Training in Size Appropriate Technology for Hill Farmers

2001 Annual Report for ES00-048

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2000: $84,686.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Betty King
University of Kentucky

Training in Size Appropriate Technology for Hill Farmers


The Size Appropriate Technology Project determined that small scale equipment is a practical alternative to conventional farm equipment for farmers operating on small acreages and hill or other marginal land. The high level of farmer interest in the equipment demonstrated at various events leads us to believe that there is a great demand for such equipment. The project revealed that farmers, extension agents, and small farm assistants were mostly unaware of the existence of equipment such as 2-wheel tractors before seeing them, but were very receptive to their value in a non-traditional farm enterprise.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  1. 1. Extension agents, small farm assistants, and farmers will experience hands-on training in assessing size appropriate technology needs and utilization for a farm (analysis), identifying and utilizing equipment appropriate for farm enterprises (problem-solving), and creating whole farm or integrated farm systems for hill farms (management & implementation).
    2. Working teams (Extension agents, farmers,etc,) will develop a case study of hill farm enterprises for their geographic region utilizing and evaluating size appropriate technology to help farmers succeed with this approach.
    3. Extension agents, small farm assistants, and farmers will feel more comfortable working (in a hands-on setting) with size appropriate technology and farming systems using a low cost, limited resource approach.


  • + During the first year of the Size Appropriate Technology Project, we have done twelve equipment demonstrations. The demonstrations included several county-wide field days devoted exclusively to our project, a statewide field day (UK’s Quicksand Experiment Station Field day), during which we repeated the demonstration throughout the day, a regional field day (the Kentucky State University Third Thursday annual field day), and the National Small Farm Conference in Columbia, Missouri, where we demonstrated equipment and shared the findings of our project with several hundred people over two and a half days.
    + We conducted two in-service training sessions on sustainable agriculture for Kentucky county agents with a total of 25 agents present. As part of this training we described our project and showed video of the small equipment filmed at several of the above mentioned field days.
    + We participated in a forestry field day jointly sponsored by the Taylor County, Kentucky, CES, Campbellsville University, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture at which we demonstrated the portable band saw mill and discussed its integration into a small farm enterprise. We also participated in a similar exercise at the KSU field day.
    + We received and responded to over one hundred requests for information related to the project. These requests came by letter, phone, and E-mail. Many of the requests came from people who saw one of our demonstrations and wanted more information.
    + We published two articles in Small Farm Today magazine. Many of the follow-up requests we received were generated by these articles.
    + The small scale equipment was featured during a Noon news program on Channel 27 television in Lexington. During this segment, one of the field days we participated in, “Living on a Few Acres” co-sponsored by UKCES and Berea College, was promoted.
    + A video of the equipment being used to rake and bale hay was filmed by UK Ag Communications and was distributed to all 120 Kentucky Extension offices and was shown as a segment of a UK program on Kentucky Educational Television.
    * In the second project year, we hope to accomplish the following:
    A video devoted exclusively to our project.
    The development of a portable solar power system used for powering electric fences and pumping livestock water to facilitate rotational grazing systems.
    Continue to exhibit, demonstrate, and promote size appropriate equipment.
    Fulfill requests by county agents for demonstrations at county field days.
    Publish articles in several print media outlets reaching our target audience.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The best indicator of the impact our project has had is the positive feedback of the farmers and agents who have attended one of our field days or presentations. It is clear after a year of speaking to many audiences across the state that there is a need and a consequent demand for farm equipment and tools appropriate to the size, scale, and type of farm as well as the capabilities of farm operators.
Some other indicators we have noted include: (1)At least $60,000 worth of equipment purchased from two dealers in 2-wheel tractors and related attachments, (2) the establishment of a second dealership in the southern part of the state, (3) the inclusion of sustainable agriculture as a study topic in several county extension programs, and (4) several requests for more information from county extension agents as a result of farmers and/or agents seeing or hearing about our demonstrations.
Finally, we are very pleased that a new category for SARE producer grants has been added for 2002 titled “Appropriate Technology”. We feel that this outcome is a validation of ideas we conceived when we wrote our proposal for funding.


Larry Swartz

[email protected]
Program Assistant
507 Garrigus Bldg.
University of KY
Lexington, Ky 40546
Office Phone: 8592573404