The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program

Two farmers on an onion farm in Tajikistan
USAID Farmer-to-Farmer onion growing specialist assists Tajik farmers

The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program provides voluntary technical assistance to farmers, farm groups, and agribusinesses in developing and transitional countries to promote sustainable improvements in food security and agricultural processing, production, and marketing. The program relies on the expertise of volunteers from U.S. farms, land grant 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, generally are not overseas development professionals, but rather individuals who have domestic careers, farms, and agribusinesses, or are retirees who want to participate in development efforts.

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 U.S. Congress authorized the current FY 2009-2013 phase of the program in the 2008 Farm Bill, designating it 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.

Evaluations suggest that the program provides high quality services from volunteers, leveraging over $34 million worth of volunteer time contributions to development efforts. Approximately one million farmer families (representing about five million people) have directly benefitted from the Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Volunteers help host individuals and organizations build local institutions and linkages to resolve local problems and have provided direct hands-on training to over 80,000 people. Since program initiation, over 12,000 volunteer assignments have been completed in over 80 countries. Approximately 43% of all individuals trained by Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers are women.

Examples of Volunteer Assignments

Partners of the Americas

  • Haiti Forestry/Erosion Prevention: Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer Norm Bezona helped to establish a bamboo cultivation project in 1999 to help local Haitian farmers combat erosion. Since its inception, the project has completed two phases – introduction and propagation of new species and education of farmers as to the multiple benefits of bamboo; and second, expansion to include additional NGOs and interested agricultural groups in other regions, and distribution of the plants to individual farmers/collaborating groups for nursery and communal reforestation projects. On his first trip, Mr. Bezona delivered 200 plants representing 12 bamboo varieties donated by the Quindembo Nursery in Hawaii. Since his inaugural visit, Bezona has traveled to Haiti three times to expand the reach of the project. Propagation techniques such as root division and branch cuttings have since generated over 40,000 plants from these original 200. Fifteen thousand bamboo plants have already been distributed throughout the country – 50% of these have been used for the rehabilitation of soils on riverbanks, ravines and protected natural areas. The other half was delivered to collaborating organizations and individual farmers. Of the 2,000 farmers who received plants, most farm one to two hectares of land and state they have planted 50% of the bamboo plants for construction, 25% for crafts and 25% for erosion control and reforestation.

Winrock International

  • 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, FTF 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.


  • Armenia – Dairy: Mr. Truman Graf, a former Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Wisconsin and an expert on diary pricing, spent two weeks at Ashtarak Kat CISC Milk Company in Armenia during August 2003. While there, he conducted dairy farm and plant conferences analyzing and quantifying data and operational system information on milk pricing and milk quality programs and conditions, which is preparatory to developing and assisting in planning implementation of a country-wide milk component pricing program. He also developed a component milk pricing system, quantifying component prices, and quantifying quality incentives. Upon his return to the United States, Mr. Graf has contacted his Senators and Congressional Representative to relay information regarding his volunteer trip and experiences. He has also given presentations to a local Kiwanis Club chapter and to members of the University of Wisconsin faculty.


Farmer-to-Farmer Program Contacts

Gary E. Alex, Program Manager
Tel: (202) 712-4086
Fax: (202) 216-3579

J. Erin Baize, Program Analyst
Tel: (202) 712-5711
Fax: (202) 216-3010

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Last updated: January 14, 2014

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