Sustainable Renewable Energy Training for Agriculture and Natural Resource Professionals

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $50,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Karen Quiroz
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Jim Kleinschmit
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Annual Reports


  • Nuts: hazelnuts
  • Vegetables: leeks
  • Additional Plants: native plants, trees


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, workshop
  • Energy: bioenergy and biofuels
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures


    The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) held a series of six sustainability and renewable energy training sessions for natural resource and agriculture educators. Sessions held were: Sustainable Biomass and Oilseed Crop Production; Bioenergy Crops and Water Quality; A Whole-Systems Approach to Bioenergy; Biomass Crops for Renewable Energy: Opportunities and Challenges; Getting Juiced, Sustainably and On-Farm Oilseed Production. While many participants had prior awareness of the topics, their knowledge and understanding of sustainable renewable energy, sustainable crop production and biofuels has increased and these lessons are being transferred on to their clients.

    Project objectives:

    The overall long-term goal of our project was that farmers will produce renewable energy crops using sustainable methods as instructed by their educators. To reach this goal, we developed and presenting a series of six training sessions. These sessions helped us achieve strategic short-term and intermediate-term outcomes, including increased awareness, knowledge and skills related to sustainable bioenergy production practices among natural resource and agricultural educators.

    The short-term performance targets established in our proposal include:

    • A total of 150 educators will participate in the various sessions.
      Of the target 150 participants, 100 will increase their knowledge of sustainable renewable energy; at least 50 will increase their awareness of sustainable and diversified crop production methods; and 40 will increase their knowledge and understanding of biofuel production.
      Educators will gain an understanding of biodiesel processing and awareness of the difference between small-scale and industrial-scale processing facilities and the benefits to farmers. Educators will also develop an open-minded attitude about renewable energy opportunities, benefits and challenges for farmers.

    We also predicted that our program participants would change their behavior and practices as noted by the following intermediate outcomes:

    • Eighty percent of participants will transfer the knowledge they have gained to their clients.
      Seventy percent of the participants will add sustainability elements to their publications, materials or documents.
      Ten participants will add sustainable research components to their work to close the research gaps on sustainable renewable energy production and processing.
    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.