The Kerr Center believes that sustainable agriculture must be socially equitable, profitable for producers, and ecologically sound. The Kerr Center values and supports the family farm structure of agriculture, a fair playing field for independent farmers and ranchers, public research for the public domain, the enhancement and protection of natural resources, respect for nature, local food systems, and better communities. Expanded statement of core values.
The Kerr Center works for and with rural people and communities in Oklahoma and across the nation. Our focus is on education. The center holds educational events each year. In addition, center staff members conduct research and demonstration projects on the farm/ranch near Poteau.
The center also offers a variety of publications and web resources for use by farmers, ranchers, agriculture professionals, and leaders on the local and state level, including Field Notes, a free newsletter. The center is open to the public on the second Tuesday of each month (other visits must be arranged in advance).
The staff has expertise in agricultural economics, agronomy, animal science, biology/environmental science, communication, community foods, education, horticulture, organic policy, natural resource conservation and public policy.
Visit our staff page for more information.
The Kerr Foundation was established in 1965 from the estate of Senator Robert S. Kerr. The agricultural division of that entity served farmers and ranchers until 1985. In that year, the Kerr Foundation was separated into four new foundations. The “ag division” became the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, continuing and expanding upon its primary work of educational outreach to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.
The mission of the Kerr Center is to assist in developing sustainable food and farming systems by:
- Supporting farms that provide a perpetual stream of economic goods and ecological/environmental benefits, and which enhance the quality of life of farm families, rural residents, and society as a whole;
- Promoting markets made up of independently owned and operated farms and firms of a scale appropriate to offer a wide variety of product choices for consumers and economic opportunities for existing and beginning farmers;
- Encouraging communities to protect the land from misuse, exploitation, and unfettered urban development, to ensure inclusion and equality of opportunity for all; to promote community food security; and support to economic development from within;
- Proclaiming the need for a culture that respects the earth and all of its diversity of life, and recognizing the physical, social, and spiritual connections between people within a higher order of things.
The Kerr Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational foundation established in 1985. The home office, farm, and ranch are located near Poteau in southeastern Oklahoma.