NE Advanced Agroforestry Training for Natural Resource and Agricultural Educators

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $96,444.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Grant Recipient: PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Susan Richards
Capital RC&D
Tracey Coulter
PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: agroforestry

    Proposal abstract:

    Agroforestry is the intentional integration of trees with crop and/or animal production systems to create economic,environmental, and social benefits. Agroforestry practices provide protection for topsoil, livestock, crops, andwildlife; increase productivity of agricultural and horticultural crops; reduce need for energy and chemical inputs; improve water and air quality; enhance biodiversity and landscape diversity; and diversify local economies.A study of Pennsylvania farmers and land owners (Strong and Jacobson, 2006) found that 90 percent of the respondents would consider adopting agroforestry if information were made available and if they could see working demonstrations. In the past year, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, PA Certified Organic, PA Women Agriculture Network, Woodland Owner’s Associations and the PA Farmer’s Union requested 
    agroforestry support and education. However, despite growing interest and recent advances in the science and practice of agroforestry, regional adoption has been limited, in part, because few natural resource advisors and educators have sufficient agroforestry training to support landowners and practitioners in agroforestry adoption.Further, most existing agroforestry materials are designed for the Southeast and Midwest regions. 
    Agricultural service providers need educational resources and support to assist Northeastern farmers and landowners in developing and implementing agroforestry practices that enhance agricultural operations, diversify income sources, and build ecological resiliency and stability on farm and forest lands. This project will provide
    advanced training on the five key agroforestry practices
    • windbreaks or living fences that buffer field, farmstead, and livestock;
    • riparian and upland buffers, which act as sponges and filters to protect water quality;
    • silvopastoral systems that combine trees, livestock, and forages;
    • alley cropping integrates annual or perennial crops with high-value trees and shrubs; and
    • forest farming where agricultural products are grown under a managed forest canopy.
    Natural resource educators, including agency, NGO, early adopters, peer-to-peer volunteer networks, and extension staffs will be the primary project beneficiaries. These trainees will form the foundation of a regional community of educators that, in turn, will provide advice and information to farmers. Expanding the pool of producers and service providers who are comfortable with agroforestry practices and design will facilitate knowledge transfer and land steward adoption of agroforestry. This will have cascading effects by enhancing economic and ecological diversity and increasing the resiliency and sustainability of rural and urban forest and agricultural communities and food systems.



    Performance targets from proposal:


    40 Northeast service providers who receive comprehensive agroforestry training will provide agroforestry assistance to 120 farmers and graziers who manage 3,600 acres of woodlot.


    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.