Revitalizing Community Development in the Dakotas

Final Report for ENC98-031

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1998: $64,700.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $28,850.00
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Thomas Hanson
North Dakota State University
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Project Information


Three training sessions have been completed including Holistic Resource Management, Alternative Marketing Methods, and Intensive Grazing Management. These sessions have utilized the two-way video systems in both Dakotas and have thus enabled use of an out-of-state instructor and producers who could conveniently drive to a nearby site, not requiring a long commute to participate. Agents and others taking the training are appreciative of the reduced travel distances with this system. Evaluations of the completed sessions have indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the material presented and the delivery system. College seniors have also participated with reports on special projects which they have been working on. Significant hand-out materials have been handed out at the individual sites during the training.

Project Objectives:

1. To expand Extension agents’ and federal and state agencies’ field staff understanding of critical sustainable agriculture biological topics.

2. To offer high quality interactive instruction in an effective manner convenient for instructors and students.

3. To expand the utilization of sustainable agriculture concepts in the programming carried out by agriculture and students.

4. To increase interaction between NRCS, Extension, and producers that practice sustainable agriculture concepts.


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  • Kim Cassel

Education & Outreach Initiatives



The IVN/RDT systems were used to facilitate more convenient attendance by Extension agents, NRCS staff, and others. It also allowed use of out-of-state speakers to be instructors and participate in questions without requiring significant travel and additional time and expense. Busy producers were able to participate as the sites were set up to include those closest to them requiring only a short time away from home. Slides and video were incorporated to aid in describing topic information.

Outreach and Publications

Handout--Holistic Resource Management--includes explanations of succession, the Holistic Management Model, the water cycle, and a paradigms excercise.

PowerPoint presentation (John Ikerd)--Missouri Farmers on the Road to Sustainability, Keys to Profits in Niche Markets, What Makes Niche Markets Work?, Are Niche Markets Sustainable?

Charts and photos (John Ikerd)--Best Opportunities for Sustainable Niche Markets

Video--Above described Ikerd presentation, CSA panel, direct marketing panel

Video--"Defining Marketing Opportunities for Sustainable Agriculture" (Dave Kraenzel)

Overheads (Don Kirby)--"Basic Range Plant Physiology"

Handout (Kent Alderin)--Electric Fencing Supplier List

Linkage to SARE Projects

John Ikerd, Missouri PDP Coordinator, was involved in a presentation during the "Alternative Marketing Methods" training session.

Outcomes and impacts:

Evaluations received for the sessions completed indicated for the most part satisfaction with the material presented and the IVN/RDTN system. Requests for a tape of the sessions have been received. Sessions similar to the ones given have been offered to producers through Extension programming. Several intructors involved have since been invited to participate in Extension sponsored events involving producers regarding the topic areas discussed in the training sessions.

Holistic Resource Management (Wayne Berry-Instructor)

February 10, 1998
IVN = Bismarck, Dickinson, Minot, Fargo, Williston
RDTN = Rapid City, Aberdeen, Brookings, Pierre
65 in attendance from Extension and NRCS
Wayne Berry is agriculture instructor at UND-Williston and rancher in eastern Montana

Alternative Marketing Methods
May 7, 1998
IVN = Bismarck, Dickinson, Minot, Fargo, Devils Lake RDTN = Rapid City, Aberdeen, Brookings, Pierre
51 in attendance from Extension, Farm Credit Services, independent banks
John Ikerd, Dave Kraenzel=instructors
6 farmers participated on 2 panels

Intensive Rotational Grazing
April 8, 1999
IVN = Bismarck, Minot, Dickinson, Fargo
RDTN = Pierre, Brookings, Spearfish, Aberdeen, Mitchell
27 in attendance from Extension and NRCS
Instructor list attached as appendix
No farmer participation -- all calving and unable to leave farm

Project Outcomes


Future Recommendations

Marketing will always be a topic which should be stressed. A full Holistic Management course may be offered in the future. The intensive rotational grazing topic needs more research in the northern plains native ranges to garner support from the range scientists. Tours of producers using intensive rotational management is a potential activity to build on these sessions.

Potential Contributions


The evaluation summary is attached as an appendix. This educational effort gave some excellent material, but was hampered by the two-way video/audio systems in the two states and their interaction coupled with telephone and two-way feeds from out of the Dakotas. This electronic method of distance learning functioned below standard on two of the three programs. More rancher/farmer participation was sought for the final session, but producers were very busy with livestock and could not break free.

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.