Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Training Program - Professional Development Program 2021-22 Model State Program

Final report for SNC21-001

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2021: $22,222.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2023
Grant Recipient: North Carolina State University
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
State Coordinator:
Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton
North Carolina State University
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Project Information


North Carolina SARE (NC SARE) is a collaborative effort from North Carolina State University (NCSU)
and North Carolina Agriculture & Technical State University (NCA&T). NC SARE promotes sustainable
agriculture in North Carolina and supports sustainable agriculture trainings for agriculture professionals,
which include North Carolina Cooperative Extension (NCCE) professionals and other educators defined by
Southern SARE. NC SARE offers sustainable agriculture trainings primarily through competitive travel
scholarships. These travel scholarships benefit agriculture professionals at all levels, as educators may apply
for trainings that best suit their service regions/counties’ needs and resources, as well as their own level of
expertise. Applications for technical and educational training in any area of sustainable agriculture can be

Project Objectives:

NC SARE will consider scholarship applications for both in-state and out-state trainings. Possible
trainings may include, but not limited to, the annual Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Sustainable
Agriculture Conference (CFSA SAC), the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) Workshops,
the NC Choices’ Carolina Meat Conference/ Women Working in the Meat Industry (CMC/WIM), and
NCSU and NCA&T Field Days. NC SARE also offers the NC SARE Outstanding NCCE Educator award, in
partnership with CFSA. This year, NC SARE will begin providing competitive funding to Extension
Educators to provide a focused training to NCCE agents in a topic of sustainable agriculture. Guided by the
Advisory Council, NC SARE has been a visible presence in NC sustainable agriculture and publicizing
events through its website, the NC Extension portal, and providing sustainable agriculture educational
materials, such as SARE publications, to trainers.


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Dr. Chris Reberg Horton (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Sanjun Gu (Educator and Researcher)
  • Debbie Hamrick (Educator)
  • Craig Mauney (Educator and Researcher)
  • John Beck (Educator)
  • Karen McSwain (Educator)
  • Dr. Jim Hamilton (Educator and Researcher)
  • Davon Goodwin (Educator)


Educational approach:

Our program is to provide travel scholarships to allow agents and other agriculture professionals to attend training workshops/conferences/field days/etc and funds to program organizations that will allow them to enhance the presentation via, speakers, hands on intensives, equipment to present, etc.  We also provide some funding for printing materials to advertise or provide educational materials at field days and other programs beneficial to sustainable agriculture in North Carolina.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Sustainable Agriculture

Provide travel awards for agriculture professionals to attend educational / training opportunities that will allow them to more effectively address the challenges of the agriculture communities across the state.


Travel awards are provided to increase educational opportunities to agents and agricultural professionals for training to more effectively provide for the farmers, growers, producers in North Carolina.  This provides for increased awareness of sustainable agriculture and it's importance and communicating information to improve the future of agriculture.

Outcomes and impacts:

With in person programming coming back, we were able to provide training opportunities for approximate 90 agents that allows them to impact farmers, growers, and producers in all 100 counties in North Carolina.  Additionally, funding was given to enhance some programming and many agents expressed the importance of that, especially the hands on initiatives, allowing for engaging and impactful training opportunities.

Educational & Outreach Activities

40 Consultations
70 Travel Scholarships
2 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

50 Extension
4 Nonprofit
4 Agency
100 Farmers/ranchers
20 Others

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

25 New working collaborations
43 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
Additional Outcomes:

This years funds were used to support agents through scholarship for registration and/or travel.

For CSFA - support of 23 agents, from evaluation respondents:  89% gained new high quality information to incorporate into their regular programming and events.  100% plant to use information gained from the conference to answer client questions. 45% plan to use information in their outgoing newsletters and/or other media outlets.  44% will conduct consultations due to gained knowledge;  89% made new contacts for future collaborations,  89% said they will be able to deliver new programming from training.  100% felt they gained important and relevant training and 100% felt the hands on / intensives were extremely beneficial.   SARE funding was also used to support 6 presenters / speaker for the hands on/ intensive sections.

Farm Succession:   NC SARE provided funds for 20 agents to be certified in NC Farm Succession Coordinator training.  This was a new program and our support helped them get a good turn out in an area needed as 50% of the farmers in North Carolina are 65 or older.  It addressed strategies for working with farm families, providing facilitation tools to guide the planning process, insight into barriers to farm succession planning.  The course was approved for 16.75 CLE credits and this training met the need to take the Certified Farm Succession Coordinator exam.

For OCLC - support for 17 attendees through travel scholarships.  Of evaluation respondents 14% anticipate being able to create new programming, 85% feel better informed to answer client questions,  71% made contacts for future programming collaborations, and 57% will be adding content to existing programming and events.  Additionally SARE provided support for 6 speakers/presenters to enhance the conference.

NC Choices - Next Level Marketing Strategies for Local, Niche Meat Business.  NC SARE provided scholarship to 30 agents to participate in this conference.  Of evaluation respondents: 100% of respondents said this program was on target for their needs as an agricultural trainer allowing them to be better equipped to answer client questions.  57% of respondents plan on using information gained in newsletters or other media outlets.  86% of respondents will incorporate knowledge gained into their regular programming.  57% of respondents made new contacts for future collaborations.  57% of respondents plan on creating new programming due to information from this conference.

For Common Food Strategies:  SARE provided for 2 speakers with travel awards so the CFS enhance and expand the programming.  This workshop brought together xxx extension agents and food system community leaders to engage together working on innovative solutions  better assist community food systems.


Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

NC SARE provides support for extension agents and agriculture professional in travel scholarships.  The North Carolina community has many excellent and beneficial programs and our support allows for trainers to participate.  In addition we work with event programmers and provide support to help enrich or expand the offerings at these conferences in a way that will benefits agents and farmers.  We work with these event /program organizers to promote NC SARE and the opportunities we provide for them.

100 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
90 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.