2015/2016 Report from the Field

Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship Defines Careers for Extension Educators

People posing in a line

SARE/NACAA Fellows visited Iowa during a 2013 farm tour. From left: Brad Burbaugh, John Porter, Maud Powell, Nathan Winter, Lara Worden, Thomas Maloney, Marlin Bates and Aaron Esser. Photo by Marie Flanagan, NCR SARE

Since 2007, SARE and the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) have partnered to offer the Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship: a two-year learning opportunity that exposes participants to sustainable agriculture systems across the country through a series of seminars and farm tours. To date, 36 Extension educators have participated, and the program has made a lasting impact on their ability to serve their farmer and rancher clients. Participants increased their knowledge of sustainable agriculture in a wide range of categories, according to a program evaluation by a former Fellow. More than that, it has shaped their careers. This is what they have to say:

I want to tell my fellow NACAA members that their participation in the SARE Fellows Program could possibly be the highlight of their career in Extension.

Walt Bumgarner, Penn State Extension (2007 Fellow)

As a horticulture specialist I don’t really spend too much time in a corn field or a bean field or at a dairy or other cattle operation. But this fellowship really allowed me to be in those places. It allowed me the opportunity to engage with those producers.

Marlin Bates, University of Missouri (2011 Fellow)

The opportunity to take an in-depth look at two farms, with the guidance of Extension specialists, was the best model of professional development I have partaken in.

Maud Powell, Oregon State University (2012 Fellow)

Our SARE Fellows are generally early or mid-career, and have gone on to serve in leadership roles in NACAA and Extension. They are leaders in sustainability for our Extension system and our newer educators.

Mike Hogan, Ohio State University (Past President, NACAA)

What I've Gotten Out of the SARE Sustainable Ag Fellowship

In this video, Marlin Bates talks about the value of the Fellows Program.


Learn more about the SARE/NACAA Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship, including how to apply.