SARE Professional Development Program

SARE_Western_Logo_LowThe USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program (PDP) first received funding from the U.S. Congress in 1994. The SARE PDP is designed to help Extension, Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agricultural professionals increase their ability to respond to the needs of farmers, ranchers, and the public regarding sustainable agriculture concepts and systems.

In Washington State, SARE PDP is part of WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR).  The goal of our professional development program is to help WSU Extension, CDs, NRCS, and other agency personnel to gain knowledge and skills that will help them serve their constituents in these areas to promote the health of Washington’s people, land, and communities.

The state coordinator for the program is Tara Zimmerman and the PDP faculty committee includes Chad Kruger in central Washington, Chris Benedict in western Washington, and Steve Van Vleet in eastern Washington. Chad, Chris and Steve are members of the CSANR Leadership Team, a diverse group of WSU faculty that set the direction for the work at CSANR, including the professional development program. The CSANR Advisory Committee, made up of individuals from various sectors of Washington’s diverse agriculture, provide external advice and guidance to CSANR and the professional development program coordinator and faculty committee.

NEW for 2015:

Grant amounts have been increased to better accommodate the needs of applicants, in response to a 2014 survey of eligible ag professionals.  Also, as a result of the survey, priority will be given to program staff for “Attending” grants, and to “Hosting” grants that target a Conservation District audience.

Specifically, professional development proposals to host events will be given priority if they:

  • Have CD personnel involved in the planning stages of the event
  • Target a CD audience
  • Focus on the needs and interests of CD personnel which include providing PDP event in close proximity to their place of work, and teaching topics that are in high demand.

Survey responses to the question “what topics would be of use to you in your position?” are listed below in the form of tallies and percent of respondents:

Climate Change 22 34% Crop Protection 17 27%
Crop Production 27 42% Energy 25 39%
Food Science & Nutrition 6 9% Livestock 37 58%
Natural Resources 52 81% Production Systems 16 25%
Soils & Fertility 42 66% Food Systems 16 25%
Waste Management 32 50% Other 16 25%






Please read the RFP carefully; it has changed.

2015 RFP ANNOUNCED    Application for PDP funding is included in link.

For more information please contact Tara Zimmerman at 206-770-6073.