Annual Plan of Work and Report Summary
2012 Report Summary
As Nebraska State SARE Coordinator I participated or had a SARE display at a number of conferences and workshops across Nebraska. In February there were three conferences where I had a SARE exhibit, with the Nebraska SARE and NCR SARE displays and a number of SARE publications.
Rural Advantage Conference
In 2012 I was involved with the Rural Advantage/Healthy Farms Conference in February in Nebraska City. I served as co-chair of the planning committee and SARE had an exhibit at the conference. This conference is sponsored by UNL Extension and the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society. One hundred and seventy five people attended this conference in 2012, as it is the primary conference in east and central Nebraska that focuses on sustainable agricultural issues, serves as a resource for information on sustainable agriculture and provides opportunities for networking in sustainable agriculture. I had the opportunity to discuss the SARE Professional Development Program, the Farmer/Rancher Grant Program, share several publications and promote the Nebraska SARE Program with over 100 participants at this conference. Joan Benjamin and I also worked together to host a farmers' forum of SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant recipients, which was well received.
Market Place Conference
This conference is conducted by the Center for Rural Affairs and was held in February of 2012 in Kearney. SARE had an exhibit at this conference that was attended by 297 people. Although I wasn’t able to participate due to a conflict, SARE was represented by one of my colleagues at the conference. This conference is attended by people interested in sustaining rural Nebraska communities through small farms, small businesses and entrepreneurship.
Women in Ag Conference
This conference was held in Kearney as well, immediately following the Market Place Conference. While I was not able to participate, we had an exhibit and Linda Kleinschmit gave a presentation about SARE. Four hundred and fifty people attended this conference.
Nebraska SARE Website
The Nebraska SARE website was initiated in May of 2010 and has expanded since. We provide links to all of our webinars over the past 30 months and list them on our website. Our website provides a calendar of SARE sponsored events and activities as well as other programs in sustainable agriculture. This increased exposure to information specific to NCR SARE and Nebraska on the web has been significant in the promotion of SARE. In 2012 we have had 1440 visits to our website from 31 different countries.
2012 Farm Beginnings Program
The SARE Publication “Building a Sustainable Business” is being used as the primary resource for this program. Other SARE publications will also be available and promoted as resources for this program for beginning farmers.
SARE Resource Publications are being made available to Ag Extension Educators, Vocational Agriculture Instructors and other USDA governmental staff for their use in programming, teaching and consultation with clientele on sustainable agriculture issues.
Nebraska SARE Sustainable Ag Webinar Series
In May of 2010, a Nebraska SARE Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Series was initiated. This has continued in 2011 with 11 webinars on sustainable agricultural topics and in 2012 with 5 webinars. This program provides webinars live for participants to view and interact from anywhere in the world if they have web access. Webinars are recorded and made available on-line 24-7 to those unable to participate in them live. The 5 webinars in 2012 have been viewed by 649 people in 2012, eleven webinars from 2011 have been viewed by 340 people in 2012 and the seven webinars from 2010 have been viewed by 1229 people in 2012 for a total of 2218 viewers.
SARE PDP Grant for Annie's Project Workshop
I participated in the SARE PDP Grant on Annie's Project and gave a webinar about the SARE Program and the number of published resources and grants they have available.
2012 National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA)
I attended the NACAA Conference in Charleston, SC in July and represented Nebraska at the Sustainable Ag Committee Meeting at the Conference, and participated in other SARE sponsored professional development sessions and one of the SARE sponsored sustainable agriculture tours at the conference. I also gave a presentation on the Scaling Up Local Food Initiate of SARE in Nebraska. Twenty-five people attended my presentation.
Nebraska Grazing Conference
This conference is conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is held in August in Kearney. SARE had an exhibit at this conference that was attended by 250 people. This conference is attended by people interested in sustainable grazing systems.
Hosted NCR SARE staff on a tour of Nebraska - While this was a demanding trip across Nebraska, we were able to meet University of Nebraska-Lincoln Administration, UNL faculty and graduate students and previous SARE grant recipients across Nebraska. We were able to share SARE resources and grant opportunities of SARE through a webinar and meet a number of people across Nebraska.
National Small Farm Conference
I gave a presentation about SARE sponsored tours I conducted in Nebraska. Twenty people attended my presentation.
2012 Western Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Conference
The NCR and Nebraska SARE displays were exhibited along with available publications and resources. There were 30 participants in this conference.
2013 Plan of Work Summary
The Nebraska SARE Advisory Committee has been important in the development of the 2013 Nebraska SARE Plan of Work. The fifteen members of the committee that make up the committee represent a wide variety of Nebraska organizations that are interested and involved in sustainable agriculture projects. We had one member leave the committee in 2012. We have added two new members to the committee. The whole committee met two times, once via conference call in June to discuss programs and activities in the 2012 Plan of Work and once face-to-face in December to review 2012 programs, but to more importantly provide input in the development of the 2013 SARE Plan of Work. The Nebraska SARE Advisory Committee is represented by 5 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educators and one UNL Extension Specialist, one member of the NRCS, another member who is a representative of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, a retired Extension Educator and former SARE State Coordinator, an employee of the Center for Rural Affairs, Vice President of the Nebraska Food Cooperative, Board member of City Sprouts and an organic vegetable farmer. In serving as an ex-officio member of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society Board of Directors, board member of Buy Fresh, Buy Local Nebraska, and chairman of the UNL Extension Diversified Ag Committee I have the opportunity to receive input from stakeholders on how Nebraska SARE funds can be used most efficiently to increase awareness and knowledge of SARE and sustainable agriculture.
Initiative areas for 2013 are:
- Regional sustainable agriculture conferences
- Diversity in sustainable agriculture
- Web-based education on sustainable agriculture topics
- Scaling up local foods
State Advisory Committee
To share the load of planning responsibility, state coordinators are expected to assemble and work with a state sustainable agriculture advisory committee to plan training activities in each state. Often included are members representing sustainable agriculture farmers, commercial farmers, agribusiness, NRCS, non-profits, lenders, and rural community leaders. Some committees include individuals from farmers markets, environmental groups and farm organizations.
The advisory committee will assist the Nebraska SARE state coordinator in identifying training needs in the state and help design programs to meet their needs.