Whole Farm Planning for Sustainable Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2000: $67,378.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $67,378.00
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Paul Swanson
University of Nebraska

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: barley, corn, soybeans, sunflower, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Vegetables: beans, peas (culinary), peppers, turnips
  • Additional Plants: trees
  • Animals: bovine, poultry


  • Animal Production: preventive practices, range improvement, grazing - rotational, watering systems, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, mentoring
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, wildlife
  • Pest Management: biological control, cultural control, physical control, mulching - plastic, cultivation, prevention, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: holistic management, permaculture, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: earthworms, green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: urban/rural integration


    The seven workshop portions of the Whole Farm Planning for Sustainable Systems exposed 72 Extension, NRCS, Vocational Agriculture teachers and Natural Resource District staff and directors to principles, strategies, and ideas associated with sustainable systems and holistic management in Whole Farm Planning. The majority have been more favorably disposed towards these concepts following the training. Some have become enthusiastic.

    Seven Extension and NRCS staff have completed the apprentice phase of this training. It was reported as a positive learning experience by all who have completed it. At least one Extension educator has determined to make these concepts a major part of his educational programming. Others are beginning to give consideration to these ideas. Several persons are now enrolled in the second round of the mentor/apprentice phase.

    Project objectives:

    Provide training for Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Vocational Agriculture, Community Resource Development, and Natural Resources District, staff with information from sustainable farm operators, especially concerning profitability and decision-making processes.

    Provide in-depth apprenticeship experiences for selected Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Vocational Agriculture, and Natural Resources District staff with successful sustainable farmers/ranchers across Nebraska.

    Develop case studies of the farms in the apprentice program for use in other educational settings.

    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.