Farmer Field Day Toolkit
Field days are a great way to share innovative ideas in sustainable agriculture with fellow farmers and ranchers, but organizing an event can be time consuming, especially if you have limited experience. This farmer field day toolkit can take some of the pressure off—it provides tips and tools on key aspects of event planning. Sections include:
What is a Field Day?
Field days are educational events hosted by the producer and held on-farm or on-ranch. The events usually include demonstrations of specific management practices and equipment and/or highlight research methods and results. Audiences can include fellow producers, ag professionals, students, community members and the media. The field day can include presentations, posters, materials and walks through the fields.
Why Host a Field Day?
Example isn't another way to teach, it's the only way to teach. - Albert Einstein
Hosting a field day gives you a rewarding opportunity to showcase your hard work and achievements—the best practices for sustainability you have learned, in-field experiments, conservation efforts, ways to increase yields and profits, and more. Farmer-to-farmer education may be the best use of time to increase the sustainability of your community.
During a field day, members of your community will have a chance to learn what you grow, potentially increasing your market and brand recognition.
Recipients of SARE grants have committed to conducting broad outreach about their funded project. The expectation is that research results get into the hands of fellow producers and ag professionals quickly. Producers' most preferred ways of learning new methods and practices are through hands-on activities and on-farm demonstrations. A field day encourages peer-to-peer learning and highlights real-world practices that are successful.
The project’s results may inspire others to make similar changes and try new practices.
When planning a field day, consider partnering with organizations that share interests. This could include NRCS, conservation districts, and local Extension staff. Farm bureaus and other farmer organizations are also logical partners. Partnering may give you access to additional funding, publicity and logistical support.
The information here can be used by anybody interested in hosting a field day, whether you are a SARE grantee or not.
How to Host a Field Day
Leave plenty of time to plan and organize! Take a look at the tips, tools and resources assembled here to help guarantee a successful event. Click on the following sections for more information:
The following tips cover key areas of planning. See the suggested timeline for how they fit together in a typical situation.
Planning ahead will help ensure a successful field day. This suggested timeline describes tasks to perform starting two to three months out, up to the day before the event.
The media—both traditional print, television and radio outlets as well as social media—can be a great tool for sharing the innovative techniques and concepts that are at the core of your field day. Following a few simple tips can help get the most out of the media's interest in your field day.
You can increase the learning value of your field day by video recording key aspects of it and sharing your video through social media. A video does not need to be professionally produced to be useful to other farmers and ranchers, but when recording it is helpful to keep in mind a few basic tips and have a plan, especially if you are new to recording outdoor events.
What makes a good press release and public service announcement? Read tips and download examples.
All of these resources can be printed out at home or brought to a commercial printer.