SARE Research and Education Program Impacts and Diffusion

Project Overview

LS05-214
Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2005: $31,526.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Marari Suvedi
CARRS Center for Evaluative Studies

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, research

    Abstract:

    The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the quantifiable impacts of
    S-SARE R&E grants and the reach or diffusion of the grantees’ efforts to farmers,
    ranchers, and other pertinent user groups, particularly in the general locale
    of the funded project.

    The primary research objectives are to:
    1. Determine if the scientific community accepted the research (refereed publications).
    (Impacts)
    2. Determine what impact adopting the change may have had on some facet of
    farming/ranching operations (e.g., profitability, increase or decrease in labor
    or management, fertilizer costs, yields per acre, soil/air/water quality
    changes). (Impact)
    3. Determine how many other farmers or ranchers attended field days or had
    personal visits with the researchers/educators. (Reach)
    4. Estimate how many of those visiting farmers or ranchers also tested or
    adopted a practice or technology. (Reach)
    5. Determine if changes in the grant-making, contracting or reporting process,
    or requirements are necessary to make the program more user-friendly,
    based on the comments of grantees. (Customer Service)

    The Center for Evaluative Studies in Michigan State University’s Department of
    Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies (MSU CARRS)
    responded to the 2006 Targeted Request for Proposals (RFP) From the Southern
    SARE Region. A grant recipient survey instrument developed for Western
    Region SARE was used for data collection. Only small and regionally-specific
    changes were made to the prototype survey.

    A survey was administered to all 1994 to 2004 Southern Region SARE R&E
    grant recipients in winter and spring 2007. Principal investigators were contacted
    through a series of postal and electronic mailings. In each mailing the
    survey webpage link and unique access code were provided. In the electronic
    mailings, respondents could link directly to the survey from within the emailed
    message. Follow-up reminder mailings were used to increase overall response
    rate.

    During the 18 weeks of data collection, non-responders received a paper
    version of the survey in their reminder mailing. The sequence of mailings was
    initiated on February 9, 2007, and contacts continued through June 19, 2007.
    The overall response rate was 60.75% by principal investigator (n=107) and
    59.66% by project (n=119).
    Data from on-line surveys was electronically entered in the survey database
    established in Vovici. Data from paper surveys was entered manually by one
    of the project team members. Data were downloaded into SPSS from Vovici.
    Data were randomly checked for accuracy using frequency analysis. Data were
    analyzed using SPSS. Threshold for reporting has been 5 respondents. Hence,
    there is n/a when a question had four or less respondents.

    Descriptive statistics including frequency counts, percentage, range, mean and
    standard deviation were used to describe the findings. One-way analysis of
    variance and t-tests were used, as appropriate, to determine differences in
    mean scores by respondent groups.

    (Editor's note: A very detailed final report complete with tables and figures that cannot fit into this reporting template is available from the Southern Region SARE office by calling (770) 412-4787.)

    Project objectives:

    Evaluation Purpose and Objectives

    The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the quantifiable impacts of SSARE
    R&E grants and the reach or diffusion of the grantees’ efforts to farmers,
    ranchers, and other pertinent user groups, particularly in the general locale of
    the funded project. The primary research objectives are to:
    1. Determine if the scientific community accepted the research (refereed publications).
    2. Determine what impact adopting the change may have had on some facet of
    farming/ranching operations (e.g., profitability, increase or decrease in labor
    or management, fertilizer costs, yields per acre, soil/air/water quality
    changes). (Impact)
    3. Determine how many other farmers or ranchers attended field days or had
    personal visits with the researchers/educators. (Reach)
    4. Estimate how many of those visiting farmers or ranchers also tested or
    adopted a practice or technology. (Reach)
    5. Determine if changes in the grant-making, contracting or reporting process,
    or requirements are necessary to make the program more user-friendly,
    based on the comments of grantees. (Customer Service)

    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.