Kansas SARE 2021-2022 PDP Plan of Work

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2022: $130,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: K-State Research and Extension
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
State Coordinator:
Kerri Ebert
K-State Research and Extension


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: cropping systems, food product quality/safety
  • Education and Training: display, extension, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: agritourism, business planning, farmers' markets/farm stands
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Kansas initiatives for 2021-22

    1. Beginning Farmer/Rancher
    2. Diversified Farming Systems
    3. Local Food
    4. Equity and Social Justice in the Food System

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Initiative 1:  Beginning Farmer/Rancher

    Primary audience: Extension agents and specialists, NGOs, and other professionals working with young and beginning farmers.


    This initiative continues efforts started during 2019-2020. Team Kansas members from the regional training continue to work on beginning farmer and farm transition initiatives in conjunction with Extension and NGO efforts in the state. Programs include workshops, study tours, webinars, and other educational events. During this two-year plan of work, KS SARE will offer conference scholarships and mini-grants for educational programming that increases the sustainability and success of beginning and transitioning farmers/ranchers.

    Expected Outcomes:

    • 5 conference scholarships awarded for ag professionals to increase their knowledge of beginning farmer/rancher issues
    • 20 additional Extension agents and 20 agency professionals trained to assess the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers as well as communicate available resources
    • 3 mini grants awarded for a beginning farmer/rancher workshops; one of which will target veterans and active duty soldiers
    • 25 percent increase in visits to the existing Beginning Farmer resource page on the KS SARE web site


    • Cooperate with Kansas Rural Center to build on the insight gained from their activity with LNC16-377 - Transitioning farm and ranch land from one family to another: Evaluating new strategies for profitable transfers and sustainable agriculture partnerships. Years 1 and 2
    • Connect with the Growing Growers apprenticeship program to monitor progress toward forming a Young Farmers Coalition and assist with travel scholarships and/or mini grants as needed. Years 1 and 2
    • Work with Kansas Black Farmers Association to provide or encourage attendance at capacity building education opportunities around unique barriers experienced by people of color when beginning or transitioning to farming, including issues related to land access. Years 1 and 2
    • Work with Farmer Veteran Coalition of Kansas on programming specifically for veteran and transitioning soldiers who are interested in farming. Years 1 and 2
    • Prepare bank of tweets focused on resources for beginning farmers to be posted on Twitter throughout Years 1 and 2


    • Administer evaluations (pre and post) for regional training
    • Collect attendance information from educational events hosted by those trained at the regional training
    • Monitor hits on KS SARE Beginning Farmers web page
    • Monitor likes and retweets from posts made during sponsored events
    • Track educational programming offered by Extension agents in their counties, districts, or areas


    Initiative 2:  Diversified Farming Systems

    Primary Audience: Extension personnel, NGOs, farmers, students, governmental agency staff, farm consultants


    This initiative is focused on building capacity within Extension and the ag community to address the growing interest in and need for diversifying agriculture in Kansas. The initiative began with an organic systems focus but as state advisory committee members discussed initiatives, the need for a more encompassing approach emerged. In recent years there has been increasing interest in organic systems but the interest goes deeper than just organics to include: permaculture, permanent conversion to forages, rotating crop and grazing lands, pasture renovation, and alternative crops for Kansas (such as pulses, ancient grains, and hemp). Identified needs include basic, intermediate, and advanced education for grain, livestock, and fruit and vegetable producers about possibilities and options. With low commodity prices, traditional producers are seriously considering alternatives, but Kansas agriculture has been pretty much the same for generations. A shift seems to be emerging, however, in how some existing farms choose to be managed, how beginning producers want to manage, and a reluctance to transition land to the highest bidder but rather select a like-minded successor to manage land. This initiative has overlap with the Beginning Farmer initiative but focuses more closely on on helping ag professionals increase their understanding of the depth and breadth of land management options available to farmers and providing them with the resources needed to provide meaningful, timely advice.

    Expected Outcomes:

    • 10 ag professionals participate in at least one workshop about organic agriculture
    • 25 ag professionals increase their knowledge of alternative crop options
    • 5 Extension agents use conference scholarships to increase their knowledge of diversification for farming systems
    • 5 Extension agents provide new programming in the area of diversified farming systems
    • 3 mini grants awarded for programming about organic transition, permaculture, alternative cropping options, etc.


    • Provide support, encouragement, and programming options for K-State’s new Sustainable Food Production Systems faculty member. Years 1 and 2
    • Support learning opportunities on the subject of wholesale market development (this topic overlaps with Initiative 3); for alternative crops, vegetables, fruits, and protein production. Years 1 and 2
    • Support organic systems education opportunities through professional development travel scholarships. Years 1 and 2
    • Provide conference scholarships for ag professionals to increase their capacity to assist Kansans who desire to diversify their operations to more regenerative practices. Years 1 and 2
    • Add content to KS SARE web site for resources for farmers and ag professionals. Years 1 and 2


    • Administer evaluations (pre and post) for sponsored workshops
    • Collect post event reports from travel scholarship recipients
    • Monitor web site activity


    Initiative 3:  Local Food

    Primary audience: Extension agents, students, market managers, farmers, other government agencies, NGOs

    Interest in local food production, aggregation, and distribution continues to be a hot topic in Kansas. Interest in food hubs remains strong as producers consider scaling up. At the same time, regulations (FSMA and GAPs, for example) continue to create confusion and fear. Through this initiative, KS SARE seeks to broaden understanding of issues faced by local food producers. It will also provide some continuity for moving forward with lessons learned during the 2020 COVID-19-affected growing season as local food providers proved to be the most nimble at adjusting to shifts in consumer needs. While vegetable and fruit production could be considered a part of Initiatives 1 and 2 (Beginning Farmers/Ranchers and Diversified Farming Systems), the state advisory committee believes local food should be a separate initiative; recognizing there will be some overlap with other initiatives. Momentum around local food continues to grow – from the formation of the Kansas City Food Hub in 2016 to the ongoing interest in local Food and Farm Councils to the impromptu food hubs created by necessity during the pandemic. Further evidence of the need to continue a local food emphasis is the grassroots organization of the Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association that received IRS approval as a non-profit in 2020.

    Expected Outcomes:

    • 20 extension agents and/or market managers will increase their knowledge of local food production by attending a local, regional, or national farmers market education workshop
    • 20 extension agents and/or market managers will attend Food Safety Modernization Act and/or Good Agricultural Practices trainings to increase their ability to assist produce growers
    • 3 Sustainable local food public lectures, workshops, or farm tours will be co-hosted by KS SARE through a PDP mini grant
    • 5 professional development conference stipends awarded for local food/specialty crop-related activity


    • Support and promote the Kansas Rural Center’s Farm and Food Conference. Years 1 & 2
    • Support and encourage programming initiated by the Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association and other organizations working in the local food space. Years 1 & 2
    • Assist local planning and delivery of sustainable local food programming through farm tours and workshops. Years 1 & 2
    • Cooperate with the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Program on delivery of workshops for farmer’s market managers and vendors. Years 1 & 2
    • Promote and encourage professional development opportunities for ag professionals who work with local food and/or specialty crop producers. Years 1 & 2


    • Administer evaluations (pre and post) for workshops to determine usefulness of content and format and need for more or different focus areas
    • Collect attendance information from workshops to determine who is attending (and more importantly who is not attending but should) and adjust program promotion accordingly
    • Monitor likes and retweets from posts made during sponsored events
    • Number of requests for documents; or if available online number of unique visits to the website
    • Collect post-event evaluations from workshops and travel scholarships



    Initiative 4:  Equity and Social Justice in the Food System

    Primary audience: Extension professionals, students, farmers, government agency staff, NGOs

    Current events prompted the state advisory committee to request an initiative specifically to increase capacity about food system inequity and social justice. As with other initiatives, this issue could be incorporated into all the other initiatives or, as has been chosen, serve as a stand-alone initiative to enhance understanding of long overlooked, systemic inequities in the food system. This initiative will focus on professional improvement opportunities to increase Kansas agriculture’s capacity to empower small and medium size farmers, farmers of color, farmers with disability, farm workers, indigenous people, low-income people, women, and communities of color. It also serves as a reminder of the need for agriculturalists to do their part to make good food accessible to all. The goal will be to strive for a food system as described by the Good Food For All Collaborative as one that provides economic and community health, regenerates, protects, and respects natural resources and animals, and ensures that all people live with dignity and freedom from oppression and exploitation.

    Expected Outcomes:

    • 5 extension agents and/or ag professionals will increase their knowledge of systemic inequities in the American food system
    • 3 food justice public lectures, workshops, or symposia each year to be accomplished through a KS SARE PDP mini grant
    • 5 professional development scholarships awarded for food equity, social justice, and/or food system cultural awareness training
    • 3 new contacts made with tribal representatives and/or Haskell Indian Nations University (1994 Land Grant University).


    • Cooperate with, support, and promote the Kansas Black Farmers Association, the Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association, tribal nations, and other organizations working on food justice issues. Years 1 & 2
    • Assist local planning and delivery farm tours and/or workshops highlighting farmers of color, female farmers, indigenous people, etc. Years 1 & 2
    • Assist Haskell Indian Nations University as needed to access NCR-SARE funding for food sovereignty/sustainable agriculture programming. Years 1 & 2
    • Promote and encourage professional development opportunities for ag professionals to increase their capacity to address the unique issues presented by food system inequities. Years 1 & 2


    • Administer evaluations (pre and post) for workshops and field days to determine usefulness of content and format and need for more or different focus areas
    • Collect attendance information from workshops to determine if audience needs are being met and adjust educational activities as indicated
    • Monitor likes and retweets from posts made during sponsored events
    • Collect post-event evaluations from workshops and travel scholarships





    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.