John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program
The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F) provides technical assistance from United States volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries with the goal of promoting sustainable improvements in food security and agricultural processing, production, and marketing. The F2F program leverages the expertise of volunteers from U.S. farms, universities, cooperatives, private agribusinesses, and nonprofit farm organizations to respond to the local needs of host-country farmers and organizations. Volunteers, recruited from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, are generally individuals who have domestic careers, farms, and agribusinesses, or are retirees who want to participate in development efforts; volunteers do not have to be overseas development professionals. Volunteers tend to be senior or mid-career professionals with practical agro-industry experience.
As aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, F2F works to support inclusive agriculture sector growth, facilitate private sector engagement in the agriculture sector, enhance development of local capacity and promote climate-smart development. Volunteer assignments address host-led priorities to expand economic growth that increases incomes and improves access to nutritious food. The program provides:
- Quality, cost effective technical assistance from practical, experienced specialists
- Targeted capacity development and technology transfer
- Citizen diplomacy that establishes long term relations, promotes goodwill, and raises understanding of international development issues
The Farmer-to-Farmer Program was initially authorized by Congress in the 1985 Farm Bill and funded through Title V of Public Law 480. The program was designated the "John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program" in honor of one of the pilots killed September 11, 2001 and of former Congressman Bereuter, who initially sponsored the program.
USAID has awarded cooperative agreements to six organizations for implementation of the core Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer programs for international agricultural development for fiscal years 2014 – 2018. The program will extend services to 26 core countries, providing over 3,000 volunteer technical assistance assignments averaging three weeks each. An additional Special Program Support Project will fund volunteer activities with new implementing organizations and special activities. The six program implementing organizations will work closely with overseas USAID Missions and local partner organizations, supporting a variety of development programs aimed at reducing poverty and stimulating sustainable and broad-based economic growth. The core program agreements allow USAID country programs to provide additional funding for agricultural development projects using Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers.
Farmer-to-Farmer emphasizes achieving economic impact and measurable results by concentrating volunteer assignments in specific geographic areas, commodities programs, and service sectors. Programs go beyond simply placing volunteers on an individual basis and focus on developing specific market chains for which overall impact can be evaluated. Programs build institutions and transfer technology and management expertise to link small farmers with markets that make use of comparative advantages in production, processing, and marketing. Volunteers typically work with medium and small agro-enterprises, cooperatives, individual producers, agricultural extension and research agencies, and financial institutions.
Major areas of program focus are: horticulture, dairy and livestock, staple food crops, producer organization development, financial services, marketing and processing, agricultural education and training, and natural resources management.
The F2F Program has demonstrated significant impact through high quality services from volunteers. Volunteers help host individuals and organizations build local institutions and linkages to resolve local problems and since 1985 have provided direct, hands-on training to over 1.2 million people. In the last five year program alone, volunteers assisted their host organizations to increase annual sales by over $442 million and raise annual incomes by $132 million. The program leveraged over $31 million worth of volunteer time contributions to development efforts and mobilized $40 million from assisted local host organizations. Nearly 1 million farmer families (representing about 47 million people) directly benefitted, and approximately 37% of all individuals trained were women. Since program initiation, nearly 16,000 volunteer assignments have been completed in more than 110 countries.
Examples of Volunteer Assignments
Haiti Coffee Production & Marketing: While working with host Makouti Agro Enterprise, veteran Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak realized the potential for high quality Haitian coffee in the international market. Kaplan-Pasternak recruited US businessman and Haitian native Yves Gourdet to travel as an F2F volunteer to assess coffee production in specific regions of Haiti, educate producers on the US coffee market, and determine the feasibility of connecting Haitian coffee producers to US markets. Based on Gourdet’s findings, he and Kaplan-Pasternak developed a business plan and launched HaitiCoffee.com, Inc. In the first year, Haiti Coffee imported 11,000 lbs of coffee, ending the year with a small profit, and was extended a line of credit from a private supporter. The next year, Haiti Coffee imported a full shipping container of coffee and expanded to a second production site. Coffee bean sales have now impacted the lives of nearly 3,000 farming families in Haiti, and the company has started reintroducing Haitian coffee to the world. In addition to linking producers to markets, F2F volunteers have worked to improve Haiti’s coffee sector by training producers in sustainable production techniques and protecting plants against pests and diseases. F2F volunteer Jean Tsafack-Djiagu trained 97 coffee producers on using shade to increase yields and protect plants from the destructive Coffee Berry Borer. Together, trainees established a Reflection Committee to lead production activities and declared, “We are ready to start a new life with coffee production.”
Bangladesh Dairy Feed: Land is scarce in this densely populated and disaster prone country and therefore, grazing land for livestock is shrinking day by day. Also, due to poor genetic potential of milking cows coupled with non-availability of balanced supplemental feed, the national average milk production in Bangladesh has remained very low (in the range of 1.5-3.0 liters per cow per day). In this backdrop, F2F volunteer Dr. Roy Chapin helped to develop the first dairy feed program in Bangladesh, which included developing a computer assisted program for formulating rations for lactating cows, a calf starter ration and a ration for growing heifers. “Making dairy feed is the intermediate step in having more milk, meat, money and manure produced in Bangladesh so people there will have more protein, energy, vitamins and minerals in their diets, more money in their pockets and more rice straw converted to fertilizers to increase soil fertility”, Dr. Chapin mentioned in his comments after the assignment. In practice, feed produced following Chapin’s formulation is showing highly encouraging results with an average increase in milk production by around 40%, which means, the cow that earlier gave an average of 5 liters milk per day, now with Chapin formulated feed is giving 7 liters. Feed production plant manager Mohammad Khasru and marketing officer Jadu Gopal in a recent interview mentioned that demand for their dairy feed is increasing and the marketing horizon is gradually being widened to cover most of the strategic dairy pockets in northern, eastern and north eastern parts of the country.
Ghana Staples: The 64-member Dekaworwor Association in northern Ghana received assistance from two F2F volunteers, Dr. David Addae of Natchez, Mississippi, and Matthew Wolverton of Tacoma, Washington. Before the F2F volunteers came, the association was loosely organized, and members did not know how to keep financial records. Their agronomic practices were also lacking: farmers planted low-quality seeds using broadcasting methods, i.e., scattering by hand. Through demonstrations, Dr. Addae taught the farmers to increase rice yields by using higher-quality seeds and planting manually in lines, which evenly distributes seeds and places them at the correct depth. This cuts down on crop maintenance as well, since planted rows allow farmers to quickly weed or apply inputs. Dr. Addae also demonstrated techniques for preparing rice to avoid significant post-harvest losses. The results from volunteer visits are impressive. Members’ rice harvests have increased from 0.85 tons per acre to 1.98 tons per acre, resulting in an average increase of $446 per acre—meaning the farmers have effectively doubled their rice sales. Credit goes to the farmers’ hard work and diligent adoption of farming and post-harvest handling techniques recommended by Dr. Addae. And thanks to Wolverton’s capacity-building work, the association—together with other local rice groups—now bags its own branded rice. Upgrading quality, aggregating the crop and improving marketing have resulted in good market penetration in this USAID Feed the Future focus area in northern Ghana.
Tajikistan Orchard Management: Akmal Dekhan Farm sits on 21 hectares in Sughd province, producing sweet apricot varieties that are in high demand in local markets. It is located in Tajikistan’s portion of the Fergana Valley, a large triangular and very fertile valley in what is an often dry part of Central Asia. Sughd province is the country’s breadbasket, with the most productive farmland in a country with only 6% arable land. However, agricultural practices remain antiquated, leaving productivity well below its full potential. F2F staff analyzed Akmal Dekhan Farm and determined that its major challenge was low productivity as a result of outdated orchard management techniques, which kept sales and income for the farm low. F2F volunteer Brian Flanagan, an international agriculture and rural development specialist from New York, visited Sughd province for two weeks to train a group of orchard farmers on proper pruning and grafting techniques. Mr. Flanagan also trained owners on the importance of soil testing and collected a number of soil samples from Akmal Farm, sharing the results and recommendations on proper fertilization once tests results returned. Finally, the volunteer demonstrated an inexpensive, non-toxic dormant oil spray that can be easily mixed using readily available ingredients and is highly effective at controlling many diseases and pests that afflict fruit trees. Mr. Flanagan’s time with Akmal was well spent. Over the course of one growing season, gross sales increased 32%, while productivity jumped nearly 30% to 66,800 kilos. F2F assistance in orchard management and improved production practices has helped farmers satisfy local demand while increasing incomes and sustainability for their businesses.
Who We Are
Eight Leader With Associate (LWA) F2F Programs are implemented by six organizations. Each LWA is global in nature but implements core country programs in a speciﬁc regional or technical area.
ACDI/VOCA retains a grassroots orientation from its beginnings in cooperative development. While still working people-to-people to increase household income and food security, it also designs and implements multidisciplinary economic development projects of significant scale and complexity that often benefit from targeted volunteer technical assistance. ACDI/VOCA advises decision makers as they navigate toward a market-based economy, and enables organizations, whether enterprises, financial institutions, cooperatives or associations, to manage and finance themselves. Today it addresses pressing and intractable development problems in five areas:
- Agribusiness Systems: ACDI/VOCA increases agribusiness productivity, growth and competitiveness by providing management support to farmer organizations to help them achieve scale, coordination, and business skills.
- Enterprise Development: ACDI/VOCA boosts incomes by improving the productivity and competitiveness of industries in which small firms participate & ensuring that firms benefit from that participation.
- Financial Services: Using an integrated rural development approach, ACDI/VOCA assesses local market demand to close gaps in the finance value chain.
- Community Development: ACDI/VOCA addresses immediate needs for recovery, stability, and generation of economic and social capital with an eye to long-term development resulting in poverty reduction. Our interactive approaches, whether applied to impoverished, fragile and transforming states or complex emergencies, are founded on community-based decision making.
- Food Security: Through activities targeted to the most vulnerable, ACDI/VOCA increases the availability and quality of food in local and regional markets and improves consumer access to and utilization of nutritious food. ACDI/VOCA also works to strengthen the resiliency of vulnerable populations and enhance their ability to respond to future shocks.
ACDI/VOCA holds a Leader with Associates Cooperative Agreement to implement USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Each project is global in scope and can expand beyond their core countries in West Africa and Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has extensive experience in promoting sustainable economic growth, food security, and agricultural development worldwide with programs that include volunteer technical assistance. CRS’ agricultural programs focus on:
- Resilience - Promotes prosperous and resilient agricultural livelihoods, market-based recovery, farmer skill sets to improve productivity and diversity, inclusive values chains.
- Capacity Building - Promotes strengthening competitiveness in existing commercial value chains for specific commodities and helps protect development advances against the shocks farmers face around the world.
- Gender - Promotes the participation of women and supports more just and equitable livelihoods of female farmers.
- Civil Society - Cultivates strong relationships across civil society and public and private sectors to “connect the dots” across myriad of stakeholders — from local civil society partners to small-scale farmers and international businesses.
CRS supports rural families in their bid to attain food security, achieve incremental gains in prosperity, and engage more effectively in markets through three stages:
- Recover: gender-equitable emergency response, resilience, disaster risk reduction, national resource management and nutrition-sensitive programming.
- Build: integrated approach to skills development that enables farmers to engage with markets through a "5 skills set" approach.
- Grow: facilitating and brokering the inclusion of organized smallholder farmers in value chains that connect them with markets through finance and investment, regional commodity and trade programs, policy and advocacy.
CRS holds a Leader with Associates Cooperative Agreement to implement USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Each project is global in scope and can expand beyond their core countries in East Africa:
CNFA is a non-profit international development organization dedicated to increasing rural incomes by empowering farmers and rural entrepreneurs. The organization specializes in enterprise-based agricultural development initiatives designed to facilitate market access, enhance agribusiness competitiveness, increase productivity, and improve access to inputs and credit. CNFA implements Farmer-to-Farmer in Southern Africa using a value chain approach in order to focus resources and more effectively build linkages between industry stakeholders. It utilizes expert volunteers and staff to provide technical assistance in pursuit of the following Farmer-to-Farmer objectives:
- Increase agricultural sector productivity and profitability: CNFA’s strategic approach is founded on increasing smallholder productivity and profitability by targeting high-potential value chains in each target country.
- Improve conservation and sustainable use of environmental and natural resources: CNFA balances increased agricultural productivity and production with improved conservation and sustainable resource use. Examples of potential volunteer roles include: water management including water retention and water multi usage, integrated pest management (IPM) and integrated soil fertility management.
- Expand agricultural sector access to financial services: CNFA links smallholder farmer organizations and SMEs with credit via appropriate channels, including microfinance institutions, banks, supplier credit, leasing, equity investment, and blended capital from an increasing number of impact investors.
- Strengthen agricultural sector institutions: CNFA strengthens farmer organizations, including cooperatives and associations, local NGOs, industry associations that support improved input supply, and agricultural universities.
CNFA holds a Leader with Associates Cooperative Agreement to implement USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Each project is global in scope and can expand beyond their core countries in the Southern Africa region:
Since 1981, Land O’Lakes International Development has applied an integrated approach to international economic development that capitalizes on practical experience, volunteer technical assistance, and in-depth knowledge to facilitate market-driven business solutions. Land O’Lakes’ practices include:
- Agricultural Productivity and Competitiveness: Through our demand-driven, value-chain approach to agricultural development, Land O’Lakes helps farmers access markets and boost productivity, thereby enhancing their incomes and improving household food security.
- Food Systems and Safety: We help customers apply both world-class and appropriate technologies to improve food systems and increase production of safe, affordable, and high-quality food products.
- Enterprise and Cooperative Development: As a commercial agribusiness, Land O’Lakes uniquely understands how to assist agro-enterprises in developing and emerging markets to increase their productivity, profitability and market share.
- Food Security and Livelihoods: As we reach out to vulnerable, food insecure groups, Land O’Lakes uses business-oriented market and value chain approaches to leverage private sector investment, build public-private alliances, and enable sustainable livelihoods that are not tied to development assistance.
- Nutrition and Health: Land O’Lakes promotes nutrition and health by increasing the availability and quality of nutritionally enhanced food products, integrating health services into agricultural value chains, and strengthening knowledge and practices that improve household nutrition, health and hygiene.
Land O’Lakes International Development holds a leader with Associates Cooperative Agreement to implement USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In partnership with the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), Land O’Lakes will provide targeted technical assistance to improve food safety and quality assurance and expand access to agricultural finance. Each project is global in scope and can expand beyond their core countries of:
Partners of the Americas, founded in 1964, is an international grassroots organization that connects individuals and organizations to serve and to change lives. Partners’ Agriculture and Food Security Programs contribute to global nutrition security and livelihood development by strengthening organizational and individual capacity and leveraging Partners’ extensive network to build productive and sustainable partnerships. Partners is joined in implementing Farmer-to-Farmer by a consortia of collaborating organizations, including Florida A&M University, the University of Wisconsin Extension Service, CUSO International, and FAVACA. Partners brings many strengths, including:
- A Market-led Approach: Agricultural programs focus on sectors and commodities that have comparative advantages and high market demand.
- Capacity Building and Business Skills Development: Improves the ability of organizations, cooperatives, and businesses to plan, manage, and market their new enterprises.
- Expansive Network of Specialized Volunteers: Recruits volunteers from its network of volunteers, chapters and institutions, including universities and land grant colleges, extension services, businesses, federations, national and regional associations, and community groups.
- Focus on Small and Medium Producers and Enterprises: Promotes broad-based participation in economic growth.
- Build Productive Partnerships: Convenes public and private sector organizations to provide access to information, technology, marketing know-how and new opportunities.
Partners of the Americas holds a Leader with Associates Cooperative Agreement to implement USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Each project is global in scope and can expand beyond its core countries in the Caribbean Basin region:
- Dominican Republic
Winrock International – created with the merger of the Agricultural Development Council, Winrock International Livestock Research and Training Center and International Agricultural Development Service – has supported agricultural development since the 1970s. Today, Winrock projects can include volunteer technical assistance and focus on areas such as:
- Food Security: Winrock works with local partners to develop market-based solutions, such as value chain development, and micro-irrigation and multiple-use water services, which increase agricultural productivity and incomes.
- Agriculture Education and Training (AET): Winrock’s 25-year legacy of supporting AET includes institution building, curriculum development, research, and mentoring.
- Economic Growth in Post-Conflict Countries: Winrock builds the capacity of local governments, producer groups, and NGOs to jump start growth in fragile, conflict-prone environments.
- Natural Resource Management and Climate Change: Winrock provides strategies that enable rural populations to sustainably manage natural resources (including forests, water, and renewable energy) and prepare for and adapt to climate change, natural disasters, and pandemics such as avian influenza.
- Gender: Women are essential to food security. Winrock promotes equity and opportunity for women and men to ensure equal participation and benefits from development initiatives. Winrock also addresses child labor and improves opportunities for youth through education.
Winrock has been awarded two Leader with Associate (LWA) Cooperative Agreements to implement the Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Asia and for Agriculture Education and Training in West Africa. Each project is global in scope and can expand beyond their core countries:
Bangladesh • Burma (Myanmar) • Nepal • Guinea • Nigeria • Senegal
Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) is an alliance of twenty-three leading nonprofit international development organizations that implement economic growth programs and capitalize on the unique contributions and capabilities of volunteers who offer technical assistance. VEGA, with support from The QED Group, LLC, Cultural Practice, and Collaborative Development Network, implement the Farmer-to-Farmer Special Program Support Project (SPSP) under a cooperative agreement with USAID. VEGA provides program-wide support to help ensure that Farmer-to-Farmer partner programs are efficient and effective as the agricultural sector evolves and new issues and goals emerge.
The SPSP provides opportunities for new institutional partners to participate in the Farmer-to-Farmer program while offering USAID Missions another mechanism for integrating volunteer technical assistance into their activities.
VEGA builds the capacity of and encourages participation from minority serving institutions, small NGOs, cooperatives, diaspora organizations, specialized technical networks, and universities to implement successful Farmer-to-Farmer programs that meet USAID objectives. To accomplish this, VEGA mentors new organizations through every step of their journey with the Farmer-to-Farmer program, beginning with support during the grant-writing to help organizations meet USAID proposal, activity, and reporting requirements. VEGA also manages knowledge sharing among Farmer-to-Farmer core implementing partners, volunteers, beneficiaries, and USAID to disseminate success stories and lessons learned.
The SPSP Project will fund Program Development Projects (PDP) or small grants for targeted development activities. Typically, PDPs will be multi-year activities similar to the core Farmer-to-Farmer programs. The small grants will generally be one year activities (though this may be flexible) to address Farmer-to-Farmer country specific or thematic areas, specific volunteer target groups, and/or innovative ways of programming volunteers. Both small grants and PDPs will involve new organizations not currently implementing core Farmer-to-Farmer cooperative agreements. Program oversight, mentoring, training, and program visits will help ensure sub-grant implementer success and program impact. Such activities are likely to be especially useful for local capacity development or introduction of specific technologies. The SPSP program will procure PDPs and small grants through central funding but also offers the opportunity for USAID Missions to buy into PDPs or small grants with their own funds.
Work With Us
Interested in volunteering for Farmer-to-Farmer? Here is a list of FAQs most often asked by professionals interested in volunteering their knowledge and time.
How can I volunteer for the Farmer-to-Farmer program?
Visit the websites of the organizations that implement the Farmer-to-Farmer Program, as listed in Implementing Partners. You must contact or register with each organization individually to apply for an assignment. This generally involves a simple online application process that includes uploading a description of your professional experience (résumé or CV) and adding your contact information. This will enable the organization to contact you regarding assignments that match your interests and expertise. A willingness to volunteer, however, does not guarantee automatic placement since the process is driven by our overseas clients' demand for particular skills.
In which countries do you need volunteers?
Check the current listing of organizations implementing Farmer-To-Farmer programs, as listed in Implementing Partners. Contained in that list are the countries in which Farmer-To-Farmer operates worldwide.
What skills are you typically looking for?
Farmer-To-Farmer is always looking for new volunteers to support the program’s activities across implementers. We have ongoing needs for experienced professionals with varied skills relating to agriculture – production, post harvest handling, processing, marketing, business development, rural banking and financial services, cooperative and association development, food safety, gender, nutrition, environmental and natural resource management, apiculture, and other technical areas. Volunteers do not have to be currently engaged in agriculture to have relevant skills needed by Farmer-to-Farmer Program host beneficiaries.
How long are the assignments?
Volunteer assignments vary in length, but are typically from 2 to 4 weeks.
Will there be any cost for me to volunteer?
Volunteers contribute their time and expertise while the implementing organization pays for all assignment-related expenses. These include round-trip coach airfare, passport, visas, lodging, meals and incidentals, required immunizations, emergency medical evacuation, and supplemental health insurance, etc.
Do I need to speak the local language?
Foreign language skills are generally not required. In cases where the volunteer does not speak the local language and the in-country host does not speak English, an interpreter is provided.
What kind of housing is provided?
This varies from country to country and depends upon whether you are based in an urban or a rural area. In urban areas, volunteers are typically housed in moderate quality hotels, guesthouses, or apartments that the project leases. In rural areas, you may be asked to stay with the host, or in more rustic settings. Lodging information is provided in the scope of work for each assignment.
May I take my spouse or other family member?
We do not have funding to pay expenses for a spouse or other family member. If you would like to schedule a post-assignment vacation, we encourage family and friends to meet you after you have completed your obligations. Please be aware that activity schedules may change during your assignment, which may cause difficulty in coordinating with people who are not participating in the assignment.
For additional questions, please contact the implementing organizations directly.