- Crop Production: agroforestry, cover crops
- Education and Training: extension
In Wisconsin, Extension, NRCS, and Land Conservation Departments are the primary agencies providing technical assistance to farmers and the principal audiences targeted by Wisconsin’s SARE professional development program. In addition, staff from the technical college system, NGOs (including RC&Ds), Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and others are involved in agriculture outreach and often included in SARE outreach efforts.
Recent SARE professional development in Wisconsin has focused on soil health and management, as well as perennial agriculture and climate change, and supported work in grazing, organic agriculture, and local food systems. We will continue to support professional development in these areas.
This year our advisory committee identified water as an emerging issue of concern in agriculture. There are many other organizations looking at water management, but we would like to explore if SARE can address sustainable approaches that are not being covered.
Extension in Wisconsin is currently undergoing a major reorganization in response to deep budget cuts. Budget cuts have also affected sustainable programming in other state agencies; for example, the Department of Agriculture (DATCP) has suspended the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants program that supported development of local food businesses. These budget cuts make the resources offered by SARE even more valuable to agricultural professionals, but they also make it more difficult for educators to explore new programming and have encouraged a number of excellent educators to leave state employment.
Project objectives from proposal:
State initiatives for 2017-18 are:
Initiative 1: Cover Crops and Soil Health
Initiative 2: Agroforestry and Perennial Agriculture
Initiative 3: Extending Sustainable Agriculture Knowledge and Practice
Initiative 4: Improving Management of Water Quantity and Quality in Sustainable Agriculture