2018 University of Nevada 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 Nevada
Region: Western
State: Nevada
State Coordinator:
Stephen Foster
Board of Regents, Nevada System of Higher Education on behalf of University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, technical assistance

    Proposal abstract:

    a) Context, justification and assumptions
    Nevada’s fiscal year 2017 SARE-Professional Development Program (PDP) in Nevada
    will support training for Cooperative Extension faculty and staff, faculty from the University of
    Nevada’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, the Natural Resources
    Conservation Service, and the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Training will improve their
    knowledge and understanding of SARE principles related to sustainable agriculture. SARE-PDP
    funds will help professionals incorporate sustainability principles in education, technical
    assistance and outreach programs. SARE funding will support inter-agency teams (assembled by Extension) to hold training sessions in Nevada with national experts and from Nevada’s
    agricultural community, including state and federal agencies and farmers.
    Context: Nevada’s agricultural industry has been the consistent, baseline industry in the
    state. While other industries have had their boom-and-bust cycles or bubbles that have burst,
    agriculture has been steady and reliable. The producers have learned how to produce crops and livestock that are compatible with the high desert environment. That consistency and reliability has been an asset and a liability to the industry. While agriculture, or Ag, provides a steady job base, it is overlooked due to the comparison to the size of the Ag industry in California and the size and perceived economic impact of other industries in the state. Of the 3,100 farms/ranches in Nevada, 2,100 cover less than 179 acres (Census of Ag, 2010). However, when examining the total direct and indirect influence of agriculture on the Nevada economy of approximately $40 billion, the Ag industry still has significant opportunities through two key concepts: the value chain and food hubs. With growing competitive pressures, both domestically and internationally, and with enterprises from multinationals to micro enterprises, the concept of value chain will be a useful tool in identifying opportunities in farming new crops, exporting, gaps in food processing, support services, wholesale/distribution and retail (Agriculture Cluster Study for Nevada, 2012).

    Justification: The federal government has also identified agriculture as an economic
    engine that will continue to have a significant impact on a global scale. With populations
    continuing to increase, there is an understanding that a multi-faceted approach to agriculture is necessary to provide sustenance to citizens of the United States as well as the world.
    Other states, universities, farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs are not waiting for a grand
    policy or funding program to bring salvation. Bringing innovative thinking to bear, new
    technologies are being implemented to extend growing seasons, plant new regional crops and
    create local hubs of food production, processing and consumption.
    As stated in many studies, the sustainability of rural communities is at stake. The keys to
    the preservation and prosperity of a valuable part of the American landscape will be based on a community-wide scale. Understanding that the community is much larger than the local county is necessary to ensure that food continues to be plentiful, available and at a reasonable price.
    Extension educators and specialists need training about the best ways to provide sound economic and practical advice for those considering agriculture as a supplemental or primary income.

    Assumptions: Conclusions from the Agriculture Cluster Study for Nevada, 2012,
    conducted by the Northern Nevada Development Authority, were as follows:
    1. Opportunities in growing new crops have been thoroughly tested yet the local food
    movement, transportation costs and other unknown external factors will influence the
    ability to find a market that is economically viable.
    2. While many of the food processors in the southern part of the state provide for the
    tourism industry, opportunities in Northern Nevada exist to participate in local food
    hubs as well as exporting out of state. Farm-to-fork connections will be a key to
    creating economies of scale needed to recruit or create new regional food processing
    3. With a recognized presence as a favorable location for distribution operations, the
    state is poised to take advantage of locally produced Ag product. With $7 billion of
    food distribution in the state, constant pressures on transportation costs and hoop
    house technology, there are opportunities that need to be explored.
    4. We also assume that Extension educators and specialists will have the standing by
    association with Nevada’s land grant university and their expertise to be credible
    sources of information for sustainable farmers.

    b) Stakeholder involvement
    For sustainable agricultural enterprises, soliciting stakeholder input is an ongoing needs
    assessment process. Extension is involved in several major initiatives to maintain close working
    relationships with stakeholders. These include the Council on Food Security for the State of
    Nevada. The Council on Food Security for the State of Nevada includes private and public
    sector professionals involved in food production, distribution and food policy. This group will
    focus on issues articulated during the annual Northern Nevada Food Summit, which was cosponsored by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. The Food Summit involved
    producers and agriculture organizations (i.e., The Nevada Farm Bureau, The Food Bank of
    Northern Nevada, Nevada Grown, Nevada Specialty Crop Institute, Cattleman’s Association,
    Farm Bureau, and Healthy Communities Coalition). The State SARE-PDP Coordinator also
    works directly with the Cooperative Extension faculty and staff, NRCS, USDA Rural
    Development, State Department of Agriculture and other agency professionals.
    In addition, UNCE has started the process of forming a Nevada SARE Advisory
    Committee. Currently, the committee is comprised of UNCE personnel and one farmer/rancher
    who are active in Nevada agriculture. The committee will continue to recruit additional
    Government Agencies and Non-Government Organizations. The role of the committee is to
    provide input and direction to the annual PDP plan.

    c) Inputs.
    SARE-PDP funds will support participation of Nevada agricultural professionals in
    appropriate sustainability related training opportunities, such as the Nevada Small Farm
    Conference, the Western Alfalfa and Forage Conference and the National Association of County
    Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference.
    Applicants will request funds using the SARE-PDP Travel Scholarship form. SARE-PDP funds
    will support travel meetings with experts at demonstration sites and conferences in Nevada and other states. SARE PDP funds may be used for purchasing or printing educational materials for use in symposiums or training programs. Producers will be involved in any tour and in developing the content for other trainings and conferences. The State SARE Coordinator will actively solicit and review proposals/request from faculty for individual professional
    development. A small portion of funding will be allocated to support project administration and
    related costs.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The primary outcomes will be to expand the skills and knowledge about sustainable agriculture feasibility related to WSARE goals among Extension faculty and staff. Also, to integrate skills and knowledge about agriculture sustainability into ongoing educational programming around the state for other government and non-agencies, producers and communities consistent with the goals of SARE.

    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.