- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation
[Note to online version: The report for this project includes tables and appendices that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact North Central SARE at (402) 472-7081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.]
While agricultural research and education were once the near exclusive domain of state and federal organizations and product based companies, many non profit and community based groups are now involved. Many of these new programs are directed by farmers, and much of this activity occurs on farmers fields in real world situations. In fact, the availability of federal SARE grant funds has encouraged this activity. Concurrent with the increase in on farm research and demonstrations has been a growing interest in the methodology, credibility, and impact of this approach. A national conference was designed to explore these questions and share experiences using the participatory on farm research and education model. This conference has improved awareness and understanding of how the participatory model can be used to develop new knowledge through research, and to share that knowledge with a wider community through effective education programs. The participants in the conference were extension educators, applied research scientists working with sustainable agriculture groups, the farmer leadership of sustainable agriculture organizations, crop and pest management consultants, and research and development personnel from agricultural industry.
The overall purpose of the conference was to explore a new model for agricultural research and extension education which includes farmers, consumers, public interest groups, agricultural industry, universities and other educational agencies, as partners or co learners in the development and sharing of knowledge. The specific objectives of the project were:
1. Increased awareness of the need for a working model for sustainable agricultural research and education based on partnership among co-learners.
2. Improved understanding of appropriate methodologies for conducting sustainable agricultural research and extension education programs in an on farm environment.
3. Improved understanding of the role farmers and community members play in the development of new knowledge.