The Colorado SARE Professional Development Program provides knowledge and communication of SARE information throughout the state. The development of sound agriculture practices should involve not just changes in the technology, but also a transformation of producers’ attitude towards farming and modifications within the practice.The goals of the 2020 Colorado PDP program project proposal are to:
- Increase the knowledge level and understanding of sustainable agriculture practices,
- Provide sustainable agriculture in-depth training for agricultural educators and producers across the state through mini-grants, training,
- Provide support promoting and potentially hosting educational workshops and travel grants,
- Facilitate grant proposal development opportunities, and
- State agriculture professionals will have a better understanding of Western SARE programs and grant opportunities.
Specific topics that will be covered include, but are not limited to, food and cropping system diversification, energy efficiency, farmer networks, meat production and its supply chain, range and livestock integrated resource management and education programs supporting farm and ranch legacy planning. The intent of legacy planning is to support family farming and ranching in Colorado.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Enhancement of the knowledge and skills of Colorado agricultural professionals interested in sustainable practices: Provide a competitive-mini grants program and the Colorado County Agents Association Professional Development Conference in sustainable agriculture. We expect to support, annually, three competitive mini-grants annually to conduct demonstrations projects, workshops, and/or farm tours. Provide, annually, ten travel scholarships to regional and national conferences/workshops related to sustainable agriculture. Travel scholarships may include paid registrations to virtual conferences when travel is restricted.
- Meat Summit work to advance market opportunities, build connections, and support collective skills development and learning across many segments and scales of Colorado and the Western U.S.’s agricultural and food system. Western U.S. Meat Summit: to be held annually during the winter of 2021 and 2023.
- The Legacy Program is to help participants develop the skills and learn about resources necessary for farmers and ranchers to make informed decisions about end-of-life issues, their estates, and transitioning their farms and ranches to the next generation. The increase in understanding/awareness and skills will help Colorado’s farm and ranches be sustainable across the generations.
- Increase clientele’s understanding of sustainable agriculture practices through educational methods: A comprehensive review of the existing needs assessments and evaluations among the Colorado’s sustainable community will help design approaches to develop and deliver information related to alternative management practices. This will be accomplished through workshops, training, and interaction with professionals and producers by, a sustainable conference focusing on the effects climate variability on range, livestock and crop production.
- Promote awareness of SARE grant opportunities: To increase the level of involvement of agricultural professional across Colorado we will distribute materials and promote activities related to sustainable agriculture through the SARE web page, which will require extensive updating. The Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference and other conferences will provide information about SARE.