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Establish Goals

One of the keys to an engagement program’s success is establishing at the beginning of a program what success will actually mean. This requires a level of clarity about a specific purpose to be designed for and measured by. 

Some examples of this level of goal specificity might sound like:

  • “We want to inspire 200 row crop farmers representing 20,000 acres across specific counties to sign up for our cover crop cost share program by April 10.”
  • “We want 300 soybean farmers to come to our next field day.”
  • “We would like to increase active membership in our peer-to-peer learning community by 20% by the end of next year.”

Once a specific and measurable goal has been identified, the outreach program can be designed and tracked in support of its achievement.

What We Did

Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (MRCC) members identified that a key barrier to accelerated adoption of regenerative agriculture practices is inadequate social and cultural support for farmers of varying mindsets to make the transition.

Members recognized that farmers who were not early adopters of regenerative agriculture practices had differing interests and needs and required different kinds of outreach, engagement styles, and value propositions to change their minds and become more ready to adopt.

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Farmer in field

In light of that recognition, the partners set out to understand how to quantifiably improve the level of awareness, interest, and value seen in regenerative agriculture practices amongst “middle adopter” farmers in a set of counties that represent a priority sourcing region for the members across Ilinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Success for this two-year project would be measured by:

  1. Consumption of data-informed outreach material at a rate above current industry benchmarks.
  2. The results of a pre-/post outreach study illustrating the degree to which project area middle adopter farmers’ mindsets changed towards voluntary conservation agriculture adoption and program enrollment.

Make it Happen

Download the worksheet to start defining your goals now.

Sample Success Measures

An important part of shaping your goals is planning and communicating your methods of measurement. Attaching numbers to your goals helps track how far you’ve gone and how far you need to go.

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Insights from Sustainability Engagement Leaders

Planning Conservation Outreach Using Placed-Based Insights

“Farmers are among our greatest conservation allies. The Nature Conservancy has a long history of working with farmers to successfully increase the economic and environmental sustainability of their operations, but it’s difficult to achieve widespread adoption of practices through one-on-one direct farmer engagement. The playbook offers valuable insights, enabling us to build more producer-focused engagement in field events and other programs.”

Challey Comer

Challey Comer
The Nature Conservancy