The National Wildlife Federation is accepting applications for farmers and conservation professionals, i.e. “champions,” to conduct outreach to promote cover crops and provide region-specific information and farming knowledge to farmers and crop advisors. Selected applicants will receive financial support for time and travel, training on messaging and presentation tools, and access to an elite network of other cover crop champions.
Due to our funder’s priorities in the Mississippi River Basin, applicants are sought from the following states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, and Ohio. Applicants can apply as individuals or in pairs/groups. Priority will be given to pairs of farmer champions and outreach champions who plan to work together in the same geographic region. Outreach champions may work with more than one farmer champion.
Farmer Champion Responsibilities and Qualifications
Farmers who use cover crops and have soil health as a primary mission. The farmer champion’s role includes traveling around the region and delivering presentations about cover crops and soil health. It could also include hosting a field day, attending field days and other public forums to promote cover crops, and writing articles or giving radio/video interviews. The farmer champion will also work with the outreach champion to answer follow-up questions by phone and email from interested farmers and organizations.
Agricultural professionals who are full-time employees of a farm-related organization (for example, a non-profit organization or an educational institution). The role of the outreach champion is to support farmer champions by assisting with presentations, outreach for field days and media work. The outreach champion can provide information and data that farmer champions may use on the farm or in outreach efforts. The outreach champion can also identify key opportunities for farmer champions to share their expertise.
Champions will be selected by an advisory committee of diverse stakeholders from organizations in the Mississippi River Basin. The committee will also oversee champions’ efforts and offer advice and support on an ongoing basis.
What are the expectations of cover crop champions?
• Champions will conduct outreach activities, including field days, meetings with ag advisors, speaking engagements to farmer audiences, media interviews, etc. Each farmer champion is responsible for reaching 150 farmers and 10 crop advisors with messages on cover cropping as a practice. Champions will be expected to stay in contact with each other and the advisory committee through a listserv and regularly scheduled phone calls coordinated by National Wildlife Federation.
• At least one member of the application must attend a training to be held March 1-2, 2016. All costs associated with attending this training will be covered by NWF.
• The selection process will prioritize applications that implement innovative outreach and education approaches.
• All activities must be completed by Sept. 30, 2016.
• Champions will be required to complete an interim report by July 1, 2016 and a final report by Oct. 15, 2016.
What resources will be available to the cover crop champions?
• A stipend will be provided to help champions undertake outreach activities.
• Champions will receive compensation for their time, travel, expenses, and materials.
• Champions will be given messaging and presentation training as well as ongoing guidance on reaching target audiences.
• Champions will have access to information and material useful in presentations to target audiences.
• Champions throughout the Midwest and Great Plains will have an effective network through which they can interact in order to learn from and support each other, and keep abreast of latest research from academics and government agencies.
To apply, fill out this form and send to Lekha Knuffman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions? Contact Knuffman by email or at 202-797-6649.