Colorado Sustainable Agricultural Professional Development Program, (2018)
a ) Topic(s): Colorado PDP goals during the next year (2018) are; 1) assess the knowledge level and educational needs of professionals associated with sustainable agriculture, 2) provide sustainable agriculture in-depth training for agricultural educators and producers across the state through mini-grants and training, 3) provide support promoting and potentially hosting educational workshops, 4) and facilitate proposal development in response to grant opportunities. Specific topics that will be covered include, but are not limited to, food and cropping system diversification, energy efficiency, farmer networks, and range and livestock integrated resource management.
b) Context, justification and assumptions: The objectives of the Colorado SARE Professional Development Program are to provide 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. This process requires, identifying critical knowledge gaps that hinder the adoption of sustainable practices, and re-thinking approaches to disseminate concepts on sustainable farming systems. Sustainable agriculture in Colorado is by its very
nature a multidisciplinary field and will incorporate subject matter from agriculture, natural resources, social sciences and related disciplines.
Information derived by diverse audiences such as the annual SW Marketing Conference, Colorado County Agents Association, Colorado Extension Planning and Reporting Units (PRU) also known as work teams make up the Colorado Advisory Council. This determines a
statewide assessment of training needs for Extension faculty and agency staff (e.g., NRCS, Conservation Districts and NGO’s) and if necessary this is accomplished by phone, email and web based survey technologies.
c) Stakeholder and partner involvement: Colorado sustainable agriculture stakeholders consist of a large array of people including agricultural producers (farmers, ranchers), rural landowners, NGO’s, agricultural professionals (Extension, CSFS, and NRCS). Integrating stakeholder involvement into all events pertaining to sustainable agriculture continues to be an important component of the educational objective for the Colorado PDP Coordinators. The CSU Extension PRU’s and Colorado PDP program collaborate and provide considerable synergy. In addition, we have solicited advice primarily from agriculture professionals with the presumption they were reflecting the input of producer stakeholders with whom they worked and interacted. The PDP coordinators are formalizing an advisory committee structure by assuring we have representation from Extension, agriculture professionals and producers to help set priorities, determine mini-grant recipients, and provide feedback/input.
Project objectives from proposal:
Methods and Results section:
Objective 1) Enhancement of the knowledge-base and skills of Colorado agricultural professionals interested in sustainable agricultural practices: In 2018, provide a competitive-mini grants program in sustainable agriculture. We expect to support six competitive mini-grants to conduct demonstrations projects, workshops, and/or farm tours. Provide four
to six travel scholarships to regional and national conferences/workshops related to sustainable agriculture.
Objective 2) Increase clientele’s understanding of sustainable agriculture practices through educational methods: A comprehensive review of the knowledge gaps existing 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.
Objective 3) Promote awareness of WSARE 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 COWSARE web page which will require extensive updating.