SARE/NACAA Sustainable Agriculture Fellows 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.


Members of NACAA in good standing with their state associations with responsibility in agricultural production systems are eligible to apply for the Fellows Program.


Complete the general application form and provide information on the following, not to exceed 1200 words:

  1. Why you wish to attend.
  2. Details of your experience and past activities that would demonstrate the understanding of and interest in sustainable agriculture and alternative farming strategies.
  3. A plan on how you intend to use the Fellows program information in your local Extension programs and the evaluation methods you will implement.
  4. The potential impacts and expected results that your participation could have on your local Extension sustainable agriculture program.
  5. The potential benefits to other professionals and clientele in their geographic area. Preference will be given to applicants who plan to train others (extension agents, other professionals and clientele) upon completion of the program.

Successful applicants will be selected on the basis of:

  1. Geographic and other diversity considerations. The preference of the sponsor would be to have one individual selected each year from each of the NACAA regions.
  2. Experience and past Extension activities in this area of emphasis (10 pts)
  3. Plan of Extension work following training (60 pts)
  4. Local Extension program expected impacts, expected results and program evaluation methods (30 pts)

It is expected that all applicants will have worked through the Sustainable Agriculture: Basic Principles and Concept Overview online course designed by USDA SARE. A thorough understanding of the basic principles and philosophies of sustainable agriculture are prerequisite to entry into the Fellows Program.


  • Four individuals, one from each NACAA region, will annually be selected for this two year program on a competitive basis (after the initial year there will be 8 individuals in the program in any given year).
  • The seminars will occur in the spring and fall of each year with the specific date determined by the host state and SARE region, with input from the participants.
  • Economy air travel will be provided to successful applicants to attend each training seminar in the selected region.
  • Meals and lodging expenses will also be paid by the program sponsors, but incidental and additional expenses will be the responsibility of the participants.
  • Successful participants will also receive a complete USDA SARE library courtesy of SARE Outreach in Washington, DC and a $1,500 stipend to be used for program support, materials or hardware, including the purchase of equipment, such as computers, if desired.


Entry must be in possession of Professional Improvement Council Chair by March 15.

Support provided by: USDA National SARE Program. The availability of this program will be dependent upon the consent of USDA SARE and the availability of funds.