- Crop Production: agroforestry, forestry
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, networking, workshop, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study
- Production Systems: holistic management, transitioning to organic
- Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, urban/rural integration, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks, sustainability measures, community development
An exploration of interagency support needed by farmers and rural communities found that perceptions of the most important needs vary from group to group. Farmers want affordable health insurance, shared equipment pools, and support for direct marketing. Agricultural advisors suggest marketing assistance and farmland protection incentives. Community organizations want local government support in protecting farmland and payments to farmers for uncompensated services like flood protection. Local officials see value in local sales of farm products and in diversification of farm enterprises. These concepts complement each other and support collaboration for agricultural prosperity and thriving rural communities.
Tables, figures or graphs mentioned in this report are on file in the Southern SARE office. Contact Sue Blum at 770-229-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a hard copy.
In our region, agriculture is stressed by changing markets and land development. We are not maximizing collaborative opportunities to serve farm communities because talented and creative people – and existing support services – are often separated by professional, organizational and political boundaries. Our proposed solution to this problem was to assemble a working group representing a variety of professions, organizations and political perspectives to identify collaborative projects that will directly benefit our agricultural communities.
Goal One: Provide a setting where creative and forward-looking community and agricultural leaders can work across professional, organizational and political boundaries to help make agriculture and farm communities more sustainable.
Objective 1-1: Assemble a diverse working group of people from four counties with a history of cooperative work and innovation.
Objective 1-2: Host a series of meetings to explore problems and opportunities in supporting agriculture.
Goal Two: Identify strategic issues and projects that are important to the farmers, agricultural communities, and the agricultural economic base of our counties.
Objective 2-1: Assemble background information on agriculture and agricultural communities from the perspective of all participants.
Objective 2-2: Reach agreement upon what “agricultural sustainability” for our area will look like.
Objective 2-3: Systematically examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to agricultural sustainability in our area.
Objective 2-4: Select the most promising strategic actions and collaborative projects for implementation.
Goal Three: Test the strategic concepts with outreach to the broader agricultural community and to the public.
Objective 3-1: Hold a workshop for policy makers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to discuss the proposals of the working group.
Objective 3-2: Conduct similar workshops at the community level.
Objective 3-3: Prepare a report on the project and publicize it regionally and nationally.