Monday, November 24, 2008


David Baker, Rhonda Janke, Hans Kandel, Tim Kautza, Juan Marinez, Tricia Wagner have been elected to serve as Administrative Council (AC) members for the North Central Regional Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (NCR-SARE).

Assistant Dean for the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri-Colombia, David Baker, has been elected to serve as the Extension Director’s Representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. From 1975-1994 Baker held the extension appointment for Extension Safety and Occupational Health Specialist at the University of Missouri-Colombia. He has previously served on the NCR-SARE Professional Development Program Committee, the Research and Education Program Review Panel, and the Evaluation Committee, among others.

Rhonda Janke is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist for Cropping Systems at Kansas State University (KSU) in the Department of Horticulture. She has been elected to serve as the Kansas Research Representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. In 2006, Janke developed two new courses at KSU, “Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture” and “Organic Farming Systems.” In 2005, Janke interviewed more than 70 leaders in sustainable agriculture. Those interviews are currently being transcribed for a full-text web site, as well a print publication.

North Dakota State University Extension Broadleaf Agronomist, Hans Kandel has been elected to serve as the North Dakota Research Representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. Kandel has previously served as the Minnesota research representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council and is a member of the North Dakota State Variety Release Committee.

Doug Karlen, Supervisory Soil Scientist and Research Leader for the National Soil Tilth Laboratory and Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University has been elected as the Regional Agricultural Research Service Representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. Karlen has previously served on the NCR-SARE Administrative Council and the National Academy of Science as a Panel Member for Alternative Liquid Transportation Fuels, among other activities.

A Science and Environmental Education Specialist for the National Catholic Rural Like Conference in Des Moines, IA, Tim Kautza has been elected to serve as the Regional Non-Profit representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. Kautza critiques and educates about the environment and social implications related to confined animal feeding operations, agricultural pesticides, water supply and quality, bioenergy, and global climate change.

Juan Marinez, Assistant Director for Outreach with the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University and Regional Director of Michigan State University Extension has been elected to serve as the Michigan Extension Representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. Marinez has previously served on SARE’s Sustainable Agriculture Network Steering Committee. Among other activities, Marinez has served as a panelist for the Hispanic Serving Institution Education Grants Program and the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program.

Tricia Wagner has been elected to serve as the Missouri Farmer Representative for NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council. Wagner operates Yellow Wood Farmers in Hermann, MO and a 100 share CSA in partnership with Lee Farms of Truxton, MO. Among other activities, Wagner is a member of the Missouri Vegetable Growers Association, the Missouri Organic Association, and recently worked as a Community Development Specialist for Local Food Systems with the University of Missouri Extension.

NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council represents various agricultural sectors, states and organizations. It sets program priorities and makes granting decisions for the region.

Friday, November 21, 2008

SARE Outreach Announces Event Sponsorship Program

SARE grantees are important partners in fulfilling SARE's mission to advance sustainable innovations to the whole of American agriculture. The SARE Outreach Event Sponsorship Program provides financial support for educational events that advance SARE-funded project results to beginning, minority, underserved and commodity producers and the extension and educational professionals that serve them.

The application deadline for the SARE Outreach Event Sponsorship Program is December 15th, 2008.

Visit to download application forms or for more information.

Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

* Developing a track of conference workshops featuring SARE grant recipients as speakers
* Featuring SARE-funded grant project results in a poster session or display for beginning farmers
* Incorporating SARE-funded research sites on a farm tour for out-of-state producers and/or agricultural professionals
* Organizing conference sessions based on SARE publications
* Providing scholarships for producers who are unfamiliar with sustainable practices to attend a workshop featuring a SARE grantee

Successful proposals must advance the results of SARE-funded research or education projects by addressing one or more of the following priority areas:

* Extend innovative, sustainable production and marketing practices to producers or agricultural professionals, especially beginning, minority, underserved and/or commodity producers.
* Feature speakers, publications, or other content highlighting SARE-funded research and education projects
* Facilitate networking and exchange of SARE-funded research results across state and SARE regional boundaries.

Sponsorships are available in the amount of $500-$5000. Limited funds are available, and sponsorships will be allocated on a competitive basis. Sponsorship allocations will be determined by the event's capacity to achieve clear outcomes in the priority areas stated above.

Rolling applications are accepted on a quarterly schedule with the following deadlines: December 15, April 15, July 15, October 15. Call 301/504-5236 to request a print copy of the application form and guidelines by mail.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SARE Director Accepts New Detail

Farm Bill Brings Changes to SARE Leadership

SARE is experiencing the first ripple effects of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (farm bill) with a new role for Jill Auburn, SARE Director for more than 10 years. Jill is being detailed to a new position in USDA reporting to the Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. She will be chief of the Agricultural Systems and Technology division of the Research, Education and Extension Office. This mouthful was all newly created under the new Act. The move is scheduled for November 17, 2008.

While we'll miss Jill's day-to-day leadership of SARE-the detail could last up to four years-she'll be within hollerin' distance. SARE matters will cross Jill's new desk often, so she'll still be contributing to the effort and better able to link our work with other research, extension and education endeavors at the department.

Employee of the Year

As noted in the previous post, on October 21, 2008, Jill was awarded CSREES' Employee of the Year in Science and Education award-but SARE widely considers her entire tenure worthy of such recognition. Jill brought an openness to new ideas, intellectual rigor, remarkable organizational and management skills and broad experience to SARE. Says one regional coordinator: "She motivates others with positive attitude, clear vision and an ability to solve problems." It's no wonder that at SARE's 20th Anniversary conference in March Jill was given a standing ovation!

The Transition Plan

For the first six months, Western SARE Coordinator Phil Rasmussen will give 25 percent of his time to act as national director. He will receive substantial assistance from Kim Kroll, SARE Associate Director, and Andy Clark, SARE Outreach Coordinator. CSREES will revisit the situation after January 1, 2009 to see what makes most sense going forward as the circumstances of Jill's detail, the new administration, and the transition from CSREES to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (as mandated by the farm bill) develop.

The new SARE team is confident that, with SARE staff's support, the shift in leadership will go smoothly and SARE's work to advance sustainable agriculture will continue unhampered.

Phil Rasmussen

Distributed by SARE Outreach for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA. SARE's nationwide research and education grants program advances farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities. SARE Outreach operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Maryland and the University of Vermont to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jill Auburn named the CSREES Employee of the Year in the Science and Education Category

Jill Auburn, CSREES national program leader, is the CSREES Employee of the Year in the Science and Education category. She was recognized for her outstanding leadership of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, championing the goals of CSREES, and dedication to achieving more sustainable agriculture across America.

photo from CSREES web site