New Jersey Agricultural Service Provider Education and Networking to Improve Farmer Outreach and Services

In New Jersey, the agricultural industry is extremely diverse in terms of farm size, products, marketing and business models. Each farm has unique needs that may be supported by agricultural service providers. Knowledge and educational training related to base services for farmers has been lacking in recent years. Rutgers Extension staff and faculty expertise have been written into state legislation or are called upon for regulatory interpretation which often results in the need to network with other agencies and nonprofits who serve farmers. In the past, networking groups and agriculture-related programs provided opportunities for information sharing amongst agricultural service providers but in the last decade, these programs have been discontinued leaving significant gaps.

Over the course of this project, a team of Rutgers Cooperative Extension Agricultural Agents will:

  • Deliver an educational series on base farm services and regulatory issues,
  • Provide networking opportunities for agricultural service providers to improve services for farmers, and
  • Provide in-person and on-farm opportunities for agricultural service providers to demonstrate programs and communicate services collaboratively.

The project goal is to provide service providers with the platform to improve their knowledge, build relationships, and share the diverse resources available to assist farmers.

Performance Target: Twenty-five agricultural service providers who participate in the program will improve communications with other service providers working in various agencies to deliver services more efficiently to farmers. They will demonstrate improved professional networks, collaborations, and services for farmers. Fifteen service providers will provide services to at least 2,000 farmers through this project.

Want more information? See the related SARE grant: