California Professional Development Program 2021-2023

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $107,250.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2024
Host Institution Award ID: G276-21-W8618
Grant Recipient: University of California Cooperative Extension
Region: Western
State: California
State Coordinators:
Jeffrey Stackhouse
University of California Cooperative Extension


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. annual), grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: grapes
  • Animals: bovine, fish, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy, eggs, meat


  • Animal Production: aquaculture, manure management, pasture renovation
  • Crop Production: application rate management
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, labor/employment
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, quality of life, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    In order to streamline the execution of the PDP program in California, we plan to continue using the PDP award to fund mini-grants.  We have an established advisory committee to prioritize funding criteria and review submitted proposals for this proposal’s funding cycle.  We also have assistance available through the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources division to manage the mini-grant application and funding processes.  We plan to fund approximately 3 to 6 mini-grants $5,000-$35,000 each that will be awarded through formal call for proposal(s).

    The incredible diversity of California’s agriculture creates an equally diverse need for educational and professional development.  Current high-priority topics include: 

    • Climate change
    • Fire: Wild and Prescribed
    • Nutrient management practices to minimize environmental impairments
    • Water use efficiency
    • Integrated Pest Management
    • Alternative marketing approaches
    • Succession planning
    • Community-based food systems
    • Agricultural community disaster preparedness 

    These identified topics will help prioritize projects during the review of PDP mini-grant proposals.  

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The overall outcome of this plan is to increase the capacity of Cooperative Extension advisors, NRCS field staff, and other agricultural professionals to apply the principals of sustainable agriculture while working with their clientele (Farmers, ranchers, consumers, youth, businesses, government, and communities). Generally, this will be accomplished through funding workshops that will 1) extend emerging sustainable agricultural practices to extension educators and agricultural professionals, and 2) bring together extension educators and university faculty working on sustainable agriculture to develop collaborative priorities, goals, and strategies for researching and extending sustainable agriculture issues. Predicting precise outputs from future workshops whose topics, location, and COVID-friendly make it difficult to estimate specific outputs. with the advisory committee in place, projects that increase knowledge or skills in more participants receive a higher ranking. Additionally, projects that produce outputs that have a longer shelf-life and continue to be a source for increasing knowledge into the future are also favorable. Now that we are expecting both project size and duration to increase with these larger grants, we are hopeful that deeper knowledge and skill can be gained through educational programs with longer duration. We have an expectation is that each workshop will train between 30 and 100 extension educators or agriculture professionals on topics identified in the mini-grant and travel scholarship funding criteria.  Grant recipients will be requires to provide participant evaluations to be embedded in each educational event so that feedback can be provided to the California PDP advisory panel on the acquisition of learning objectives for each project. The advisory panel will use workshop evaluations and general knowledge within their professional cadres to develop ideas and priorities for future PDP activities in California.

    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.