Nebraska Annual State Report

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $110,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Grant Recipient: University of Nebraska
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
State Coordinator:
Dr. Gary Lesoing
University of Nebraska-LIncoln


  • Agronomic: buckwheat, canola, corn, grass (misc. annual), millet, mustard, oats, peas (field, cowpeas), radish (oilseed, daikon, forage), rapeseed, rye, sorghum (milo), sorghum sudangrass, soybeans, sunflower, triticale, vetches, wheat
  • Vegetables: okra, turnips
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bees, bovine, goats, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy, honey


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing management
  • Crop Production: cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, double cropping, multiple cropping, no-till, relay cropping, water management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, strip cropping
  • Pest Management: allelopathy
  • Production Systems: dryland farming, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: earthworms, green manures, nutrient mineralization, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities


    The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program (PDP) has worked in cooperation with Nebraska Extension and partnered with other organizations in Nebraska to provide professional development and education in sustainable agriculture. Organizations we partner with include: Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) Nebraska Natural Resource Districts (NRDs), Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska RC&Ds, high school vocational agriculture and college agriculture instructors,and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) i.e. Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, Nebraska Buy Fresh, Buy Local Program and Nebraska Food Coop.

    The Nebraska SARE PDP target audience includes: Nebraska Extension Educators and Specialists, NRCS field staff, Farmer Educators,NRD Staff,and NGO educators. Gary Lesoing, the Nebraska State Coordinator provides opportunities for professional development training at local, state, regional and national conferences and trainings. There were travel scholarships awarded to Extension Ag Educators, NGO Educators and Farmer Educators to attend conferences focusing on sustainable agriculture, particularly in areas of cover crops and soil health, and small scale food production. At local and statewide sustainable agricultural events, SARE resources and information is shared.

    Soil Health and Water, Scaling Up Local Food and providing general information about sustainable agriculture through web-based education and statewide face-to face conferences has been the focus in 2017 and 2018. In 2017 over 500 people and in 2018 over 700 people attended SARE supported soil health/cover crop conferences across Nebraska in cooperation with Nebraska Extension, NRCS and Nebraska NRDs. These partnerships have provided opportunities for more education and research in soil health, potentially increasing adoption of soil health practices which will improve the sustainability of our farms. A major focus in 2017 was the development of the Midwest Cover Crop Conference Nebraska Selector Tool. This SARE supported project is scheduled for a test launch in early 2019. This tool will provide producers with the information needed for cover crop selection in Nebraska.

    Interest in the development of local food systems in Nebraska continues. Seventy individuals participated in two SARE supported tours that visited local food producers in Nebraska in 2017. Extension Educators, members of NGOs and consumers are interested in programs that improve the sustainability of local food systems.  These tours increase the awareness of local food issues. In 2018 a SARE supported tour of several local food producers and sustainable farms in Nebraska drew 64 participants.

    Approximately 225 people participated in two SARE supported sustainable agriculture conferences in Nebraska in 2017, while in 2018 over 200 people participated in one SARE supported sustainable agriculture conference in Nebraska. At each conference information was presented about SARE resources and potential grant opportunities. A variety of topics provided education on sustainable agriculture at these conferences.

    Nebraska SARE continued to have a web presence in 2017. Our SARE webpage is used to advertise and promote SARE programs in sustainable agriculture and provide resources about sustainable agriculture. Four webinars about sustainable agriculture subjects were presented in 2017 receiving 359 views with 869 people viewing previously recorded webinars. In 2018 four additional webinars relating to sustainable agriculture were presented receiving 166 views with 189 people viewing previously recorded webinars. A blog initiated in 2016,; has 649 followers, an increase of 30% in 2017. The blog provides information about sustainable agriculture programs and highlights local food producers. In 2018 we continued to produce the blog described above. The blog currently has 737 followers. There were 874 views from 631 visitors this year. 




    Project objectives:

    2017-18 initiatives are:

    1. Soil health and water
    2. Regional conferences focusing on sustainable agriculture issues
    3. Scaling up local food systems
    4. Web-based education of sustainable agriculture
    5. Emerging issues
    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.