Kansas 2019-20 SARE State Plan of Work

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $130,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Kansas State University
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
State Coordinator:
Kerri Ebert
K-State Research and Extension


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - continuous, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational, livestock breeding, rangeland/pasture management, livestock handling
  • Crop Production: cropping systems, high tunnels or hoop houses
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: agritourism, business planning, cooperatives, farmers' markets/farm stands, grant making, whole farm planning
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, quality of life, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Kansas SARE PDP is part of K-State Research and Extension (KSRE) at Kansas State University. KS SARE is housed within the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops (KCSAAC) in the Extension Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Community Vitality (ANRCV) administrative unit. Guidance for Kansas SARE PDP is provided by an advisory committee with oversight by KSRE ANR administration. The Kansas SARE PDP coordinator provides support, cooperation, and training to help meet regional (north central) and national SARE goals, conduct program activities, and respond to requests. 

    The primary target audience for professional development programming in the 2019-20 budget cycle is Extension professionals -- county/district Extension agents and area/state Extension specialists. Secondary audiences are NRCS, FSA and Conservation District professionals, NGOs, agriculture educators, and graduate students. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Professional Development Initiatives 

    Initiative 1: Beginning Farmer/Rancher 

    Primary audience: 

    Extension agents and specialists, NGOs, and other professionals working with young and beginning farmers. 


    This initiative aligns with the NCR-SARE regional initiative for 2019-20. KS SARE plans to send at least five representatives to a regional professional development event organized by NCR-SARE on beginning farmers and ranchers in 2019. Educators who are supported by KS SARE funds to attend the regional training will be asked to provide educational programming to other educators and/or beginning farmers and ranchers. Programs can include workshops, study tours, webinars, or other educational events. During the two-year plan of work period, KS SARE will offer additional travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers. 

    Expected Outcomes: 

    •  5 ag professionals attend the NCR SARE regional training 
    •  20 additional Extension agents and 20 agency professionals trained to assess the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers as well as communicate available resources 
    •  1 mini grant awarded for a beginning farmer/rancher workshop 
    •  25 percent increase in visits to the existing Beginning Farmer resource page on the KS SARE web site 


    •  Provide travel scholarships to NCR-SARE beginning farmers and ranchers regional training. Year 1 
    •  Cooperate with Kansas Rural Center to build on the insight gained from their activity with LNC16-377 - Transitioning farm and ranch land from one family to another: Evaluating new strategies for profitable transfers and sustainable agriculture partnerships. Years 1 and 2 
    •  Connect with the Growing Growers apprenticeship program to monitor progress toward forming a Young Farmers Coalition and assist with travel scholarships and/or mini grants as needed. Years 1 and 2 
    •  Provide support to 2019 MANRRS Conference. Year 1 
    •  Prepare bank of tweets focused on resources for beginning farmers to be posted on Twitter throughout Years 1 and 2 


    •  Administer evaluations (pre and post) for regional training 
    •  Collect attendance information from educational events hosted by those trained at the regional training 
    •  Monitor hits on KS SARE Beginning Farmers web page 
    •  Monitor likes and retweets from posts made during sponsored events 
    •  Track educational programming offered by Extension agents in their counties, districts, or areas 

    Initiative 2: Diversified Farming Systems 

    Primary Audience: Extension personnel, NGOs, farmers, students, governmental agency staff, farm consultants 


    This initiative is focused on building capacity within Extension and the ag community to address the growing interest in and need for diversifying agriculture in Kansas. The initiative began with an organic systems focus but as state advisory committee members discussed initiatives, the need for a more encompassing approach emerged. Over the last two years there has been increasing interest in organic systems but the interest goes deeper than just organics to include: permanent conversion to forages, rotating crop and grazing lands, pasture renovation, and alternative crops (such as pulses, ancient grains, and industrial hemp). Identified needs include basic, intermediate, and advanced education for grain, livestock, and fruit and vegetable producers about possibilities and options. With low commodity prices, traditional producers are seriously considering alternatives, but Kansas agriculture has been pretty much the same for generations. This initiative focuses on helping ag professionals increase their understanding of the depth and breadth of options available to farmers and providing them with the resources needed to provide meaningful, timely advice. 

    Expected Outcomes: 

    •  10 ag professionals participate in at least one workshop about organic agriculture 
    •  25 ag professionals increase their knowledge of alternative crop options 
    •  5 Extension agents use travel scholarships to increase their knowledge of diversified farming systems 
    •  5 Extension agents provide new programming in the area of diversified farming systems 
    •  1 mini grant awarded for wholesale market development workshop 


    •  Provide support, encouragement, and programming options for K-State’s new Sustainable Food Production Systems faculty member. Years 1 and 2 
    •  Support learning opportunities on the subject of wholesale market development (this topic overlaps with Initiative 3); for alternative crops, vegetables, fruits, and meat production. Years 1 and 2 
    •  Support organic systems education opportunities through professional development travel scholarships. Years 1 and 2 
    •  Provide travel scholarships for ag professionals to increase their capacity to assist Kansans who desire to diversify their operations to more regenerative practices. Years 1 and 2 
    •  Add content to KS SARE web site for resources for farmers and ag professionals. Years 1 and 2 


    •  Administer evaluations (pre and post) for sponsored workshops 
    •  Collect post event reports from travel scholarship recipients 
    •  Monitor web site hits 

    Initiative 3: Local Food 

    Primary audience: Extension agents, students, market managers, farmers, other government agencies, NGOs 

    Interest in local food production, aggregation, and distribution continues to be a hot topic in Kansas. Interest in food hubs remains strong as producers consider scaling up. At the same time, regulations (FSMA and GAPs, for example) have created confusion and fear. Through this initiative, KS SARE seeks to broaden understanding of issues faced by local food producers. While vegetable and fruit production could be considered a part of Initiative 2 – Diversified Farming Systems, the state advisory committee believes local food should be a separate initiative; recognizing there will be some overlap with Initiative 2. Momentum around local food continues to grow – from the formation of the Kansas City Food Hub in 2016 to the ongoing interest in local Food and Farm Councils throughout the state to the growth in farmers markets. Further evidence of the need to continue a local food emphasis is the grassroots organization of the Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association in late 2018. 

    Expected Outcomes: 

    •  20 extension agents and/or market managers will increase their knowledge of local food production by attending a local, regional, or national farmers market education workshop 
    •  20 extension agents and/or market managers will attend Food Safety Modernization Act and/or Good Agricultural Practices trainings to increase their ability to assist produce growers 
    •  1 Sustainable local food public lecture, workshop, or farm tour each year will be co-hosted by KS SARE through a PDP mini grant 
    •  8 professional development travel stipends awarded for local food/specialty crop-related activity 


    •  Support and promote the Kansas Rural Center’s Farm and Food Conference. Years 1 & 2 
    •  Support and encourage the newly-created Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association. Years 1 & 2 
    •  Assist local planning and delivery of sustainable local food programming through farm tours and workshops. Years 1 & 2 
    •  Cooperate with the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Program on delivery of workshops for farmer’s market managers and vendors. Years 1 & 2 
    •  Promote and encourage professional development opportunities for ag professionals who work with local food and/or specialty crop producers. Years 1 & 2 


    •  Administer evaluations (pre and post) for workshops to determine usefulness of content and format and need for more or different focus areas 
    •  Collect attendance information from workshops to determine who is attending (and more importantly who is not attending but should) and adjust program promotion accordingly 
    •  Monitor likes and retweets from posts made during sponsored events 
    •  Number of requests for documents; or if available online number of unique visits to the website 
    •  Collect post-event evaluations from workshops and travel scholarships 
    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.