2018 University of Arizona PDP Project

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $37,998.54
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: University of Arizona
Region: Western
State: Arizona
State Coordinators:
Rick Gibson
University of Arizona
Dr. Randy Norton
The University of Arizona


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, mentoring, workshop

    Proposal abstract:

    Context, Justification and Assumptions:
    The Arizona Sustainable Agriculture Development Program assists Extension agents and
    specialists, Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel, producers, and other
    agricultural/education professionals in their efforts to learn and apply the concepts and
    techniques of sustainable agriculture systems. The SARE development program is important to
    Arizona because it strives to link Cooperative Extension and USDA field personnel with
    producers and agricultural professionals statewide. Organic, biodynamic, and permaculture and other producers of various scale apply sustainable agriculture principles to food and fiber
    production systems in Arizona. A variety of marketing philosophies are used to connect with
    consumers including farmers’ markets, consumer supported agriculture, field stands, local
    markets, and internet sales. Additionally, Native American authorities and community members
    desire to reconnect with their past agricultural heritage and seek assistance in learning and
    teaching concepts that interface and enhance traditional agricultural techniques. The overall
    natural arid environment of Arizona creates unique challenges for all producers and the current
    long-term drought in the Southwest adds a critical emphasis. These issues make it important for the current 20 Arizona Extension agents, their supporting specialists, other agricultural
    professionals, non-governmental entities, decision makers, producers, and consumers to work
    together in a synergistic manner. The key for these linkages is effective communication and
    partnership at all levels. For these reasons, it is important that all parties better understand the concepts of sustainable agriculture and the methodologies required to appropriately apply them in arid land conditions. Arizona programs facilitate the distribution of knowledge and
    experience to stakeholders statewide. The state program coordinator encourages communication and interaction between interested parties in Arizona and all segments of the national and regional SARE programs.

    In Arizona, great strides have been made in helping Extension faculty and others better
    understand the nature and applicability of sustainable agriculture concepts. This increased
    knowledge has been demonstrated in the adoption of sustainable agriculture principles into
    Extension programming, in stakeholder awareness of SARE grant opportunities, and by
    Extension faculty engagement with local sustainable agriculture producers. Specific needs that
    requiring focus are detailed in the proposed activities for 2017-18. This application builds upon
    a solid foundation previously laid and addresses the next needed steps to move the work forward.

    Stakeholder involvement:
    Members of the Arizona SARE Advisory Committee provide input and direction to the program.
    There are four members currently, all from Cooperative Extension. James Walworth, Peter
    Warren, and Kelly Young with Rick Gibson as chair provide oversight and input. Producer input
    comes from stakeholders known by the individual members. Needs assessment surveys help
    guide programming. Additional stakeholder participation is achieved by partnering with
    producers, agricultural professionals, producer organizations, and other outreach programs.
    Individual agents receive suggestions, input, and feedback from the clientele with whom they

    1. Financial - SARE funding provides financial support to enhance the development of
    Arizona Extension PDP programs.
    2. Human - The experience and professionalism of Cooperative Extension professionals,
    including their professional education skills and their increasing understanding of
    sustainable agriculture concepts and techniques; the guidance of stakeholders, and the
    engagement of other agriculture education professionals; office support to assist with
    proper documentation of resources, communications and benchmark information
    3. Physical - Equipment and office space of participating agencies and organizations, weband
    Internet-based support for the distribution of information.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Extension professionals taking the opportunity to participate in sustainable agriculture
    seminars, conferences and other professional development activities through travel grants
    will be better able to address local sustainable agriculture issues (short term)
    2. Extension professionals participating in local workshops will feel comfortable adopting
    or recommending adoption of sustainable agriculture techniques (medium term)
    3. Trained professionals will teach the concepts that they have learned to their clientele
    (medium term)
    4. Agricultural operations will become more sustainable (medium and long term)

    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.