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NACAA/SARE National Fellowship Program

June 16, 2011

Hello! My name is Jack Boles, and I’m the Staff Chair in Newton County. Last year, I was accepted as a SARE Fellow through the NACAA/SARE Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship Program. Active members of the National Association of County Agriculture Agents are eligible to apply for acceptance into this program.  One fellow is selected from each USDA region annually, so it can be a competitive application process; but well worth the effort. In the two years that you serve as a fellow, you will participate in at least four sustainable agriculture tours (all costs paid) as well as receive resources to implement sustainable agriculture programs in your own location.

Here’s how SARE describes the program:

This program is designed to provide hands-on experience and materials for selected NACAA members to study and become familiar with the basics of sustainable agriculture and alternative farm systems as currently practiced within the four regions of the US Department of Agriculture. An understanding of current trends, practices, and underlying strategies within the sustainable agriculture movement will help Cooperative Extension agents or farm advisors, and agricultural professionals with whom they work, build effective outreach programs to provide assistance to those who have made the transition or to help guide producers desiring to begin the transition toward sustainable production systems on their own farms and ranches.

Specific sustainable farming systems will be studied as selected fellows visit two of the USDA regions each year as part of the two year program. The fellows will hear discussions on sustainable agriculture as pertaining to each region and visit selected farms and ranches to view firsthand the application of sustainable agriculture principles studied in the classroom.

More information on the program and on how you can participate is available in the NACAA Magazine. There will also be several activities (including a hospitality room) at the NACAA National Meeting in Overland Park that you can participate in to learn more about the program.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my experiences and lessons learned through the latest SARE Fellows activity, a sustainable agriculture tour of South Florida. It was an incredible experience. In a brief survey conducted by tour organizers following the Fellows Program, over 80 percent of the participants indicated that their perception and vision of sustainable agriculture had changed, including a better understanding of how large-scale operations can be sustainable. In addition they indicated they would make a greater effort to incorporate sustainable agriculture in their programming, as well as serve both small and large farming operations in their sustainable ag education.

 If you have any comments or questions on the NACAA/SARE Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship Program, be sure to let me know.  Till next week 🙂

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2011 12:50 pm

    Great press release from Southern SARE on the trip:

    http://www.southernsare.org/News-and-Media/Press-Releases/What-Does-Sustainability-Look-Like

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