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Smart2Genius: Catalyzing Farmer Adoption of Strategic Best Practices

Year Awarded: 2018
Awarded: $200,000
Team Leader:  Seneca County Soil and Water Conservation District

This is a design grant that will establish a farmer-led network of agricultural producers, service providers, and other experts who will drive adoption of strategic practices and new technologies that will improve farm profitability and reduce nutrient loads and stream flashiness without involving government programs, making them more attractive to the majority of farm operators in the basin. This network will be supported by a dedicated online platform that will integrate the most recent science and technology with a social support system.

In this design phase the team will: expand the core team to include expertise in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario; establish a community of leader farmers and match them to strategic practices; determine the impact and adoption metrics for the implementation phase; and prepare an implementation proposal to the Fund to test a suite of technologies and management actions on farm fields. An initial community of farmers, grouped in hub farms, will select strategic practices, test them, and evaluate the impact on their operations (yield, profit) and the health of nearby water resources to inform the implementation proposal.