a) Specific topics for FY18 – We will focus on: Sustainable agriculture training for beginning
farmers in conjunction with an awarded Beginning Farmer & Rancher Grant for Idaho. Because we have many on-going programs with the Beginning Farmer & Rancher Grant, we plan to add sustainable programs to these new and existing workshops; Soil health and cover crops; Water conservation; Community food systems (new markets and infrastructure); Many of these projects will be run through a mini-grants format.
b) Context, justification and assumptions – With input from our SARE PDP Advisory Committee, our Idaho SARE PDP funds will be utilized to support 1-2 larger conferences, 1-3 mini-grants, and 1-2 travel grants for Extension Educators, all focused on sustainable agriculture. Our goal for Idaho SARE PDP funds will be to help Extension Educators advance their knowledge of topics within sustainable agriculture and implement sustainable agriculture programs that reach a large audience. In FY17, Idaho SARE PDP had low applications for mini-grants and travel grants. As a result, the PIs and the advisory committee recommend a more extensive outreach in FY18 to reach other outside agencies and NGOs that conduct sustainable agriculture outreach. This goal will help Idaho SARE PDP co-sponsor existing sustainable agriculture conferences in the state, leading to strengthened partnerships and a greater impact with a large audience-base. Idaho SARE will continue to promote Western SARE grant opportunities and distribute SARE publications and books to agricultural professionals and producers.
c) Stakeholder involvement – Our Idaho SARE PDP Advisory Committee for 2017/2018 includes 15 stakeholders. The current committee consists of 4 extension educators, 4 farmers, 4 non-profit representatives (Rural Roots, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides,
Inland Northwest Food Network, and Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture), and 2 agency representatives (i.e. ISDA and NRCS). We hosted our FY18 advisory committee meeting via Zoom on March 10, 2017. The committee meeting had 9 advisory committee members present. The advisory committee participants each had an opportunity to share their input on focus areas for Idaho SARE PDP funds. The input provided was similar to last year. The committee wants to see more sustainable agriculture programming spread throughout the state. However, the committee realizes that Extension Educators are busy with other grants and programs, making it difficult to get mini-grant applications. The committee suggests reaching a broader audience through agencies and NGOs focused on sustainable agriculture. The committee recommends that the PIs reach-out to these groups, to help identify existing programs or new programs that SARE can partner with and help sponsor the events. In addition, the advisory committee identified relevant sustainable agriculture topics for Idaho, which include product development and marketing of specialty crops or alternative crops that meet current industry needs in the state (i.e. Clif bar, Annie’s Organic, etc.) and food system outreach. Similar to last year, soil health, water conservation, and IPM are continuously important for Idaho producers. The advisory team offered suggestions for better ways to deliver programming/education including: farmer-to-farmer training/mentoring, podcasts and webinars on topics, and the “roadshow” idea of taking one workshop to several locations in Idaho.
Methods & Results:
d) Inputs – Funding from SARE will provide partial support for: a) Wages for a part-time program associate to: coordinate mini-grants, educational events, and the Sustainable Ag Advisory committee meetings; and assist in program evaluation; b) Funding for mini-grants;
c) Travel funds for Idaho Extension Educators to attend conferences and regional training; d) Conference support to include speaker honorariums and travel, room rental and supplies; e) Program coordinators’ travel to WSARE PDP annual summer meeting; and f) Funds for purchasing SARE books. Additional funding will come from federal grants, partnering states, organizations, and/or agencies. Time and energy will be contributed by identified stakeholders (producers, non-profits, agencies, and university faculty) to participate in meetings, grants, and workshops. Facilities and equipment will be provided by county extension offices when possible.
e) Outputs for FY18 (See Attachment A – Logic Model)
1) Target audience: The travel scholarships and mini-grant opportunities will be advertised to approximately 50 extension educators and specialists. We estimate funding 3-5 travel scholarships and program mini-grants for extension faculty. We estimate reaching over 300 ag professionals (Extension Educators, agency and NGO representatives, and agriculture consultants) and over 200 producers through Idaho SARE PDP sponsored programs.
2) Activities and Methods: a) Continue the competitive mini-grants program to provide funding for Extension Educators to conduct demonstration projects, workshops, or farm tours. b) Continue to fund UI Extension Educator travel scholarships to regional and national conferences or workshops related to sustainable agriculture. c) Sponsor and co-sponsor 1-2 larger conferences/workshops, as identified by our advisory committee to reach a wide-audience of Extension, other ag professionals, and producers. d) Continue outreach efforts to promote Western SARE grant opportunities through distribution of materials and promotion of activities.
3) Products: Sustainable agriculture programs, conferences, and workshops as identified through the competitive mini-grants and other outside partnerships.
Project objectives from proposal:
Outcomes – Ag professionals and producers will increase knowledge and understanding of sustainable production practices. Extension Educators, agency and NGO representatives, and other agriculture professionals will increase knowledge and capacity by integrating sustainable agriculture into their programming, providing SARE resource information, and one-on-one assistance to farmers. Agriculture professionals in the state will have a better understanding of WSARE programs and grant opportunities. Producers will increase their knowledge and implementation of sustainable agriculture practices.