Sustainable Agriculture Marketing Education for Nebraska

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1999: $42,968.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2001
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Cris Carusi
Nebraska Sustainable Ag Society

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, free-range, feed rations
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, marketing management, agricultural finance, risk management, value added
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, employment opportunities, social capital


    Farmers and ranchers can increase their profits and improve their quality of life through value-added marketing. The objective of this project was to build the capacity of Nebraska Extension Educators, NRCS Resource Conservation and Development District (RC&D) staff, and other technical resource providers to help farmers and ranchers adopt profitable direct marketing and value added strategies for sustainably–raised foods.

    The primary audience for this project was University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension Educators, because they are well-positioned to help farmers and ranchers adopt innovative marketing models. Farmers and ranchers were an integral part of every training event and were involved as both teachers and learners.

    During the winter and spring of 2000, a series of three workshops were conducted. The first one, held just prior to our annual Healthy Farms Conference, was led by farmer and author Joel Salatin. Joel spoke on his marketing models for pastured poultry, grass-fed beef, and other products. He also explained some of the marketing points of his production methods as well as the nearly limitless opportunities that he has not yet explored. This program was rounded out by the involvement of Nebraska producers utilizing these models. The second workshop, led by Billene Nemec, manager of the Haymarket Farmers’ Market in Lincoln, was on organizing and starting farmers’ markets.
    Billene provided detailed information on working with vendors, complying with regulations, and the economic development funding required to start a market. Again, this program was rounded out by presentations from four Nebraska producers with vending experience. The third workshop was led by Robert Karp and Shelley Gladwell of the Practical Farmers of Iowa and two Nebraska CSA farmers. Information was provided on the history, philosophy, and practice of the CSA marketing model.

    During the summer of 2000, two “hands-on” field days were conducted by the Extension Educators and producers participating in the project. The first one involved trainees in the set-up, harvest, and distribution of produce through a CSA. The second one involved trainees in the processing and distribution of pastured poultry.

    Finally, UNL Extension Educator Paul Swanson, prepared three NebGuides that summarized the learnings of the three marketing models presented through workshops and field days.. These have been distributed to workshop participants, are available through each county extension office, and are publicized through our newsletter.

    This project was and is being well received by educators, resource providers and farmers alike. Though registered, direct participation was affected by unforeseen conflicts and weather events, the projected outcomes were met and exceeded. This is observed during discussion at complimentary events held on a regular basis by NSAS. There is no doubt that the knowledge level and the capacity to share that has been positively impacted. The real proof is in the proliferation of new direct marketing discussions and efforts. This project, in concert with many other good efforts during this time is providing hope and optimism to dozens of Nebraska Producers.

    Project objectives:

    The overall objective of this project was to build the capacity of Nebraska Extension Educators, NRCS Resource Conservation and Development District (RC&D) staff, and other resource providers to help farmers and ranchers adopt profitable direct marketing and value-added processing strategies for sustainably-raised foods. This training will build collaborative partnerships between educators, technical resource providers, farmers and ranchers. Specific objectives include:

    • Build trainees’ knowledge of consumer-direct marketing models which increase farmers’ profits and provide economic incentives to adopt sustainable farming systems, through a series of workshops. Marketing models to be covered include processing and direct marketing of “healthy” meats, farmers’ markets, and community supported agriculture.

    • Train participants to facilitate farmers’ and ranchers’ adoption of these consumer-direct marketing models, through hands-on, experiential learning at field days.

    • Develop three NebGuide resources for Nebraska Extension Educators and other technical assistance providers on consumer-direct marketing models.

    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.