

In 2021, 12 ASPs and 8 farmer leaders and 13 selected farm-to-table stakeholders, enrolled and attended a virtual workshop to discuss the progress and evaluate the success of the project to date, help develop future plans, and update compilation of directory of trained ASP and farmer leaders that will be available for general contact.

Milestone Activities and Participation Summary

Educational activities conducted by the project team:

ActivityYear 1Year 2Year 3Total
Consultations 25 42 150 217
Curricula, factsheets or educational tools 4 9 10 23
On-farm demonstrations 2 7 7 16
Online trainings 4 8 5 17
Published press articles, newsletters 3 6 4 13
Study circle / focus groups 3 2 3 8
Tours 0 1 0 1
Webinars, talks and presentations 8 11 4 23
Workshop / field days 2 9 0 11

Beneficiaries who participated in the project’s educational activities and events:

AudienceYear 1Year 2Year 3Total Individuals
Extension 10 10 12 12
NRCS 1 1 1 1
Researchers 1 1 1 1
Nonprofit 4 4 4 4
Agency 4 4 4 4
Farmers / ranchers 20 27 118 118
Others 0 15 15 15

Participation Summary:

22 Number of agricultural educator or service providers reached through education and outreach activities

Learning Outcomes

22 Agricultural service providers reported changes in knowledge, skills and/or attitudes as a result of their participation.
118 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
12 Ag service providers intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned through this project in their educational activities and services for farmers

Performance Target Outcomes

Performance Target Outcomes - Service Providers

Target #1

Target: Number of service providers who will take action to educate/advise farmers:
12
Target: The educational action(s) they will take:

12 agricultural service providers who gain practical knowledge and skills needed to support farmers who wish to develop farm-to-fork businesses that meet their social values , will confidently design and deliver related educational programs/services, including but not limited to workshops, webinars, educational materials, reading-the-farm tours, individual consultations, mentoring and coaching to 100 social agripreneurs (small scale crop, livestock, and value-added producers with both profit and social motives) who manage more than 10,000 acres of farmland. The ASPs will be supported by 8 farmer leaders in their region.

Target: The number of farmers who will be educated/advised by the service providers:
100
Target: Total size/scale of the farms these farmers manage (e.g. total acres or animal units managed, gross sales or production volume, etc.):

10,000 acres

Verified: Number of service providers who reported taking the targeted action(s) to educate/advise farmers in each year:
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
12 15 22
The educational action(s) taken:

22 agricultural service providers who gain practical knowledge and skills needed to support farmers who wish to develop farm-to-fork businesses that meet their economic missions and social values, have confidently designed and delivered related educational programs/services, including but not limited to workshops, webinars, educational materials, reading-the-farm tours, individual consultations, mentoring and coaching to 100 social agripreneurs (small scale crop, livestock, and value-added producers with both profit and social motives) who manage more than 10,000 acres of farmland. An additional 12 ASPs indicated their intention to use project materials to work with their constituents in the next year. The ASPs were supported by 23 farmer leaders in their region.

Verified: The number of farmers who were educated/advised by the service providers:
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
25 75 118
Verified: Total size/scale of the farms these farmers manage (e.g. total acres or animal units managed, gross sales or production volume, etc.):
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3

2500

7500

11800

Activities for farmers conducted by service providers:
ActivityYear 1Year 2Year 3Total
Curricula, factsheets and other educational tools 2 3 6 11
Consultations 12 11 200 223
On-farm demonstrations 0 1 2 3
Online trainings 0 0 5 5
Published press, articles, newsletters 1 2 12 15
Study circles / focus groups 0 0 6 6
Tours 0 0 3 3
Webinars, talks and presentations 6 5 16 27
Workshops and field days 0 2 9 11
22 Total number of 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
118 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Total amount of production these farmers manage:
11800
Performance target outcome for service providers narrative:

22 ASP reported working directly with their regional clientele/stakeholders ('Regional Agriculture Working Groups') to advance 'cluster-development' activities, and discuss issues of entrepreneurship, whole-farm planning and risk management with their respective clientele. Their activities to date based on personal communication are 11 factsheets, 223 one-on-one consultations, 3 on-farm demonstrations, 5 online trainings, 15 newsletter article, 6 study circles/focus groups, 3 tours, 27 Presentations, and 11 workshops.

Performance Target Outcomes - Farmers

Target #1

Target: number of farmers who will make a change/adopt of practice:

50

Target: the change or adoption the farmers will make:

50 beginning farmers who manage more than 5,000 acres adopt at least four (4) recommended actions in entrepreneurship, whole-farm business planning and risk management, community partnerships and strategic planning, and report improved productivity and/or profitability of existing/expanded operations and fulfillment of social goals. Examples include:
• Conduct entrepreneurship and farm-to- fork readiness assessment, prioritize risks and marketing concerns, and develop an appropriate whole-farm plan to be used to further their profit and social motives; or
• Develop whole-farm, enterprise and/or partial budgets, and associated records, to estimate costs, returns, and break-even points, and transactional requirements for a specified farm-to- fork target market; or
• Initiate a business relationship with a complementary enterprise or a regional agribusiness cluster to implement one aspect of their whole-farm plan.

Target: total size/scale of farmers these farmers manage:

5,000 acres

Verified: number of farmers who made a change/adopted a practice:

118

Verified: the change or adoption the farmers made:

118 beginning farmers who manage more than 11,800 acres adopted at least four (4) recommended (specific) actions in entrepreneurship, whole-farm business planning and risk management, community partnerships and strategic planning, and report improved productivity and/or profitability of existing/expanded operations and fulfillment of social goals.

Examples include:
• Conduct entrepreneurship and farm-to- fork readiness assessment, prioritize risks and marketing concerns, and develop an appropriate whole-farm plan to be used to further their profit and social motives; or
• Develop whole-farm, enterprise and/or partial budgets, and associated records, to estimate costs, returns, and break-even points, and transactional requirements for a specified farm-to- fork target market; or
• Initiate a business relationship with a complementary enterprise or a regional agribusiness cluster to implement one aspect of their whole-farm plan.

Verified: size/scale of farms these farmers manage:

11800

118 Farmers made a change/adopted a practice as a result of this project
Size/scale of farms affected by this project:
11,800

Additional Project Outcomes

Number of grants applied for that built upon this project:
Year 1Year 2Year 3Total
1 1 6 8
Number of grants received that built upon this project:
Year 1Year 2Year 3Total
1 1 5 7
Dollar amount of grants received:
Year 1Year 2Year 3Total
$24500 $345000 $660000 $1029500
Number of new working collaborations:
Year 1Year 2Year 3Total
1 5 7 13

SARE Outreach

Outreach about SARE:
  • NESARE display and information sharing:
    • WVUES Small Ruminant Project Short-Course – Nov. 2017
    • WVUES Dinner Meetings – Jan – March, 2018; Jan-Mar, 2019
    • WVUES Small Farms Conference - March 2018, Feb 2019
    • WVES County Faculty Meeting - April, 20198
    • WVUES Tri-State Conference or Urban Agriculture Conference – April, 2018, May 2019
    • WV Women in Agriculture Conference - Preparation for Display - Nov. 2018
    • Email Communication - weekly email for updates
    • Personal Communication - as requested (over 25 in 2018-2019)
  • Respond to inquiries about SARE grant programs and resources in a timely manner
  • Promote SARE-sponsored events
  • Promote outcomes, educational resources and project profiles or stories from SARE-funded projects
  • Help strengthen sustainable agriculture networks in the state or region.
  • Restructuring NESARE-WVU website for rollout in Spring 2019

Recieved information about SARE grant programs and information resouces:

Audience Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Total
Service providers 25 22 0 47
Farmers 50 55 0 105

Information Products

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.