- Education and Training: extension, focus group, networking, technical assistance
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation, urban/rural integration
[Note to online version: The report for this project includes appendices that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact North Central SARE at (402) 472-7081 or email@example.com.]
With considerable stakeholder involvement, American Farmland Trust and our partners in Ohio and Illinois designed and developed a series of one-day workshops and training materials to train USDA field personnel on land use management issues and farmland protection so that they could then provide assistance to their communities. This three-year project was pilot tested at five locations throughout Ohio and replicated at two locations in Illinois. The quality of the materials and the involvement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders made this project unique in its efforts to address the growing need in the region for information on land use issues at the local level.
The objectives of this project were to: (1) Provide a training opportunity for Cooperative Extension and USDA/NRCS field staff in Ohio on the issues inherent in land use pressure at the rural-urban interface and policy options for guiding land use change in the interest of protecting farmland; (2) Provide them with information on how to determine land-use changes in their communities and what tools and techniques have been utilized to address these issues, and (3) Establish the basis for continuing informal involvement in land use policy discussions and participant-offered training of others as future needs arise.
During November 1998 and June 1999, five workshops were held at various locations in Ohio. The total attendance was 173 people. Prior to each of these workshops, members of the State Advisory Committee met with local representatives of OSU Extension, NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the region to discuss workshop content, speakers, location and date. While the specific content presented at each workshop remained flexible enough to allow for regional differences, each workshop covered the following four components: (1) Getting a Handle on the Question of Demographics; (2) Determining What The People Want; (3) Land Use and Farmland Policy Tools and Techniques; and (4) Putting It All Together.
This template was replicated in Illinois during 2000-2001. Working with state and local partners, AFT developed and delivered two additional training workshops in April 2001. The total attendance was 144 people.
This project was important not only because it provided traditional SARE PDP audiences with a better understanding of land use and farmland protection policy issues, but also because it provided them with the materials necessary to assist both farm and non-farm citizens in understanding how to sustain important agricultural resources.
Follow up evaluations indicated that: 43 percent of respondents said six months after the workshops that they have conducted or planned on conducting their own workshops using information from the training session (Ohio); 98 percent of respondents indicated two month after the training that they found the workshop to be helpful in assisting them with answering land use or farmland protection questions (Illinois); and 81 percent of respondents indicated two month after the training that they found the workbook to be helpful in assisting them with answering land use or farmland protection questions (Illinois).
Provide a training opportunity for Cooperative Extension and USDA/NRCS field staff in Ohio on the issues inherent in land use pressure at the rural-urban interface and the materials necessary to assist both farm and non-farm citizens in understanding how to sustain important agricultural resources.
Provide them with the following specific capabilities:
a) How to determine land use, economic and demographic changes in their counties
b) How to determine citizen preferences and attitudes about land use patterns
c) Detailed understanding of existing or potential tools and techniques to guide development and protect farmland
d) Understanding of comprehensive planning as a formal process and the plan as a strategic document.
Establish the basis for continuing informal involvement in land use policy discussions and participant-offered training of others as future needs arise.