Beyond the Data: skills for moving sustainable agriculture knowledge to action.

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $23,700.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2024
Grant Recipient: University of Nebraska
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Barbara Rock
University of Nebraska


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, focus group, networking, other, workshop

    Proposal abstract:

    Increasing the adoption of sustainable agriculture innovations will require conservation professionals to not only understand and convey the technical aspects, but to understand how to best foster a communication environment that supports behavior change. The project will build participants confidence and motivation to use social science tools in their programming. The training will increase participants understanding of the basic social science and practical tools for reducing barriers for adopting sustainable agriculture practices. They can use these skills to co-create more actionable programs alongside farmers, leading to improved trust with farmers and implementation of more conservation on the land. This project will expand an 8-hour science communication curriculum and train 50 Nebraska Extension, NRCS, and local conservation professionals through two regional workshops. Each region will co-create a communication plan with a focus group of five local farmers.  

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Educational materials: Complete curriculum for a full day workshop, including agenda, teaching guide, workbook, case studies, and video clips. The workbook will be professionally printed and provided to all participants for reference both during the workshop and for them to take and use in the future. This curriculum will be freely available through our website. 

    Participants: The project will train 50 professionals from Extension, NRCS, and local conservation districts. The workshops will also provide the opportunity to build trust and collaboration between these professionals and their organizations as they learn and network together. 

    Each region will host a farmers’ focus group, with a total of 10 farmers. These farmers will help co-create the communication plans.  

    Communication plans: At the end of the workshop & focus groups, participants will have co-created communication plans. Project personnel will create a case study of one plan for each region to share back to participants and more widely through our website.  These plans will help provide the basis for shared sustainable agriculture messaging and methods across the state. 

    Project updates, evaluation, and summaries: Project personnel will synthesize program activities and outcome indicators into general public articles for distribution in the NWC newsletter and UNL newsletters. A detailed report of the activities, outputs, survey results, and outcome indicators will be shared with all project participants and NCR-SARE. 

    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.