A Video Training on Cultivation Featuring Talented Farmers - Their Weed Control Machines

Final Report for ENE95-009

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1995: $14,560.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2001
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $2,944.00
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
Project Leader:
Dr. Vern Grubinger
University of Vermont
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Project Information

Summary:

Overview: This project produced a 75-minute video, ‘Vegetable Farmers and their Weed-Control Machines’ featuring 9 New England farmers. They describe cultivation and flame weeding tools, including: basket, finger, and tine weeders, rotary hoe, rolling cultivator, Bezzerides implements, backpack and tractor-mounted flamers. As of 1999, 632 videos had been distributed, and 152 post-viewing evaluations returned; 98% of viewers said the video improved their knowledge of cultivation equipment. A follow-up survey in 2000 had 74 responses; 58% said the video changed their weed management and 39% said it caused measurable improvements. The 74 respondents reported showing the video to 1,628 additional people.

Project Objectives:

To increase the understanding of extension educators and their clients about mechanical weed control techniques, tools and strategies.

Cooperators

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  • Mary Jane Else

Educational Approach

Educational approach:

: Nine farmers were identified in MA, NH and VT that had significant experience operating a diversity of weed control tools. The farmers were filmed in 1995; they were asked to describe their farms, their approach to weed control, and the pros and cons of specific pieces of equipment. They demonstrated the use of a variety of cultivation and flaming equipment, including: Buddingh basket and finger weeders, tine weeder, rotary hoe, rolling cultivator, Bezzerides implements, sweeps and shovels, backpack flamer, tractor-mounted flamers, and custom equipment for control of weeds along the edges of plastic mulch.

Six hours of raw footage was edited into a first draft that was nearly 2 hours long. This was presented to over 70 extension specialists and farmers for their evaluation at the 1995 New England Vegetable and Berry Conference. Evaluations were used to guide subsequent editing of the video. The final version of the video is 75-minutes long. The title was changed from that originally proposed to more succinctly reflect the content. A fact sheet was developed to accompany mailings of the video. It lists distributors of cultivation and flaming equipment.

Performance Target Outcomes

Outcomes

In 1996 the video was provided free-of-charge to 174 extension educators and agency personnel nationwide. It is now available for purchase for $15 postpaid from the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 63 Carrigan Dr., Burlington VT 05405. It has been advertised on vegetable list-serves, through press releases, and in articles in the popular press. Currently, it is advertised as past of a video series, all funded by NE-SARE-PDP, that includes Farmers and their Diversified Horticultural Marketing Strategies (1999) Farmers and Their Ecological Sweet Corn Production Practices� (2001), and Farmers and the Innovative Cover Cover Cropping Techniques (2004).

Income from video sales covers the costs associated with ongoing distribution, including reprinting the video, packaging, postage, and handling. To date, the Center has distributed 1,048 copies of the video, including 100 videos delivered to NRAES (Natural Resources, Agriculture and Engineering Service), in Ithaca NY, for their distribution. Orders have come from over 40 states and from as far away as Japan and Australia.

Project Outcomes

Future Recommendations

Evaluations indicated a desire for more information on wide variety of interest in weed control techniques and issues, including: the effects of crop rotation on weed control and the influence of soil type on cultivation options, as well as general information on alternative and organic production practices.

Potential Contributions

An evaluation form is included with all videos when distributed by UVM. When last compiled in May 1999, there were 263 evaluations returned from the 632 videos distributed. Nearly 98% of respondents said the video had improved their knowledge of cultivation equipment; over 84% said the video expanded their knowledge of weed control strategies and 76% said the video would improve weed control advice they gave. Of the 41 evaluations by extension personnel, 93% said their knowledge of cultivation equipment was improved by the video, and 85% said it would improve the advice they gave about weed control. Comments indicated that the video would be used in extension programs. Informally, one extension administrator told me “I know it’s a good video because the copies I ordered for our lending library have all disappeared.?

In 2000, a follow up survey was sent to video recipients. Follow-up was limited by the fact that some video orders came through university and agency purchasing departments, and because some mailing addresses had changed. Of the 74 responses, 58% said the video had changed they way they managed weeds, and 39% said the video resulted in measurable improvements. The 74 respondents had shown the video to another 1,628 people.

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.