Elementary Organics: Multi-track Training for Minnesota's Agricultural Educators and Advisors

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2002: $59,360.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Meg Moynihan
Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy, meat


  • Education and Training: technical assistance, extension, farmer to farmer, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: market study, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, soil stabilization
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, analysis of personal/family life

    Proposal abstract:

    This Professional Development Program will improve the ability public and private sector agricultural educators and advisors to serve organic and transitional organic producers. Target participants include NRCS staff, Extension, Minnesota Department of Agriculture promotional and regulatory staff, USDA Risk Management, USDA Farm Service Agency, and private lenders. During this two-year program, six regional, daylong trainings throughout Minnesota will encourage participation and local applicability of information. Interest “tracks”, experiential learning methods, and use of farmer and peer session leaders will maximize learning. Participants will gain insights, skills, technical information, and professional relationships (a new peer group of other participants and presenters) to help them better serve organic clientele. Desired short-term outcomes target participant familiarity with organic issues and practices. Intermediate outcomes target participant behavior in their work context. Long-term outcomes project programming changes within institutional systems and sustainability of agriculture-based rural communities. Implementation, outcomes and context will be assessed. Pre- and same-day evaluation tools and client (producer) surveys will provide information about quality and relevance of sessions. Follow-up evaluation after three to six months will provide information about progress toward intermediate and long-term goals, as well as further participant interest and needs.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Short-Term Outcomes:
    Participants are aware of the scale/scope of organic production in MN and the US; know the Final Rule exists and, in basic terms, what it says; understand steps required for certification, roles of inspectors, agencies, etc.; know about and have access to 5-10 sources of information about organic production and marketing.

    Intermediate Outcomes:
    Participants provide appropriate technical assistance or information to organic growers or refer them to appropriate sources; accept the notion that organic can be a viable production system; identify resource materials that would help them assist clients, but that don’t currently exist; share knowledge about organics with peers/colleagues.

    Long-Term Outcomes:
    Organic programming is “institutionalized”: organic producers and their needs are considered as a matter of course by Land Grant Universities, Extension, NRCS, Minnesota State Department of Agriculture, and other public and private entities as a matter of course. Economically successful, resource-conserving organic farms contribute to the long-term sustainability of farming in Minnesota.

    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.