Increasing Trainer Literacy in Sustainable Agriculture

1995 Annual Report for ENC95-006

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1995: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1997
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Charles Francis
Grain Place Foundation

Increasing Trainer Literacy in Sustainable Agriculture


This project was designed to provide Extension, NRCS and other professionals the materials and opportunities to improve their knowledge of the current literature on sustainable agriculture. The major activities were: 1) a national televised interview with Nebraska farmer Jim Bender, along with phone-in questions and a tape of the interview available after the event; and 2) the development and distribution of a compendium of reviews of nearly 100 recent books on sustainable agriculture. Both have been completed, although we will continue to monitor the impact of the subject.

The bibliography has taken the form of a detailed compendium of reviews of nearly 100 recent books related to sustainable agriculture by approximately 125 different authors and editors. These were reviewed by over 50 people who are active in teaching and research. The books were sent out to reviewers. We found it difficult to get more people to commit to doing a review. This is part of the reason for the delay in publication until September 1997.
The compendium, titled "Future Horizons: Recent Literature in Sustainable Agriculture," was edited by Gabriel Hegyes and Charles Francis, with strong support from personnel in the Center for Sustainable Agriculture Systems, UNL. Lower-than-expected printing costs allowed us to publish 600 copies for national distribution. Bulk mailings to those involved with PDP in all four SARE regions was completed in October 1997. We will make additional copies as needed and sell at cost ($10 plus S & H). The book "Future Harvest: Pesticide-Free Farming" was distributed to 300 people in the North Central region in late 1995, in response to an announcement through the state PDP coordinators. They were to read and study the book in anticipation of a broadcast interview with the author, Jim Bender, of Weeping Water, Nab. We anticipate that 250 books reached potential members of the audience for the telecast interview. A two-hour televised and uplinked interview was conducted from a UNL studio in January 1996. Some footage of the Bender farm was available for viewing and Bender did a voice-over description of the video. This was followed by the interview, which we estimated reach about 250 people around the region. There were phone-in and fax-in questions during the broadcast from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa, Manitoba and Moldova, and people queried Bender about his philosophy and farming practices. Twenty-five copies of the video have been sent out on request following the broadcast.

The project has been judged a success to date based on the number of people who requested the Bender book, the number who were tuned in to the broadcast, the number who agreed to furnish reviews of books and the number of requests for the book of reviews once it was published and advertised. We will continue to track the popularity of the book. More in-depth evaluation of the project will be carried out over the next year as we talk to people who participated in the interview as well as those who acquired the compendium reviews.

North Central Region SARE 1997 Annual Report.