Enhancing community water quality, livestock performance, and farmer and rancher income through improved animal watering systems

Progress report for ENC21-200

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2021: $90,000.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2024
Grant Recipient: Kansas State University
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Carol Baldwin
Kansas State University
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Project Information


Water is the number one nutrient for mammalian species, thus developing systems that result in a stable, safe supply is important for all facets of life. Helping aid livestock producers to utilize available land, labor, and capital resources around watering systems is one goal of the handbook: Waters and Watering systems: A Handbook for Livestock Producers and Landowners. The handbook was developed 15 years ago and production practices, resource availability, and trained personnel in water development have changed since publication. Therefore, to bridge the knowledge-gap and advancements in technology and technique this project proposes to update the handbook. Some updates include addition of previously excluded information such as livestock water in livestock-cropping systems, watering knowledge for non-cattle species, and water during the winter. Other importance updates include capturing enhancements with new technology/management options. While completing the next iteration of the handbook, videos (n = 8) will be developed to demonstrate key water development strategies. Professional development for agency staff who work directly with farmers and ranchers and who work in partnership with agricultural producers and landowners in the adoption of sustainable agriculture includes a webinar about the handbook and its resources, and two 2-day hands-on field days. After participating in these activities, the targeted audience should have the confidence to host educational events and outreach communications, and the tools (framework of contacts, demonstrated techniques, handbook/guide, and hands-on experience) to be able to interact with their constituents to improve watering systems for ecosystem health and integrity.

Project Objectives:

1 livestock waterer handbook will be updated. 


10 new technical drawings added to the handbook will be professionally produced.   


250 updated livestock watering handbooks will be printed and distributed to district conservationists and ag and natural resource agents in all 105 Kansas counties, to 13 NRCS state grazing specialists, and to 6 WRAPS coordinators. A digital version of the handbook will be created and posted online. Anticipated audience will be agency staff and farmers/ranchers, and the document is expected to be viewed 15,000 times over the next decade based on current view rates of 1500 per year.  


8 watering component videos will be created. Videos are anticipated to be downloaded 800 times over the next decade by agency staff and farmers/ranchers. 


An estimated 40 agency staff participants will attend one recorded training webinar.  


Four recruitment articles/blogs for field days will be distributed on six listservs, six newsletters, and posted on 3 social media accounts. An estimated 20 individual email invitations will be sent. 


2 two-day trainings for 60 agency staff participants. At least six presentations will be made by farmers/ranchers during the field days. Two tire tanks will be installed on individual farmer/rancher operations.  


6 miniature tire tanks will be created and distributed to 6 participants for use in promoting the handbook and videos. 


1 survey distributed to 60 field day participants both pre-and post-event. 


500 promotional bookmarks will be printed and distributed at 30 professional and ag producer events, including conferences, meetings, presentations, and individual consultations.  


50 social media posts will be created by team and participants and reach an estimated 300 agency staff and ag producers with information about the handbook and videos. Six promotional articles will be written and distributed via listserv to an estimated 1000 agency staff and ag producers.  Three media interviews promoting use of the handbook and video will be given by participants.   


Participants will promote the use of the handbook and videos to their peers with 3 conference presentations and 3 booth displays, reaching an estimated 150 agency staff.  3 participants (1 for each presentation/booth) will be supported by travel funds included in this grant. 


8, $200 scholarships will be provided to participants who lack funding to attend the field day or to attend a meeting or conference to make a presentation about the watering handbook and videos. 


Team members will present at 3 national conferences about the handbook and videos, reaching an estimated 150 agency staff.   Travel for attending these conferences will be provided by sources outside this grant. 


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Educational approach:

This project will use a combination of print, virtual, and visual media to convey knowledge of livestock watering system components to agency staff and livestock producers. Hands-on trainings for agency staff will also be provided.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Educational outputs

Provide materials, trainings, and promotion for wide and appropriate use of livestock watering system information.


1. Updated educational publication. The current handbook will be updated and slightly expanded to include new technologies, and made widely available to agency staff to use in assisting livestock producers in making good choices for on-farm watering systems for grazing animals.

2. New educational videos. Several new videos will be created that demonstrate how to install and maintain livestock watering components. The videos will be posted on-line for wide access.

3. Workshop trainings. Agency staff will be trained in how best to use the handbook and videos when working with livestock producers and will provide hands-on experience in installing a tire tank waterer.

4. Webinar training. Water quality staff and Extension agents from the region will be introduced to the livestock watering handbook and how to use it through a training webinar.

5. Informative display at conferences. Booths and presentations a conferences will provide wide exposure for the handbook and how it can be used to assist livestock producers.

Educational & Outreach Activities

3 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
2 Published press articles, newsletters
9 Webinars / talks / presentations
1 Workshop field days
3 Other educational activities: 2 promotional bookmarks for the handbook
1 web page creation with supplemental materials

Participation Summary:

1,305 Agency

Learning Outcomes

30 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

One attendee at the workshop is now planning a workshop in her county for farmers and ranchers.

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.