Leadership Training on Farmland Conservation for New England and New York
The purpose of this project is to provide local USDA field personnel including Cooperative Extension, NRCS, SWCD and RC&Ds, as well as other key state and local agricultural educators in New England and New York with the training and ongoing technical assistance they need to help their communities develop or enhance programs that ensure that a critical mass of agricultural land remains in agricultural use for future generations.
As communities grapple with the issues associated with competition for a finite land base, these primary beneficiaries are well situated to facilitate the development of public policy alternatives and private land protection options to sustain a viable agricultural base. In many cases, these beneficiaries are being asked by their communities to step up and take more of a leadership role. To do this, however, they need adequate training and continuous technical assistance so that they can effectively work with their communities to find acceptable solutions to these challenges. Working with a diverse group of stakeholders, we are developing a leadership training that meets the need of our target audience and enables them to provide more proactive leadership on sustaining agriculture in their communities.
By December 2003, at least 15 of the 50 workshop participants demonstrate that they have used the training information to assist their communities in developing and implementing new farmland protection policies, or strengthening already existing policies, at the state or local levels in New England and New York.
We will know that we have reached the target when, three months after the two-day leadership training workshop, 25 of the 50 participants contact AFT or partner agencies and organizations and request additional technical assistance for their communities. Six months after that, we will conduct a survey of those participants who requested technical assistance to gauge whether or not they have worked with their community to help them develop or implement new farmland protection programs or enhanced already existing programs in New England or New York.
- By November 2002, 150 customers receive registration materials and applications for the leadership training.
By December 2002, 75 customers complete applications and apply for the leadership training.
By March 2003, 50 customers accept the invitation and attend the leadership training session.
By June 2003, 25 customers contact AFT or partner agencies and organizations with requests and request additional technical assistance for their communities.
By December 2003, 15 customers reach the performance target
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
We have made considerable progress on our milestones over the past seven months. We held a full advisory committee meeting in September 2002 to discuss the project and to begin to develop the workshop format and content. Since that time, we have had continuous e-mail and phone contact both with the full committee and individual committee members. In November, we developed and mailed out a two-page workshop application to more than 75 people directly selected by members of the advisory committee with a cover letter explaining the project and the application process. Advisory committee members and AFT staff also identified and were given the task of contacting key leaders in New England and New York, and asked these leaders to e-mail out the same information electronically to their networks. At the close of our deadline on January 10, 2003, we had received 93 applications for 50 participant spots. The advisory committee has assisted in ranking applications from each state, and we will be sending out invitation letters to accepted participants in early February 2003.
The agenda for the workshop also has been finalized, and most of the speakers have been contacted and confirmed. The workshop is set for April 8 and 9 at the Hotel Northampton, in Northampton, Massachusetts. We expect 50 participants, and an additional 20-25 speakers, advisory committee members and AFT staff to attend.