Developing Resilient Agricultural Research and Education System to Enhance Sustainability

Project Overview

Project Type: Education Only
Funds awarded in 2024: $49,478.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2026
Grant Recipients: NC A&T; Annette Stevenson Consulting Group
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Osei-Agyemang Yeboah
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

For over 30 years, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education (SARE) program has used the image of a three-legged
stool to define what we mean by sustainable agriculture. The
definition comes out of the original 1990 Farm Bill that
established the program. The three legs of the stool include
research that will enhance the environmental quality of the
natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy
depends, research that will sustain the economic viability of
farm operations, and; research that will enhance the quality of
life for farmers and society as a whole. The USDA reports that
Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranchers, and
producers from underserved communities need a greater connection
to technical assistance resources to gain ownership of
sustainable and profitable farms. Production costs can be
variously affected by sustainable production methods. Labor costs
are often higher than in the conventional system. The higher
labor costs are often attributed to the increased time required
for monitoring and managing pests on sustainable farms. Although
Cooperative Extension units provide much-needed information, the
fast past of innovation leaves many of these producers out of
sync with the federal programs available. The purpose of this
Project is to, through partnerships with community-based
organizations, non-profits, and governmental entities, develop
research and education efforts that employ Experiential and
Integrative approaches (Demonstrations, on-farm tours, field
days, workshops, and curriculum development) to provide education
on improving the well-being and quality of life of over 200
underserved farmers and ranchers, and other socially
disadvantaged in North Carolina.
The Project will facilitate
peer learning and connection while promoting hub members' work
and successes by providing a platform for collaborative action.
This will include key evidence-based factsheets, blogs, Twitter
feeds, community handbooks, community calendars, and community
discussions that provide key insight for farm decision-making.
Workshop attendees will answer a few survey questionnaires pre
–and post-workshops to gauge their understanding. The success of
this Project will be measured through evaluation metrics.
Evaluation (formative and summative) and program coordination
will be integral to the Project. The evaluation provides the
basis of evidence-based feedback aligned with the project
activities and proposed project outcomes. The formative
evaluation approaches include observations, interviews, focus
groups, and pre-and post-surveys. The evaluation will deploy an
iterative process with rapid feedback cycles to provide
just-in-time information and support the project team in making
decisions. The team will maintain a web portal through which the
Project can leverage ongoing support and ensure that each
training session stays on task toward success. In the thorough
evaluation process, we will gauge initial learning resulting from
the workshops and longer-term outcomes such as improved soil
quality to farm strategic, informed decision-making. 

Project objectives from proposal:

  1. To Conduct the need assessments of producers in North
  2. To develop economic, financial, market research and education
    efforts to increase the profitability of producers
  3. To develop the best sustainable crop and livestock production
    practices to improve the soil health of producers.
  4. To develop fair value chain research and education efforts to
    improve the quality of life in the communities.


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.