North Dakota 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: North Dakota State University
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
State Coordinators:
Dr. Karl Hoppe
North Dakota State Univerity CREC
Dr. Clair Keene
North Dakota State University
Bill Hodous
North Dakota State University


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, free-range, grazing management, grazing - multispecies, meat processing, processing regulations, rangeland/pasture management, stockpiled forages, watering systems, winter forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage, continuous cropping, cover crops, crop improvement and selection, cropping systems, crop rotation, double cropping, high tunnels or hoop houses, no-till, nurseries, organic fertilizers, relay cropping, silvopasture
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, study circle, technical assistance, workshop, youth education
  • Energy: byproduct utilization, energy conservation/efficiency
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, farm-to-institution, farm-to-restaurant, farmers' markets/farm stands, farm succession, financial management, labor/employment, market study, risk management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, riparian buffers, strip cropping, wetlands
  • Pest Management: biological control, competition, compost extracts, disease vectors, economic threshold, mulches - general, mulches - killed, mulches - living, mulching - vegetative, mulching - plastic
  • Production Systems: dryland farming, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: community services, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, food hubs, leadership development, local and regional food systems, partnerships, quality of life, sustainability measures, urban/rural integration


    North Dakota SARE Professional Development Program continues to expand its development of partnerships with the non- governmental organizations, Tribal colleges, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Soil Conservation Districts. ND SARE provides a close relationship with the university outreach through educating and collaborating with NDSU Extension educators. The greatest successes for the ND SARE PDP in North Dakota have been with educators working with NGOs and NDSU. Limited success has occurred with Tribal College outreach programs due to turn over in tribal leadership but efforts to seek partners and expanded outreach will continue. Partnerships will continue with Soil Conservation Districts and the Natural Resource Conservation Service which have resulted in several successful projects. Extension in North Dakota continues to be county-based and regionally supported with Research Extension Centers and state faculty at NDSU Fargo Campus. Extension activities at the 1994 Land grant Tribal colleges in North Dakota are encouraged and were expanded though the addition of Co-Coordinator focusing on Tribal interaction. NDSU continues to be a strong supporter of the SARE program and sustainable agriculture across departments and research extension centers. While NDSU doesn’t have specific state funding for sustainable agriculture education and outreach, NDSU does have faculty who conduct research on soil health, organic agriculture and livestock/environmental stewardship.

    The transition in the ND SARE PDP program to the appointment of Co-Coordinators to lead the project continues to work well. More outreach, enhanced communication, and an increase in funded professional development program projects have occurred with the change to three co-coordinators. These co-coordinators are based in a county office (1) and regionally at Research Extension Centers (2).

    The goals and objectives of the program have not changed over time. ND SARE PDP continues to enhance sustainable agriculture education in the state and increase the knowledge base of educators and clientele.

    The four initiatives provided in this professional development plan included the regional Beginning Farmers and Ranchers initiative, three initiatives that build on previous PDP efforts with revisions identified by the ND SARE advisory board. Within each initiative there is an objective to further involve and build our relationship with the ND tribal colleges and youth. The broad objective for SARE PDP in North Dakota will continue to  support sustainable agriculture via well trained agricultural extension educators.

    Project objectives:

    Initiatives for 2019-2020

    1) Soil Health, Cover Crops, and Water Quality

    • The NDSU soil health team creates a variety of learning experiences for farmers to improve saline and sodic soils and advance the concept of improved soil health leads to improved water quality. This team addresses research and educational issues related to soil health and underlying water quality issues in ND. ND SARE will cooperate with the team to support their efforts that meet our goals and support funds with professional development projects.
    • Outcomes include increased knowledge about soil health and improving water quality including: use of cover crops to enhance soil health, saline soil management and general soil health management aspects and effects on water quality. Tours and virtual tours of cover crop plantings and outreach meetings and virtual tours were provided to visually share the effects of cover crops. Café and shop and virtual meetings were used to expand the soil heath discussion among farmers to advance new ideas in soil health and water quality.
    • The objectives of this initiative also include a proactive approach to involve tribal college educators throughout the project.
    • Evaluation of these outcomes were accomplished via NCR SARE PDP evaluation forms to determine changes in program delivery and new collaborations.
    • Travel and mini grant support for NDSU/tribal educators, 319 water quality coordinators and farmers was requested to make possible their participation in soil health and water quality workshops held throughout the state and at national trainings. The State co-Coordinators will provide SARE printed materials for support.


    2) Local Agriculture serving Diverse Communities and Meeting Nutritional Needs

    • The North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association meets annually and conducts outreach efforts to the public. The State Co-Coordinators will help facilitate these efforts when appropriate.
    • Short term outcomes include increased knowledge about small farms-local foods and scaling up initiatives by the advancing the Local Foods effort.  We anticipate increased delivery of local foods programming by the educators involved as well as collaborative efforts to find funds for additional research and outreach to support scaling up initiatives.
    • Efforts to increase partnership with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and Local Foods program to enhance outreach and education in limited access areas.
    • This initiative also includes a proactive approach to involve tribal college educators throughout the project. Tribal youth and college students will participate in gardening workshops and then grow food locally at home or school. They will expose tribal members to opportunities for locally growing food.
    • Evaluation of these outcomes were via NCR SARE PDP evaluation forms to determine changes in program delivery and any new collaboration.
    • Virtual and teleconference expenses were requested. Other Extension, Tribal College, and NGO funds were needed for staff time and travel. State Coordinator time will also be used for facilitation. Travel and mini grant support for educators to attend training events were utilized from existing and requested ND SARE funds.


    3) Integrated Production Systems – Livestock and Crops

    • Farmers markets are finding a demand for locally sourced meat and crops. While limits on processing facilities impede growth of the market, ND SARE will provide information on developing local markets. Market support will be addressed with collaboration from the ND Department of Agriculture.
    • Outcomes include increasing knowledge about North Dakota livestock marketing, providing educational support for raising livestock and poultry with a local food and sustainable emphasis, and working with Food coops and Food Hubs to increase ND meat in their markets. Develop trainings and activities showing benefits from integrating livestock with crops including organic production. Farmers and extension personnel were trained with a 60% increase in knowledge of synergies from integrating crops and livestock. Cover crops and grazing mentoring networks will be used to advance sustainable

    production through synergies of crops and livestock.

    • The initiative sought opportunity to work with and provide education and experiences to tribal college educators and youth about sustainable livestock production and purveying.
    • The interaction of soil health, cover crops and livestock was demonstrated through on farm projects. Field days were hosted by NDSU extension agents to teach sustainability with a soil and livestock aspect.
    • Evaluation of these outcomes will be via NCR SARE PDP evaluations. Evaluations will also identify strengths and weaknesses in program delivery and collaborations.
    • Travel and mini grant support for NDSU/tribal educators and farmers was used for providing educational programs about sustainability with livestock for meat production and crop production integration.


    4) Beginning Farmers and Ranchers — regional training initiative

    • Several representatives from North Dakota will participate in a regional professional development event organized by NCR-SARE on beginning farmers and ranchers, to be offered during calendar year 2019. Educators who are given support from our state SARE funds to travel to this regional training will provide educational programming to other educators and/or beginning farmers and ranchers. This will include workshops, study tours, webinars, or other educational programming. During the two-year plan of work period, we will also offer additional SARE-funded travel scholarships, and where appropriate, mini-grant support to further educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning farmers and ranchers.
    • Short term outcomes will include increased knowledge about beginning farmer and rancher issues/problems and how to overcome these issues/problems with sustainable practices. These outcomes were to be reached through seminars to be conducted in this topic area within NDSU Extension programming for 2019-20. Educators reached out to Tribal entities involving beginning farmers and ranchers and identify opportunities for programming.
    • Increase profitability and knowledge of beginning farmers and ranchers. Program knowledge increased in participants.

    · Evaluation of these outcomes were held via surveys held at workshops and via follow-up meetings

    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.