Job Description


The PDP Coordinator is “responsible, in cooperation with appropriate federal and state agencies, for developing and implementing a statewide training program for appropriate field office personnel. Such personnel were defined as including employees of the Extension Service, Soil Conservation Service (now NRCS), and other appropriate Department of Agriculture personnel, as determined by the Secretary, whose activities involve the provision of agricultural production and conservation information to agricultural producers.”

1.   What are some general expectations from the State PDP Coordinators?

Day-to-day activities to fulfill the duties of the state PDP Coordinator would likely include these main areas:

a)   Training program development and delivery;

b)   Promotion, networking, and coordination, especially of SARE-related activities;

c)   Communication, reporting, and evaluation.

2.  What are specific ideas to meet these expectations?

Guidance and ideas for suggested activities and work elements in these three areas may include, but are not limited to, the following. State PDP coordinators may modify or add to this list to meet their specific local needs. Setting priorities and activities should be guided by planning and coordination that takes into account appropriate agencies and interested parties within the state.

A. Training Program Development and Delivery:

1.   Provide annual sustainable agriculture training and educational program opportunities for all new appropriate field office personnel;

2.   Develop and implement updated sustainable agriculture training and education opportunities for current staff.

Additional related opportunities for consideration:

3.   Maintain a listing of state producer grant cooperators and involve them and other farmers and ranchers in sustainable agriculture training and education;

4.   Develop and/or partner with NGOs or farmer organizations in offering farms tours and field days.

B.   Promotion, Networking, and Coordination:

1.   Promote within the state the availability of SARE Chapter 1, PDP, producer grant, and other funding opportunities;

2.   Promote regional SARE program activities and opportunities;

3.   Promote the availability of Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) educational materials and services, as well as those of ATTRA, NGOs, and the state FACs, through conferences, field days, and workshops;

4.   Seek input annually from and coordinate regularly with NRCS and FSA personnel about sustainable agriculture training needs and shared educational program opportunities.

Additional related opportunities for consideration:

5.   Promote on-farm research and demonstration projects and programs;

6.   Offer National SARE Outreach as well as AFSIC, ATTRA, the National Agroforestry Center, FSA, NRCS, and Risk Management Agency educational materials (books, brochures, etc.) through the Extension system or other in-state networks.

C.  Communication, Reporting, and Evaluations:

1.   Develop and submit timely reports of state sustainable agriculture programs, impacts, and activities to the required regional PDP SARE program contact;

2.   Submit documentation forms and develop ongoing evaluation of sustainable agriculture training programs to regional SARE PDP coordinator;

3.   Inform SARE regional coordinators of changes in PDP state personnel or contacts; 

4.   Participate in regional PDP activities.

Additional related opportunities for consideration:

5.   Inform state Extension ANRprogram leaders or appropriate Extension administrators and Experiment Station Directors about SARE activities, materials, and activities;

6.   Participate in the PDP electronic mail group <[email protected]> to communicate with and respond to other state PDP representatives.

3.   What does the federal law suggest for PDP responsibilities?

Required training (Sec. 1629) in the National Training Program involves the following general areas:     

a)   Assistance in developing farmer-to-farmer information exchange networks;

b)   Coordination and publicizing sustainable agriculture farm tours and field days;

c)   Extension program planning involving extensive farmer input and feedback in the design of new and ongoing research endeavors related to sustainable agriculture;

d)   Technical assistance to farmers for strategies in making a transition to a more sustainable agriculture;

e)   Consultation and close work with NRCS and FSA in carrying out related programs;

f)   Developing and targeting areas highly susceptible to ground water contamination;

g)   Developing information sources related to crop diversification, alternative crops, on-farm food or commodity processing and on-farm energy generation;

h)   Establishing a well-water testing program;

i)    Providing specific information on water quality practices (BMPs), nutrient management practices, and whole-farm management systems.


The position of the State Extension Professional Development Coordinator (PDP) is a result of Public Law 101-624 (Nov. 28, 1990), or the 1990 “Farm Bill.” As part of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program (Subtitle B, 7 USC 1619), a National Training Program was established (Sec. 1629). The Secretary was directed to “designate an individual from the Cooperative Extension Service in each state to coordinate the National Training Program.” (Historically, states have generally appointed coordinators from each Land-Grant Institution.)