OGRAIN Virtual Field Day Toolbox for Agriculture Service Providers

Progress report for ENC19-184

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $89,576.00
Projected End Date: 10/01/2022
Grant Recipient: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Erin Silva
University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Project Information

Abstract:

In the OGRAIN Virtual Field Day Toolbox for Agriculture Service Providers project the University of Wisconsin with partner American Society of Agronomy will contribute to the education of agricultural professionals and technical service providers engaging with transitioning and certified organic clients. 

Our target audience will be agricultural service providers, including Certified Crop Advisors, Extension agents, and Natural Resource Conservation Service professionals in the north central region who desire greater expertise in organic methods. Through our proposed project, ag professionals will develop a deeper proficiency and understanding of specific production practices, positioning them to lead clients to organic success.

As a result of this project, agricultural advisors’ knowledge of how to achieve organic production success will increase, including knowledge of organic certification requirements and process, specific weed and pest management and soil building and conservation techniques. Advisors’ ability to assist clients interested in organic practices will increase, and the number of advisors able to help organic clients in the north central region will rise.

Through this project we will create a series of short, targeted, on-farm “Virtual Field Day Segments” and develop an online and phone-based learning community. Videos will showcase specific elements of organic production and highlight on-farm practices on successful organic operations. A targeted listserv will develop a peer learning community supported by bi-monthly phone meetings to address participant’s specific concerns and questions.

As a direct result of this project over 600 ag advisors will gain knowledge that increases their ability to serve clients interested in organic practices.

Project Objectives:
  • 10-minute videos focused on specific organic production practices, with an emphasis on highlighting what success looks like and options for achieving it. Each video will include a discussion as well as in-the-field footage and farmer interviews.
  • Online learning community consisting of listserv and bimonthly conference calls
  • Videos will be linked to University of Wisconsin OGRAIN webpage (https://ograin.cals.wisc.edu) as well as American Society of Agronomy webpage with pre- and post-viewing surveys.
  • A publicity campaign will reach members of the American Agronomy Society, Certified Crop Advisors, Extension and NRCS personnel as well as others who advise farmers.
  • An anticipated 300 participants will view each video within the grant project period (Oct 2019 through Sept 2021) for an overall audience of 4,800 views. We expect to directly impact over 600 individuals, who will then pass the knowledge on to their clients.
  • An anticipated 75 individuals will participate in the virtual learning community
  • Reports submitted to SARE will be available for public viewing via the SARE website, guiding learning for other project designers on our lessons learned, project outputs and outcomes.

Cooperators

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Education

Educational approach:

We are producing videos of innovative practices on working organic grain farms and research sites that will serve as virtual field days, providing the opportunity for agricultural professionals to view sustainable practices for organic grain production in action without needing to physically attend a field day.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Virtual field days
Objective:

To provide opportunities to see sustainable practices for organic grain production implemented on farms without having to physically attend a farm field day.

Description:

In partnership with the American Society of Agronomy, we produced six virtual field days, each 10 minutes in length. The COVID 19 pandemic did not allow farm visits in Summer 2020. However, all work was condensed into summer 2021. All six videos are in the final stages of the editing process and will be released and promoted during 2022.

Listserv and learning calls
Objective:

To build a community of organic agriculture professionals to advise transitioning and certified organic farmers as to best management for organic grain production to promote environmental, economic, and social well-being.

Description:

In partnership with the Organic Agronomy Training Service, we are organizing the listserv and calls to begin in Winter 2022, using the videos as a kick-off.

Educational & Outreach Activities

1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
6 Other educational activities: The COVID 19 pandemic did not allow farm visits in Summer 2020. However, all work was condensed into summer 2021. All six videos are in the final stages of the editing process and will be released and promoted during 2022.

Project Outcomes

1 New working collaboration
Project outcomes:

During Summer 2021, in partnership with the American Society of Agronomy, we produced 6 videos of virtual farm field days:

 

  1. Ben Adolph, Fairhaven, IL: Transition to Organic, Relay Cropping, and Leadership in Organics 
  2. Charlie Johnson, Madison, SD: Diversity in Crop Rotations and Importance of Organic Agriculture to Rural Communities 
  3. James Schroepfer, Belgrade, MN: Fertility Management, Manure and Nitrogen Crediting in Organic Production  
  4. James Schroepfer, Belgrade, MN: Managing Weeds with Organic Crop Rotations and Technology 
  5. Erin Silva, Madison WI: Reduced Tillage in Organic Systems: No Till Soybeans into Cereal Rye
  6. Erin Silva, Madison, WI, and James Schroepfer, Belgrade MN: Cover Crops, Inter-seeding, and 60-inch corn in Organic Management

These videos will be used to kick off the listserv and learning calls.

Information Products

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.