Beginning Farmer Program Evaluation Resource Library

The Beginning Farmer Program Evaluation Resource Library is a compilation of materials to assist beginning farmer and rancher training programs to conduct evaluation.

This Resource Library was created as part of the Gaining Results through Evaluation Work (GREW) project, funded through a US Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant. This project supports the development of strong, effective and long-lasting farmer and rancher training programs so that beginning farmers enter the field of farming and establish successful farm businesses.

This library contains hundreds of resources focused on running effective and thorough program evaluations collected by the GREW team. Some resources focus explicitly on farming projects and others provide more general program evaluation instruction. You can use the topic of interest buttons below to search for the types of materials of interest or you can type a search directly “I’m looking for…” bar. 

Below are a series of compiled tipsheets that highlight some of the key resources in the library and aggregate them into useful groupings to help navigate through the evaluation content.

Basic Evaluation Tools and Resources
There are many resources available on the web to help people conduct program evaluation. It can be somewhat overwhelming to wade through them all. To make the process simpler, we have highlighted a few key documents. These items offer basic information and guidance for different aspects of conducting evaluation.  Download the .pdf tipsheet here.

Resources for Using Self-Assessment as a Learning and Evaluation Strategy
Self-assessment in beginning farmer programs can help improve learning outcomes for participants and serve programs as an evaluation tool. GREW offers several resources for learning more about, and utilizing, self-assessment in BFR programs.  Download the .pdf tipsheet here.

Surveys, Assessments and Other Tools for Evaluating Beginning Farmer Training Programs
The GREW Resource Library contains hundreds of resources focused on running effective and thorough beginning farmer and rancher program evaluations. More than 75 new resources have been added to the library and more than 40 of these resources are examples of survey tools, reports, assessments and logic models done by peer organizations serving beginning farmers and ranchers.  Download the .pdf tipsheet here.

Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Evaluation Resources

Twelve new articles, webinars, and websites have been added to our Online Evaluation Resource Library that feature information related to incorporating equity, inclusion, and diversity into evaluation work. In this document we highlight three examples from our library as a starting point for your explorations.  Download the .pdf tipsheet here.

Please visit again – more resources will be added regularly.

If you have a resource you would like to see, have a resource you’d like to share, or have any feedback about the Resource Library, please contact

Source: NASA

This document summarizes the results of an employee diversity and inclusion survey. The survey questions and responses are tabulated. It can be used to identify potential survey questions for beginning farmer and rancher programs. NOTE: Any survey of people from disadvantaged backgrounds needs to be fully anonymous, and the sample should have at least 5, if not 10 people from those backgrounds in the sample of those asked to take it. Asking information about specific characteristics, ethnicity, gender, etc, should not be used if it might identify the respondent (i.e., there is only one woman who will be taking the survey).

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

The survey instrument from the University of Wisconsin's Campus Climate Survey in 2016, provides an example of survey questions and responses on student experience.

Source: 2021 farm business incubator manual

This farm incubator manual outlines the information for farmers to participtate in Michigan State University's 2021 Farm Business Incubator Program.

Source: National Association of County Agricultural Agents

This report compares the specific needs of Maryland beginning farmers’ to the needs of beginning farmers identified by national surveys.

Source: Pennsylvania State University - Rama B. Radhakrishna, Rhemilyn Z. Relado

"Asking the right evaluation questions is very important to documenting program outcomes. This article provides a roadmap to link evaluation questions to program outcomes. Understanding the program, the purpose of the evaluation, and its utility are critical steps in developing focused evaluation questions. Further, grouping evaluation questions into process and outcome questions will help answer both program implementation efforts (activities and resources) and program effects (KASA change) on participants. Developing a program outcome chart also helps in writing focused evaluation questions. An important strategy in developing evaluation questions is to integrate program evaluation into the program development process."

Source: Penn State Cooperative Extension - Nancy Ellen Kiernan; Horticulture Extension Educator - Emelie Swackhamer

"A multipurpose evaluation, developed to measure impact of master gardener training in Pennsylvania, quantitatively measured both learning and increase in confidence, applying data from before and after the training. The authors demonstrate how the same data can be summarized in different ways to better achieve program improvement or demonstrate accountability. The evaluation compiled feedback from a 16-county area, including a majority of trainees in the state. This uniform evaluation strategy eliminated duplication of effort by county educators, provided a high quality tool for the state, and serves as a model for evaluating multi-topic programs taught by many instructors."