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: North Dakota Department of Health

This presentation defines what an indicator is and its purpose, describes how indicators relate to a program or project logic model, and explains how to understand the criteria for selecting a good indicator, and offer information on how to explain or share an indicator.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

This document describes what an indicator is, offering examples of key elements of specific, observable, and measurable indicators, and explains how to develop appropriate indicators.

Source: NAEPSDP Virtual Summer Field School 2020

This webinar by Natalie E. Cook and Thomas Archibald on July 17, 2020 provides an orientation to what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion can look like in Extension Evaluation including approaches and frameworks, common pitfalls and their mitigation.

Source: Cooperative Extension

These resources from Cooperative Extension, while not specifically focused on evaluation, may prove useful for Beginning Farmer and Rancher Programs including DEI in their evaluations.

Source: GREW

This diagram identifies many of the primary elements or activities that organizations can offer to support new farmer and rancher success. It also identifies several different definitions of success that might be utilized in an evaluation. By highlighting the many definitions of success, this diagram can also help BFR training staff determine which outcomes are most relevant to their organization, farmers, and funders.

Source: Tiger Prints Clemson University

"Within the existing economic development literature, there is a well-established linkage between the presence of skilled human capital and economic growth. A subset of this literature has focused on the role that a specific type of skilled human capital, known as the “creative class,” may play in facilitating regional economic development. This dissertation builds upon the existing creative class literature by examining the factors that have attracted the creative class to the state of South Carolina. In addition, this research gives special attention to the entrepreneurial activities of creative class professionals who engage in small-scale farming. Recent interest surrounding the economic, social, and environmental benefits of small-scale farming has led researchers and development practitioners to increasingly examine the role that local food systems may play in the regional development process. Accordingly, this dissertation examines how small-scale farm operators may be contributing to their communities and local economies by engaging in knowledge-intensive, entrepreneurial activities."