2018 University of California PDP Project

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $38,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: University of California
Region: Western
State: California
State Coordinators:
Jeffrey Stackhouse
University of California Cooperative Extension


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: range improvement, rangeland/pasture management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: labor/employment
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration, habitat enhancement
  • Pest Management: flame, integrated pest management
  • Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, quality of life, social capital

    Proposal abstract:

    Context, Justification and Assumptions
    The WSARE Professional Development Program in California has strong ties to specific
    programs within the University of California (UC) Agriculture and Natural Resources, which
    implements the land grant mission in California. The most notable affiliations are with
    Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Sustainability Institute. UC Agriculture and Natural
    Resources is large and diverse, encompassing three campuses (faculty from UC Davis, UC
    Berkeley, and UC Riverside), and 54 county-level Cooperative Extension offices. UC
    Cooperative Extension has about 200 county-based advisors serving farmers, ranchers, families, and communities across the state; of which about 170 focus on agriculture and natural resource programs. USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) technical field staff also work throughout the state in 54 service centers, field offices, and partnership offices. These agricultural professionals are at the front line helping farmers, ranchers, and other groups develop food and farming systems that are profitable, sustain natural resources, and promote stable and prosperous communities.

    In order to streamline the execution of the PDP program in California, we plan to
    continue using the PDP award to fund mini-grants and travel scholarships. As new coordinators
    we will work on forming a new 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 / travel scholarship application and funding process. We plan to fund approximately three mini-grants ($4,000/subaward) and three travel scholarships ($2,000/sub-award) that will be awarded through a formal call for proposals.

    The incredible diversity of California’s agriculture creates an equally diverse need for
    educational and professional development. Current high-priority topics include:
    • Nutrient managmenet practices to minimize environmental impairments
    • Water use efficiency
    • Alternative marketing approaches
    • Farm or ranch succession planning
    • Community-based food systems
    • Establishing farmer-to-farmer information networks
    • Federal and state programs to support sustainable agriculture

    These identified topics help prioritize projects during the review of PDP mini-grant proposals.
    An additional topic of interest expressed by many extension educators is on soil quality in
    cropland and rangeland and the practices that can improve soil quality. One workshop on soil
    quality was funded in 2015 and more will likely be funded in future cycles, especially as the State Department of Food and Agriculture is in the process of rolling out a new set of producer grants for its Healthy Soils Initiative.

    Stakeholder and partner involvement
    The mini-grant process will utilize a panel of stakeholder reviewers that also serve as the
    Western SARE advisory panel in California. The panel will preferably consist of two
    Cooperative Extension advisors, the NRCS State Resource Conservationist, a non-land grant
    university faculty member, a member of a non-profit organization and one farmer/rancher. This panel will be involved in the development of the request for proposals, the review of proposals and in the review of the project evaluations.

    The primary contributions in this proposal are financial and human. Financial
    contributions include monetary support from the PDP grant and possibly contributions from
    other funding sources contributing to the efforts funded through the mini-grant process. Human contributions will be provided by the PDP State Coordinators, advisory committee members and workshop collaborators (Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists and NRCS field staff). UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will provide grant management and accounting support.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Predicting precise outputs from future workshops whose topics are unknown at this time
    is not possible. However, an expectation is that the workshops will train between 50 and 100
    extension educators and agriculture professionals on topics identified in the mini-grant and travel scholarship funding criteria. Grant recipients will be encouraged to provide written material to workshop participants, information on Western SARE grant opportunities, and SARE
    publications. A list of workshop participants and evaluations will be required for each workshop
    so that feedback can be provided to the California PDP advisory panel.

    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.

    The overall outcome of this plan is to increase the capacity of Cooperative Extension advisors,
    NRCS field staff, and other agriculture professionals to apply the principles of sustainable
    agriculture in working with their clientele (farmers, ranchers, consumers, youth, businesses,
    government, or communities). This will be accomplished primarily through workshops that will
    1) extend emerging sustainable agricultural practices to extension educators and agriculture
    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. Other activities that will contribute to the overall
    goal include an evaluation process that will be embedded in all workshops and meetings and a
    planning meeting or conference call with the California PDP advisory committee to prioritize
    training needs for future PDP applications. See Attachment B for details on expected outcomes
    and the evaluation plan.

    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.