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 will be 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. ND SARE PDP continues to enhance sustainable agriculture education in the state and increase the knowledge base of educators and clientele.
The four initiatives proposed in this professional development plan include 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 remains supporting sustainable agriculture via well trained agricultural educators.
Project objectives from proposal:
Initiatives for 2019-2020
1) Soil Health, Cover Crops, and Water Quality
· The NDSU soil health team is creating a variety of learning experience 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 will 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 of cover crop plantings and
outreach meetings will be provided to visually share the effects of cover crops. Café
meetings will be used to expand the soil heath discussion among farmers to advance new
ideas in soil health and water quality. Forty farmers and 16 extension and NRCS personnel
will be trained with a 40 % increase in knowledge of cover crop and soil health.
· The objectives and goal of this initiative also include a proactive approach to involve tribal
college educators throughout the project.
· Evaluation of these outcomes will be 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 ($5000 per year * 2 years) is requested to make possible their participation in soil
health and water quality workshops held throughout the state and in 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
· Short term outcomes will include increased knowledge about small farms-local foods and
scaling up initiatives by the advancing the Local Foods effort (15 educators) and thirty nonteam
educators. 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 30 tribal
members to opportunities for locally growing food.
· Evaluation of these outcomes will be via NCR SARE PDP evaluation forms to determine
changes in program delivery and any new collaboration.
· $500 for teleconference expenses are requested. Other Extension, Tribal College, and
NGO funds will be needed for staff time and travel. State Coordinator time will also be used
for facilitation. Travel and mini grant support ($5000 per year * 2 years) for educators to
attend training events will be spent 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 will 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. Twenty farmers and 12 extension personnel will
be 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 will seek 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 will be demonstrated through on
farm projects. Field days will be 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 ($5000 per year * 2
years) is requested 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 will be reached through 2 seminars to be conducted in this
topic area within NDSU Extension programming for 2019-20. Educators will reach out to
Tribal entities involving beginning farmers and ranchers and identify opportunities for
· Increase profitability and knowledge of beginning farmers and ranchers. Program
knowledge increase by 80% in 50 participants.
· Evaluation of these outcomes will be via surveys held at workshops and via follow-up
· Travel and mini grant support ($6486 per year * 2 years) will be used for the cost of meeting
room expense, meeting material expense, food and travel, lodging and per diem for
educators to participate in workshops.