Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

Technical Service Provider Training and Agricultural Management Systems Learning Collaborative

students in a workshop in a field with worms

CRARS, in collaboration with the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) and other project partners, has received funding for the Agricultural Management Systems Learning Collaborative ('The Collaborative') through a grant from the USDA National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA) program. The Collaborative is developing a comprehensive approach to train and support producers, agricultural professionals (Technical Service Providers and others), and students to become leaders in systems-based agricultural management using peer-mentorship as its base.

Funded Training Opportunity Available!

Applications for this period's funded training opportunity are no longer being accepted. However, the program will continue and applications will re-open for classes starting in the Fall so do check back later.

As part of the project’s activities, CARCD is accepts applications from regional technical service providers and other agricultural professionals to work in partnership with agricultural producers to help establish and participate in a peer mentoring network centered in systems-based agricultural management. Full tuition (equivalent to $5200 per Mentor Team or $2600 per person) will be provided to 10 Mentor Teams of producers and agricultural professionals (20 individuals) for Fall 2021-Spring 2022 (Cohort 1). Another round will be opened in 2022 for an additional 10 Mentor Teams for Fall 2022-Spring 2023 (Cohort 2).  

Please note:

Producer partners are no longer required to co-enroll with ag professionals. They are only expected to support the planning process and participate in discussions if they can. Please note that if producers are interested in enrolling, they are still welcome and eligible for full tuition coverage. 

In addition, if you have not identified a producer to pair with but would like to participate, you can apply as an individual Ag Professional. If selected, Chico State’s team will help to match you with a producer. 

Additional information:

An early informational webinar(opens in new window) (created before the decisions above were made) is now available. You can also read all about it,(opens in new window) including questions to help you prepare for filling out the application. It is highly recommended that you thoroughly review the informational material provided before applying. 

Project Background

Rationale: California is the nation’s leading agricultural producer by total receipts, generating over $50 billion in 2019, far exceeding the number two leading state of Iowa ($27.5 billion) and representing 13.5% of U.S. total receipts. By sheer size and productivity, California has significant potential to contribute to working lands conservation efforts; however, there are several barriers to producer adoption of conservation practices, which can be addressed through systems-based approaches. These barriers include cultural stigma; lack of producer-driven knowledge sharing of the transition process and risk management; number of context-specific field demonstrations; and lack of knowledge and/or access to information, training and assistance with systems-based agricultural management. It is equally important that agricultural professionals providing assistance to producers (e.g., extension, RCD and NRCS staff) have access to the latest information and training. Currently, producers and agricultural professionals must piece together various workshops and online materials.

Purpose and Approach: This opportunity addresses these barriers through a comprehensive approach to outreach and training of producers, agricultural professionals, and students. The project design attends to the identified need for information and assistance to improve productivity through sustainable resource management strategies, and the need for strong community building and support to address real and perceived practical, cultural and economic barriers. Flexibility in the activities and delivery system provides access to multiple audiences, in which the interactions of these audiences are mutually beneficial. The approach is designed to foster conversation and collaboration among diverse stakeholders, creating conditions that support innovative and collaborative strategies to address current and future threats and opportunities for California agricultural production.