Cover crop champions –request for applications/nominations Deadline: May 10, 2013
Cover crops are increasingly utilized by farmers and promoted by agronomists for the multiple benefits they contribute to soil and crop management systems. Yet, only a small percentage of cropland is planted to cover crops. Cover crop champions are a driving force behind increased cover crop adoption. The National Wildlife Federation is accepting applications for farmer cover crops champions and outreach cover crop champions - local and regional cover crop leaders who can provide region-specific information and farming knowledge to farmers and crop advisors. Selected applicants will receive benefits in the form of financial support for time and travel, access to an elite network of other cover crop champions, and training for media and outreach. Due to our funder’s priorities in the Mississippi River Basin, applicants are sought for champions from the following states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana, and Ohio.
Farmer cover crop champions: 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.
Outreach cover crop champions: 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 includes cultivating new farmer champions and supporting current farmer champions by making it easier for the farmer champion to deliver presentations and provide technical assistance. The outreach champion can do this by coaching the farmer champion in basic presentation skills and providing information and data that farmer champions may use on the farm or in outreach efforts. The educator champion can also identify key opportunities for farmer champions to share their expertise.
Pairing farmer(s) and outreach champions often increases their educational outreach effectiveness. Applicants may apply individually or as an established pair. Applicants who apply as individuals will be paired with other outreach/farmer champions in the application process.
Cover crop 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?
• Farmer champions will be paired with outreach champions; one outreach champion may work with more than one farmer at a time.
• Champions will conduct outreach activities, including field days, meetings with agricultural advisors, speaking engagements to farmer audiences, media interviews, etc. Each Champion pair is responsible for reaching 150 farmers and 10 crop advisors per year with messages on cover cropping as a practice.
• Champions will attend a training session in how to use local media outreach.
• Champions will customize demonstration kits, PowerPoint presentations, and 2-4 educational handouts. Template kits, presentations, and handouts will be provided.
• 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.
What resources will be available to the cover crop champions?
• At least 5 farmer and professional Cover Crop Champion pairs will be identified and a stipend will be provided to help champions undertake outreach activities over a 12 month period.
• Champions will receive compensation for their time, travel, expenses, and materials.
• Advisory committee and partners will host a media and outreach training session for cover crop champions. (Travel to training session will be funded separately, so it does not need to be included in the budget portion o f the application.)
• Template presentation materials and tools will be provided.
• Cover Crop Champions throughout the Midwest and Great Plains will have an effective network in which they can interact in order to learn from and support each other, and keep abreast of latest research from academics and government agencies.
How to apply:
• Fill out the attached form and send to Lara Bryant: firstname.lastname@example.org by May 10, 2013.
• Questions? Contact Lara Bryant at: email@example.com or 202-797-6649
• To apply as a farmer/educator pair, please fill out separate forms and indicate the paired applicant