2023 Southern SARE Model State Program - University of Tennessee

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $22,000.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Grant Recipient: University of Tennessee
Region: Southern
State: Tennessee
State Coordinator:
Rob Holland
UT Extension


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

The University of Tennessee looks to continue the sustainable agriculture training the SARE program offers to Extension agents,
specialists and other agriculture professionals. In meeting those training needs we gather input from regional agriculture program leaders, Extension agents, program partners, producers, and state co-coordinators. The program assistant will promote awareness of the SARE program, along with a secondary focus on the SARE grant programs, encouraging utilization and promotion of this program. The state co-coordinators working with the
program assistant will seek to provide opportunities for more in-depth training related to sustainable agriculture. This will help to develop training with a more direct program focus. All training opportunities provided will be in-line with the mission of SARE:

  • Profitability for the farm
  • Care of the water/land resources
  • Improving the quality of life
  • Focus on Production

We will also work with agriculture professionals that find other training opportunities to participate in as long as these trainings relate to the mission of the SARE program. These will be treated on a case-by-case basis and the determination of these trainings in meeting the mission of SARE will be determined by the state co-coordinators and the program assistant. All trainees will be required to report on their training opportunities so program impact can be determined and reported. Impacts will be provided in the annual SARE report and the proper Extension reporting areas. Department information sheets will be developed on major program impacts/research.

Project objectives from proposal:

  • Train up to 30 Extension Agents on “The Basics of Sustainable Agriculture Production.” This program will be led by Dr. Annette Wszelaki, a member of our advisory committee and Professor in Plant Sciences with a specialization in vegetable production.  Her program outreach is in vegetable production, season extension, organic and sustainable crop production and produce safety. She will be assisted in this training by Rachel Painter, Value-Added Marketing Specialist with the Center for Profitable Agriculture and Troy Dugger, SARE Program Assistant and Program Coordinator for the Center for Profitable Agriculture.  This training will take place in the central part of our state and will be designed as a two-day event.  Classroom training will take place for 75% of the first day on sustainable vegetable production practices, with a section of cover crops.  The other 25% of the first day and the majority of the second day will be touring farms in the area that show these production practices (up to four farm locations will be featured.)
  • Train-the-Trainer with the “Sustainable Agriculture In-Service” Training for Extension Agents. This two-day training will be coordinated and led by Rachel Painter and Troy Dugger with the Center for Profitable Agriculture.  Day one will consist of classroom instructions before touring small enterprise and acreage farms.  These farms could include specialty crops important to Tennessee to include marketing and sustainable production practices.  The second day of the training would allow Extension Agents to participate in day one of the Pick Tennessee Conference, focusing on presentations related to sustainable agriculture.  The Pick Tennessee Conference “provides educational programming and networking in a collaborative environment which fosters growth to sustain agriculture.” This training will be provided for up to 30 Extension Agents.
  • Sustainable Agriculture Trainings for Agriculture Professionals will provide an opportunity for six agriculture professionals to attend sustainable agriculture trainings. These trainings could be identified by SARE personnel or by the agriculture professional wishing to attend an event that fits the mission of SARE.  Travel expenses will be covered for those attending and a report provided to SARE on what was learned and how the trainer can use that information in an educational setting.
  • SARE Promotion of Agriculture Planning Days, Professional Development Association Meetings, and other events to promote the TN SARE Program – Opportunities to promote, educate and offer ideas about the SARE program in TN are valuable to expand the program. These planning days and events will be used to accomplish these goals. Reports on previous sustainable agriculture programs conducted, giving Extension Agents the opportunity to speak about their sustainable agriculture opportunities, and our SARE display at these meetings and events will be helpful in promotion of SARE.  Included in this budget is travel expense for the Program Assistant to attend these events.


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.