Reaping the Rewards of Our SARE investment: The Multi-State Farmer Linkage Program

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $24,753.75
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $11,050.00
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Elaine Cranford
Nebraska Cooperative Development Center

Annual Reports

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Reaping the Rewards of Our SARE Investment: The Multi-State Farmer Linkage Program addresses the professional development needs of educators in Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development. Approximately seventy-five key agriculture professionals (educators) will be targeted from Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota, and the Dakotas to receive training direct from farmers and ranchers. Fifty farmers/ranchers who have received SARE producer grants from 1992-2003 will share with the selected educators their personal experiences, goals, and identify priority needs for research and education. This unique opportunity for educators to learn first hand from those who are farming and ranching creates an environment where new research and education ideas can develop. This training will impact short term, intermediate and long term outcomes of selected educators becoming aware of SARE supported farmers and ranchers who have received SARE producer grants, understanding how the grants impacted their operations, and what they themselves can do in the future to provide better technical assistance. Breakout sessions and farmer/rancher led discussions will enhance professional development and provide research and education priorities to State and North Central regional SARE programs. Undergraduate and graduate students will assist in facilitation, evaluation, and the creation of take home resources for participants. An evaluation of educators, farmers/ranchers, and student assistants will be conducted with a series of survey questions. These immediate responses will then be used to shape further research funded by SARE, and other groups who provide to farmers and ranchers across this four state region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Short Term
    -Educators will become aware of the farmers/ranchers in their states who have received SARE Producer Grants and how these grants have impacted their farm or ranch.
    -Seventy-five educators including five state SARE coordinators will have direct feedback from fifty farmers and ranchers.
    -Educators will have better understanding of what resources are available for future PDP training.
    -Farmers/ranchers themselves will make contacts with other farmers/ranchers and educators for future support.
    -Educators will become more knowledgeable about what others have been doing, and will eager to provide future assistance.
    -These networks will carry on into the development of new and revised assistance programs.

    -Network building will motivate educators to modify their current assistance methods to better fit the farmer/ranchers they’ll be learning from.
    -State SARE Coordinators along with Administrative Council members will have specific information from networking and breakout sessions which will help them identify and support priority needs in their state and region.
    -Greater awareness of farmers/ranchers SARE grant experience, may suggest promotional concepts that have been overlooked.
    -Four local farmer support discussion groups which will serve as an ongoing pool of direct feedback from farmers/ranchers to educators.
    -North Central SARE and other educators will respond to the needs of farmers/ranchers by considering ten research and education priorities from five different subject areas. These priorities will then be taken back to the SARE Administrative Council members in each state, where they will be narrowed down to 2 priorities.
    -North Central SARE will then develop and implement these 2 priorities.
    -Four of the four state coordinators will tailor the current programs in their state in response to what they learn from farmers/ranchers.

    Long Term
    -North Central SARE will designate two priorities for the Research and Education call for proposal ideas as they are identified by discussions in the various breakout sessions.
    -Farmers/ranchers will take a more active role in local and regional sustainable agriculture programs and organizations which will continue to support the educators in their areas.
    -Future Professional Development Programs sponsored by four State Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators will have three farmers or ranchers who will provide training.

    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.