- Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, networking, technical assistance, workshop
North Carolina SARE (NC SARE) is a collaborative effort from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and North Carolina Agriculture & Technical State University (NCA&T). NC SARE promotes sustainable agriculture in North Carolina and supports sustainable agriculture trainings for agriculture professionals, which include North Carolina Cooperative Extension (NCCE) professionals and other educators defined by Southern SARE. NC SARE offers sustainable agriculture trainings primarily through competitive travel scholarships. These travel scholarships benefit agriculture professionals at all levels, as educators may apply for trainings that best suit their service regions/counties’ needs and resources, as well as their own level of expertise. Applications for technical and educational training in any area of sustainable agriculture can be submitted. Possible trainings may include, but are not limited to, the annual Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference (CFSA SAC), the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) Workshops, the NC Choices’ Carolina Meat Conference/ Women Working in the Meat Industry (CMC/WIM), and NCSU and NCA&T Field Days. NC SARE also offers the NC SARE Outstanding NCCE Educator award, in partnership with CFSA. This year, NC SARE will begin providing competitive funding to Extension Educators to provide a focused training to NCCE agents in a topic of sustainable agriculture. Guided by the Advisory Council, NC SARE has been a visible presence in NC sustainable agriculture and publicizing events through its website, the NC Extension portal, and Twitter, and providing sustainable agriculture educational materials, such as SARE publications, to trainers.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
NC SARE’s main outreach objective in 2017-2018 was to promote and help provide sustainable agriculture trainings for Cooperative Extension agents, NRCS and Soil and Water personnel, appropriate non-profit personnel, and mentor farmers so that these agriculture educators and leaders
can pass on information and knowledge of sustainable agriculture practices to farmers, landowners, and the public. To achieve this main objective, NC SARE changed the smaller objectives to provide travel scholarships for professional development:
• to approximately 20 agents, personnel and/or farmers to attend the CFSA Sustainable Agriculture Conference;
• to 5 agents, personnel, and/or farmer to attend the SSAWG Conference;
• to 10 agents, personnel, and/or farmers to attend the CMC/WIM;
• to provide funds for agents, personnel, and/or farmers to attend CEFS or other training events;
• to provide funds for training materials for the NC Small Farms Field Days.
In 2017-2018, NC SARE was able to offer partial or full travel scholarships for professional development to 100 Extension personnel. Events included sending 25 Extension agents to the CFSA SAC, 10 agricultural professionals to SSAWG Conference, 50 agents to NC Choices’
CMC/WIM, and 15 agents to the American Forage and Grasslands Council Conference, as well as provide training materials for the NC Small Farm Field Day.
The main objective for 2018-2019 will not change, however, the smaller objectives will. NC SARE plans to:
• Provide travel scholarships to approximately 13 agents/personnel/farmers to attend the CFSA SAC, 9 agents/personnel/farmers to attend the CMC/WIM;
• Provide 5-10 agents, personnel, and/or farmers to attend CEFS training events;
• Provide scholarships to 1-5 agents to attend other sustainable agriculture training that become available in NC;
• Provide funds for training materials for the NCA&T Small Farms Field Day;
• Provide funds for a focused, Extension Specialist-led training for agents on a specialized
aspect of sustainable agriculture.
We expect to offer travel scholarships and trainings to a total of approximately 24 agents, personnel, and/or mentor farmers. We expect 30-40 agents, personnel, and mentor farmers to participate in the NC Small Farms Field Days, which provides excellent training on production and marketing information for small farms, and the latest research applicable to small farms in NC. Sustainable agriculture trainings and travel scholarship opportunities will be publicized via the NC SARE website, twitter, and NC Extension Portal/ Intranet.