The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) aims to advance sustainable agriculture knowledge and increase the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices. Each of the four SARE regions works towards accomplishing the goals primarily through grants and support for educational projects and activities. Periodic assessments are conducted in each region in order to measure how well the various grant programs are meeting the short, medium and long-term outcomes. This study evaluated results for two grant programs implemented in the Western Region–Western SARE Farmer/Rancher grant program and Western SARE Agricultural Professional plus Producer grant program. This study conducted surveys of grant principal investigators (2004 to 2008)to assess the the implementation, outcomes, impacts and reach of their grant funded project.
The purpose of the survey was to evaluate how well these grant programs are meeting the short, medium and long-term goals. Grantees were asked to reflect on project implementation and outcomes and to assess the impacts and reach of their project.
In January 2011-May 2011, the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC) at Washington State University conducted a mixed mode internet/mail survey of grantees of two grant programs in the Western SARE region; the Farmer/Rancher Grant Program and the Agricultural Professional plus Producer Grant Program.
Survey questionnaires tailored to each grant program were used to gain information from grantees. A multi-mode sequence of contacts, including email and postal contacts, and also internet completion.
Responses from grantees covered 18 states and territories. Grantees provided ratings related to: implementation and timing of new ideas or technology, project achieving expected outcomes, the types of projects completed, the roles of their technical advisors and direct involvement of farmers or ranchers. Grantees also reported the extension and reach of educational activities.
Grantees were asked to reflect on project implementation and outcomes and to assess the impacts and reach of their project. They were also asked to provide feedback on the Western SARE grant process. The completion rate for the survey was 73% or 88 completed or partially completed surveys out of 121 eligible respondents.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Areas needing additional study
Direct contact and interviews with farmers and ranchers that were the extended audience (not directly involved) for project reach and impact have not been surveyed. Most information collected is second hand reporting. It would be beneficial to find out directly from farmers that learned about a new technology/practice by word of mouth or observance how well they received information, whether the information was complete on the new practice and how well it worked for them. It would also be useful to find out the adoption rate regionally and barriers to implementation across a region once adoption of technology has spread.