SARE Professional Development Program Annual Report for Utah
January 1-December 31, 2013
State SARE Coordinator:
Summary of 2013 PDP Activities and Results
In 2013 Utah’s sustainable agriculture professional development encompassed many educational events which included: Integrated Pest Management/sustainable agriculture mini-grants, NRCS workshops, sustainable agricultural conference support, travel scholarships and more. Mini-grants, co-sponsored by the Western SARE Utah Professional Development Program and the Utah Integrated Pest Management Center, went to two Extension professionals. A total of 660 participants received training in some aspect of sustainable agriculture as a result of these efforts. An estimate of the contacts of these participants in the next year (2014) is 10,269.
Context and Overview
Utah State University and the Western SARE Professional Development Program provide excellent opportunities for in-service training in sustainable agricultural topics to extension educators and other agricultural/natural resource professionals. In order to provide “research-based” information to the general public, our agricultural professionals must have the opportunity to be exposed to the newest techniques and information available on a wide variety of sustainable subject areas. Over the years we have formed partnerships with many non-extension agricultural professionals: NRCS, Conservation Districts, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, and other state and federal agricultural/natural resource professionals (Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management). These partnerships allow numerous agricultural professionals to enhance their learning and skill set in sustainable agricultural systems. By educating/training all these agricultural professionals, it is hoped that they will utilize their new skills, knowledge and awareness within their agencies’ programs to better assist in reaching agricultural producers so we can all continue to move forward in our journey towards sustainability.
Activities and Methods
- Best Management Practices – USU Extension Annual Conference
- Diversified Agriculture Conference
- Organic Fruit and Vegetable Workshop
- Urban and Small Farms Conference
- 35th Annual Arizona/Utah Range Livestock Workshop & Tour
- USDA-NRCS Linear Herbaceous Shrub/Tree Training
- USDA-ARS Forage & Range Research Field Day
- Western Regional Extension Professional Improvement Conference
- Presentations of professional development training results at conferences/workshops/in-service trainings
2. Competitive mini-grant program in conjunction with USU IPM Center
- ‘Providing Updated Diagnostic Tools and Training to the Utah State University Salt Lake County Extension Master Gardeners.’
- ‘A Guide to Common Organic Gardening Questions: Step by Step Recommendations for Organic Vegetable and Fruit Gardening in Northern Utah.’
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills and Action
The survey instrument is designed to assist in measuring short- and medium-range impacts of our yearly professional development program efforts. All 2013 participants were given the survey instrument. See Evaluation Table Below.
(1) Acquisition of new knowledge, skills and awareness
Questions 1 through 3 of the survey give numerical percentages of participating professionals in assessing if there were changes in their awareness (Q2: 93.8%), skills (Q3: 95.3%) and awareness (Q1: 95.9%).
(2) Trainees’ intention of using what they learned in future educational programs and products
Questions 6 through 9 explore the future intentions of those trained in this year’s PDP programs. 47.9%, of this year’s participants, were planning on participating in an education event utilizing some aspect of this year’s training. Another 57.7% are planning on making available some of the resources from this year’s training to agricultural producers. A limited number (29.6%) were looking forward to development of a train the trainer program from their own training. In addition, it is estimated from this year’s trainees that 10,269 contacts will be made utilizing one or many aspects of their training.
(3) When possible, changes in action on the part of trainees (i.e., existing program content changed, new programs conducted, new products developed)
No data was collected during the past year’s worth of training to give a definitive narrative on this important subject. In future years the assessment tools available may be sufficient to assist in answering this question. It can be stated, with antidotal information, that there are those that attended training in 2013 that will make or development changes in current programs and develop new products.
|2013 Professional Development Program Survey Data|
|Q1||Improve my awareness of the topics covered||95.9|
|Q2||Gave me new knowledge||93.8|
|Q3||Assisted me in gaining new skills||95.3|
|Q4||Modified my opinions and/or attitudes||93.9|
|Q5||Will improve advise I give to others||86.5|
|In the next year I am likely to use some aspect of this activity||%|
|Q6||In an educational program that I plan/participate in||47.9|
|Q7||As a resource I will make available to producers||57.7|
|Q8||As a professional development tool for my peers||29.6|
|Q9||How many people do you estimate sharing some aspect of this training within the next year?|
|Number of PDP events/programs||15|
|Total # of all participants in PDP in these events/programs||660|
|Number of participant surveys returned||625||94.7%|
We continue to see new professionals at these PDP events. However no concerted effort is utilized to describe these types of outcomes. We will continue to strive to increase total number of completed surveys from participants to assist us in assessing the impacts of the program.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation
Utah’s Professional Development Program Advisory Committee:
USDA-NRCS (Utah) USDA-ARS-Forage & Range Research Lab.
Utah Association of Conservation Districts Utah Dept. of Agriculture and Food
USU Cooperative Extension Service Utah Conservation Commission
USU Agricultural Experiment Station
The members of the PDP Advisory Committee are contacted several times a year but not collectively at one meeting. The transportation and travel costs have been minimized by meeting when these groups have scheduled events, or by my visiting them in conjunction with my extension, experiment station or Western SARE duties. For the year 2013, these committee members continued to request trainings or professional development opportunities with the sustainable agriculture mini-grant program and to have funds available for special requests (such as to attend conferences, workshops and other agency sponsored events/trainings).