This was a collaborative project to build the capacity of conservation professionals to assist organic and transitional farmers in planning and implementing conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative (EQIP OI). Oregon Tilth partnered with other regional nonprofit and public agencies to deliver a series of intensive trainings designed to increase conservation planners’ knowledge of organic management practices and ability to integrate conservation planning with these practices and organic certification requirements. The project built on an established relationship with NRCS through Oregon Tilth’s Organic Conservation Program and previous Western SARE-funded training on the conservation/organic interface.
The project targeted natural resource professionals in Oregon, Idaho, California, and Nevada who directly assist producers with conservation planning. Oregon Tilth proposed the following trainings, based on requests from NRCS leaders: four two-day field trainings in Oregon (expected 30 attendees/training =120 total); four two-day trainings in California (expected 30 attendees/training=120 total); one two-day training in Nevada (expected 25 attendees) ; and three two-day field trainings in Idaho (expected 25 attendees/training=75 total). In addition, 60 professionals representing conservation districts, technical assistance providers, and others were expected as well as at least two Extension personnel at each training. A minimum of two organic farmers would be recruited to share their experiences at listening sessions and farm visits in association with each training.
Proposed project products included: five organic job specification templates, training curricula that will be replicable in other regions or future training sessions, field tour schedules and proposed instruction, web-based resources including links from appropriate agencies and relevant information for students, a recorded webinar that is publicly available for future playback, and an updated resource CD and handouts of relevant conservation and organic materials (updated from information developed in previous WSARE grants).