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

Farmers in Tajikistan
Tajik farmers working on a new apricot orchard that will be planted according to knowledge gained from an F2F volunteer.

The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F) provides technical assistance from U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses 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 to join the program. Volunteers tend to be senior or mid-career professionals with practical agro-industry experience.

The F2F program was initially authorized by Congress in the 1985 Farm Bill and funded through Title V of Public Law 480. The program was designated as 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.

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 F2F program has demonstrated significant impact through high-quality services from volunteers. Volunteers help 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. Please see below for specific examples of volunteer successes.

Current Farmer-to-Farmer Program: FY14 – FY18

USAID has awarded cooperative agreements to six organizations for implementation of the core F2F 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 F2F volunteers.

Each F2F award is global in nature but implements core country programs in a specific region or technical area:

F2F 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 smallholder 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.

Examples of Volunteer Assignments

Caribbean Basin

  • Haiti Coffee Production & Marketing: While working with host Makouti Agro Enterprise, veteran F2F volunteer Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak realized the potential for high-quality Haitian coffee in the international market. Kaplan-Pasternak recruited U.S. 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 U.S. coffee market, and determine the feasibility of connecting Haitian coffee producers to U.S. markets. Based on Gourdet’s findings, he and Kaplan-Pasternak developed a business plan and launched, 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 percent, which means, the cow that earlier gave an average of five liters milk per day, now with Chapin formulated feed is giving seven 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.

West Africa

  • 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 Feed the Future focus area in northern Ghana.

Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia

  • 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 six percent 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 percent, while productivity jumped nearly 30 percent 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.

For more information, please visit:

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: March 27, 2015

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