Agroforestry Training and Resources for Natural Resource Professionals in Washington and Oregon

Progress report for WPDP23-005

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $99,777.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2026
Host Institution Award ID: G114-24-W9986
Grant Recipient: Center for Rural Livelihoods / Resilience Permaculture Design LLC
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Abel Kloster
Center for Rural Livelihoods / Resilience Permaculture Design LLC
Carrie Brausieck
Snohomish Conservation District
Patrick Shults
Washington State University, ANR Extension Unit
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Project Information


Agroforestry is emerging as a valuable solution to seemingly opposing land use issues and demands in the Pacific Northwest. Innovative farmers in our region are adopting agroforestry and showing how this land use is both sustainable and resilient while also increasing habitat and restoration goals in Washington and Oregon. 

This project combines in-person and online educational content including farm field days, webinars, videos, and a handbook for agroforestry planning and design to increase capacity to plan and implement agroforestry across Oregon and Washington. Following on successful models in the Midwest and the Northeast, this project builds capacity for state agencies to support a burgeoning interest in agroforestry from producers throughout the region and add a critical tool to the suite of practices promoted for climate smart agriculture in our region.

This project is a collaboration between working farms, agroforestry practitioners, and state conservation agencies to provide training in regionally specific agroforestry practices for natural resource professionals. The project team is creating videos in collaboration with farmers to highlight agroforestry systems in Oregon and Washington. A handbook for Pacific Northwest agroforestry planning and design is being adapted from the University of Missouri’s Center for Agroforestry. We are organizing two professional development field trainings that include: 1) in-person gathering for networking and discussion including presentation of the handbook; 2) site visits to local farms (highlighted in the videos) to view active agroforestry sites and learn from farmers and service providers who collaborated to develop the successful projects. Finally,  we are developing and online training utilizing content developed through the videos and handbook to reach professionals that could not attend in-person events.  All educational products will be distributed to participants and project collaborators for dissemination.

Project Objectives:

This project has three overarching project objectives. Related activities are listed below each objective. 


Objective 1:

Increase the capability of resource professionals (NRCS, conservation districts, Extension service, and watershed councils) to articulate, plan, and implement agroforestry on farms in Washington and Oregon by 2025.

  1. Host two in-person and two online sessions over the project period
    1. train a minimum of 100 agriculture and natural resource professionals.

Objective 2:

Increase the quantity and availability of regionally specific agroforestry resources for use by resource professionals by 2025.

  1. Develop a series of four 10 minute case-study videos highlighting farmers who are utilizing agroforestry practices and make available for free viewing
    1. Achieve 200 views per video.
  2. Record two online trainings and make them available for asynchronous viewing
    1. Achieve 100 views of recorded webinar/training.
  3. Develop “Handbook for Pacific Northwest Agroforestry Planning and Design”
    1. Achieve 200 downloads of guide.
  4. Promote and disseminate professional and peer reviewed resources (video and webinars, literature) via the networks of all partners including both working groups, Oregon State University, Washington State University Extension, Agroforestry Northwest, Center for Rural Livelihoods, and NRCS.

Objective 3:

Build and streamline collaboration and outreach for agroforestry in Washington and Oregon by 2025. 

  1. Agroforestry Northwest and the Pacific Northwest Agroforestry Working Group will grow their membership by at least 50 members across their respective state geographies. 
  2. WSU Food Systems, NRCS, Washington and Oregon Conservation Districts, Oregon Watershed Councils, and Washington and Oregon Extension Service will collaborate to promote and disseminate educational content to their networks.

Agroforestry is poised to emerge as a significant regional solution to a number of Washington and Oregon state priorities centered on climate, food security, social justice, and ecological restoration. In spite of its potential, both the utility and technical knowledge to install and maintain agroforestry systems are poorly understood by most agricultural service providers.  

In 2019 the USDA released “The Agroforestry Strategic Framework 2019-2024” to  guide the integration of agroforestry into USDA programming. It directs all agencies to provide public access to, conduct research for, and integrate agroforestry support into their work (USDA, 2019). This mandate comes at a time when agroforestry adoption by farmers in the region is increasing dramatically. Adoption of agroforestry practices in Oregon increased from 87 farms in 2012 to 1,467 farms in 2017. In Washington, 1,075 farms reported using agroforestry practices in 2017 up from just 82 in 2012 (USDA, 2017). A survey of Washington state farmers and foresters found that 55% of those familiar with agroforestry were practicing agroforestry. This information highlights that agroforestry is being practiced in this region. Nonetheless, the same survey established that the main barrier for farmers and agricultural service providers is lack of technical information on how to implement agroforestry practices and a lack of financial support for establishment costs (Lawrence and Hardesty, 1992). These results mirror more recent surveys on windbreak and silvopasture adoption across the country where producers report a lack of information, support, and technical assistance from resource professionals as the main barriers to their success with practices (Smith et al. 2021).  

Although no individual state agency explicitly supports the establishment of agroforestry systems  there is rich support for practices that support strategy habitats and meet conservation goals. Among the top funders of agroforestry related practices are the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Conservation Districts, The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, The Washington State Conservation Commission, and the Network of Oregon Watershed Councils. The USDA Climate Hub is also beginning to provide funds for practices that support climate related goals in the region. 

Despite the current incentive programs that support agroforestry, this region has an explicit lack of professionals, including USDA NRCS and state agency conservation staff, sufficiently equipped or knowledgeable to provide technical, financial, and marketing assistance needed to plan and apply agroforestry systems in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, the lack of coordination across agencies has been noted for decades (Hardesty and Lyon, 1995) (Bishaw et al. 2017). To achieve adoption of agroforestry, it is essential to train individuals within State and Federal agencies who deal with land management issues and/or interact with farmers and landowners. This approach has been proven via the direct experience of agroforestry efforts in the Midwest and Northeast that it is beneficial to facilitate collaboration among researchers, extension personnel, and practitioners, diverse disciplines, departments and colleges, and regional agencies and organizations.


AF PDP SARE Gantt Chart

Project team includes Abel Kloster, Carrie Brausieck, Patrick Shults, Badege Bishaw, and Mark Batcheler

Review Team includes Michael Gold, John Fike, Kate Macfarland, Eric Mader, NRCS

Activity 1: Grant management July 1, 2023 - March 31, 2026

This will be completed by the Center for Rural Livelihoods throughout the lifespan of the grant. Annual reporting will be collaborative with contributions from all project team members. Final report will be completed in March 2026.

Activity 2: Video development: July 1, 2023 - March 31, 2025

Project team will coordinate with farm cooperators to schedule site visits, develop the storyboard, outline, and production schedules for the video series. The project team will work with the film crew to capture footage and still imagery. Final videos will be complete by Mitchel Davidovitz by the end of March 2025.

Activity 3: Webinar development: July 1, 2023 - August 30, 2024

The project team will collaborate to develop two webinar slideshows and circulate for editorial review.Production will be complete by August 30, 2024.

Activity 4: Agroforestry handbook development: September 1, 2023 - March 31, 2025

The project team will develop the handbook between September 2023 and September 2024. After editorial review, it will be developed into a PDF by March 31 2025.

Activity 5: Educational content distribution: February 1, 2025 - May 31, 2025

All educational material will be distributed via websites and listservs of all project team members and cooperators. Announcements will be made for the webinar and field day opportunities and the webinar will be run as a live event in May, 2025.

Activity 6: In-person field events: February 1, 2025 - September 31, 2025

The project team will plan and orchestrate the field events. An event will occur in Oregon in June and in Washington in September.



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Educational approach:

This project furthers the deployment of agroforestry across the Pacific Northwest by generating educational content to expand regional service provider's capacities to provide agroforestry technical support to producers. The application of similar approaches has greatly impacted the implementation of agroforestry systems in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the U.S. Building on the successful methods utilized by organizations in these regions, this project will strategically follow these proven approaches to advance professional service providers' capacity to support and implement agroforestry systems. This project will be a catalyst to activate widespread institutional support and farmer adoption.

The educational content will be developed and disseminated over the course of a series of activities. These include video development, webinar development, agroforestry handbook development, and in person field days. All educational content will be reviewed by cooperators from the National Agroforestry Center at the USDA and The Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri. Through videos, free downloadable print materials, and both online and in person workshops, education will follow a multimedia and multi-learning approach. Outreach to promote and distribute educational offerings will occur through a diverse network of collaborators including regional agroforestry working groups, The Center for Rural Livelihoods, the NRCS, conservation districts, watershed councils, and state extension services.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Agroforestry Case Study Videos

Increase the quantity and availability of regionally specific agroforestry resources for use by resource professionals by 2025.


These videos will highlight individual farms in western Washington and Oregon that are currently practicing agroforestry and will discuss the motivation, planning, implementation, and economic details of the systems being practiced. Where appropriate, videos will also discuss cost-share or other assistance programs utilized to implement the practice and discuss any overlapping objectives such as conservation, habitat restoration, or carbon sequestration. Videos will cover examples of the five main agroforestry practices: windbreaks, silvopasture, forest farming, alley cropping, and riparian buffers. Partnerships with producers and stakeholder organizations that provided technical or financial assistance (conservation districts, Extension, NRCS, etc.) will be leveraged to develop videos. Videos will be uploaded to Youtube, made available for free viewing, edited for ADA compliance, and shared on multiple platforms and websites.

Online Professional Training

Increase the quantity and availability of regionally specific agroforestry resources for use by resource professionals by 2025.


One online offering of professional development training will be developed in each state for those that cannot attend the in-person training. This training will be shorter but will still feature case-study videos and opportunities to interact with producers and other stakeholders involved in the featured systems. The webinars will be made available through the project teams websites and promoted by cooperators in including NRCS and Conservation Districts.

Pacific Northwest Handbook for Agroforestry Planning and Design

Increase the quantity and availability of regionally specific agroforestry resources for use by resource professionals by 2025.


The University of Missouri’s “Handbook for Agroforestry Planning and Design” will be adapted for the Pacific Northwest and made available for free download to professionals and producers.  Prior to publication, the handbook will be reviewed by a panel of agroforestry professionals from the USDA's National Agroforestry Center, and the University of Missouri's Center for Agroforestry.

In-Person Professional Training Workshops

Increase the capability of resource professionals (NRCS, conservation districts, Extension service, and watershed councils) to articulate, plan, and implement agroforestry on farms in Washington and Oregon by 2025.


Two, two-day professional development workshops will be offered over the course of the project, one each in Oregon and Washington. Workshops will be advertised to conservation districts, Extension offices, NRCS offices, and other organizations that work in natural resource and agriculture planning and design. The first day of each training will be classroom-based and showcase the case-study videos developed with producer partners. It will also include guest speakers and presentations on region-specific examples of agroforestry implementation, benefits, and research. The second day will include field trips to producer partners farms highlighted in case-study videos where attendees can interact with the producer and other stakeholders involved. Attendees will be encouraged to sign up for ongoing news, updates, and networking opportunities.

Educational & Outreach Activities

15 Consultations

Participation Summary:

2 Extension
2 Researchers
3 Nonprofit
2 Agency
1 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
7 Farmers/ranchers

Project Outcomes

19 New working collaborations
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.