Energy Training for Agricultural Professionals in the Southern SARE Region

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2008: $97,684.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Mike Morris
National Center for Appropriate Technology
Steve Moore
Center for Environmental Farming Systems

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: canola, rapeseed, sorghum (milo), soybeans, sugarcane, sunflower


  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, mentoring, networking, workshop, youth education
  • Energy: bioenergy and biofuels, energy conservation/efficiency, energy use, solar energy, wind power
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, social networks, sustainability measures


    The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) trained agriculture professionals from twelve states in the Southern SARE Region and certified them as Energy Educators. After completing an intensive three-day course, participants returned to their own communities and began leading their own energy-related educational efforts. They also organized a network that continues to stay in touch for mutual support and collaboration.

    Project objectives:

    1. At least 25 agricultural educators will complete an intensive three-day course of training and will be certified as Agricultural Energy Educators. Extension Agents and Specialists, as well as field staff members from any USDA agency, are eligible to apply. Training topics will include energy efficient farming systems, biofuels, biopower, solar, and wind energy.
      Course graduates will be able to refer producers to appropriate avenues of funding and technical assistance for their energy-related projects.
      Course graduates will be able to conduct a basic farm energy audit.
      Course graduates will understand and be able to implement strategies for sustainable biofuel crop production, including reducing soil and water-related impacts.
      Course graduates will stay in touch with each other and will provide mentoring and mutual support, as members of a continuing network of Agricultural Energy Educators.
      Course graduates will be supported by their supervisors and offices, enabling them to deliver energy training and technical assistance to agricultural producers and other state and local professional colleagues.
      By the end of this two-year project, course graduates will be involved in organizing at least 15 local or regional energy training events.
      By the end of this two-year project, course graduates will assist at least 75 farms within the Southern SARE region in incorporating renewable energy into their operations, improving their energy efficiency, and developing energy-related economic enterprises.
    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.