Train the Trainer: a holistic approach to Integrated Resource Management and Grassland Revitalization

Final Report for ES04-073

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $93,908.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Southern
State: Mississippi
Principal Investigator:
Charles Flowers
Mississippi State University Extension Service
Co-Investigators:
Jane Parish
Mississippi State University Extension Service
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Project Information

Abstract:

The trainer the trainer concept exceeded expectations in the Mississippi beef and forage focused project. Livestock/ forage specialists, area agents, and county directors from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, veterinarians, and numerous other leaders and educators in the Mississippi beef and forage industries gained valuable information via the train the trainer program on a large selection of topics. Program efforts included educational information via face-to-face training sessions, field days, short courses, Extension and popular press articles, PowerPoint presentations, interactive video-based distance education, radio, news releases, e-mail, and the Internet: http://msucares.com/livestock/beef/. Topics addressed included cattle reproduction, end product, marketing, nutrition, forage production and utilization, NRCS programs, herd health, and genetics. Multi-county local groups or sustainable beef teams developed and continue to thrive throughout Mississippi as “Cattlemen’s Exchange groups”, which now appear to be sustainable as long-term producer education resources. These groups interactive locally and across groups on a regular (usually monthly) basis and share research and production information. Program awareness continues to expand in Mississippi and attract new participants in Mississippi and surrounding states. Regional educational programming efforts developed as a result of the project among Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana beef and forage production educational programs. Program evaluations were very positive and continue to provide good input for future program planning. Long-term beef and forage educational efforts have a solid foundation of educational materials, methods, and trainer resources that will sustain impacts well beyond the funded life of the project.

Project Objectives:

2004
1) Recruit participants for sustainable beef teams.
2) Conduct seminars and workshops on a variety of relevant production and marketing topics for sustainable beef teams.
3) Develop educational materials to support training efforts for sustainable beef teams.

2005
1) Continue active participation in sustainable beef teams.
2) Continue conducting seminars, workshops, and short courses on a variety of relevant beef cattle and forage production and marketing topics for sustainable beef teams.
3) Continue Development of training materials specific to training program to enhance trainers’ and producers’ knowledge base.
4) Continue to support local training team efforts to educate local producers on beef cattle and forage topics.

2006
1) Continue active participation in sustainable beef teams.
2) Continue conducting seminars, workshops, and short courses on a variety of relevant beef cattle and forage production and marketing topics for sustainable beef teams.
3) Continue development of training materials specific to training program to enhance trainers’ and producers’ knowledge base.
4) Continue to support local training team efforts to educate local producers on beef cattle and forage topics.

Introduction:

There is currently an unprecedented opportunity to initiate a train the trainer program that could have a significant impact on beef producers in the state of Mississippi. There is a unanimous desire to develop local sustainable beef teams consisting of producers, Extension Service Livestock/ Forage Area Agents, County Agents, Natural Resource Conservation Service Conservationists, local practicing veterinarians and local bankers. The expressed desire of the producers and potential team members is to increase their knowledge base regarding sustainable beef production and resource management in a holistic approach. The local sustainable beef teams would function in an ongoing advisory capacity emphasizing optimization of production, marketing, financial management, and environmental stewardship, while also enhancing wildlife habitat. The beef industry in the United States is in a unique transition that is encouraging producer accountability for safe, quality beef for the consumer. Profitability is and always has been a major challenge for beef producers, and with the current accountability trend, there will be profitability opportunities for producers who understand and participate in new marketing options. To remain sustainable in beef production in the near future, it will also be essential for producers to embrace a holistic approach to production and expense management while also maintaining and enhancing our environmental resources. The requesting trainers and producers recognize the need for working together to improve sustainability. This is truly a teachable moment!

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Blair McKinley
  • Richard Watson

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

Methods

Livestock/ forage specialists, area agents, and county directors from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, veterinarians, and numerous other leaders and educators in the Mississippi beef and forage industries gained valuable information via the train the trainer program on a large selection of topics. Program efforts included educational information via face-to-face training sessions, field days, short courses, Extension and popular press articles, PowerPoint presentations, interactive video-based distance education, radio, news releases, e-mail, and the Internet: http://msucares.com/livestock/beef/. Topics addressed included cattle reproduction, end product, marketing, nutrition, forage production and utilization, NRCS programs, herd health, and genetics. Multi-county local groups or sustainable beef teams developed and continue to thrive throughout Mississippi as “Cattlemen’s Exchange groups”, which now appear to be sustainable as long-term producer education resources. These groups interactive locally and across groups on a regular (usually monthly) basis and share research and production information. Focus on efficient mass communication tools to deliver educational information was a key area identified that will contribute to the long-term sustainability of these efforts. Distance education videoconferencing and podcasting emerged as effective communication tools for delivering these educational programs. Additional training needs were identified based on trainee and producer evaluations and input.

Outreach and Publications

A compact disc and digital video disc library of major educational programs was developed and has now become the standard for getting long-term benefit from individual program offerings. Program efforts included educational information via face-to-face training sessions, field days, short courses, Extension and popular press articles, PowerPoint presentations, interactive video-based distance education, radio, news releases, e-mail, and the Internet: http://msucares.com/livestock/beef/. Focus on efficient mass communication tools to deliver educational information was a key area identified that will contribute to the long-term sustainability of these efforts. Distance education videoconferencing and podcasting emerged as effective communication tools for delivering these educational programs.

Outcomes and impacts:

2004
The trainer the trainer concept has met with tremendous success during the first 6.5 months of the Mississippi beef and forage focused project. Livestock/forage specialists, area agents, and county directors from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, veterinarians, and numerous other leaders and educators in the Mississippi beef and forage industry have gained valuable information via the train the trainer program. Program efforts included educational information disseminated via face-to-face training sessions, field days, short courses, Extension and popular press articles, PowerPoint presentations, satellite-based distance education, radio, news releases, e-mail, and the internet. Topics addressed included forage management and utilization, cattle nutrition, marketing, NRCS programs, herd health, and financial management. Multi-county local groups or sustainable beef teams were formed throughout the state and promoted as “Cattlemen’s Exchange” groups. They interact as a group on a regular basis (usually monthly) and share research and production information. There is a growing demand to create additional Cattlemen’s Exchange groups. Program evaluations were been very positive and provided good suggestions for future training efforts.

2005
The trainer the trainer concept has exceeded expectations in its first full year of the Mississippi beef and forage focused project. Livestock/ forage specialists, area agents, and county directors from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, veterinarians, and numerous other leaders and educators in the Mississippi beef and forage industries have gained valuable information via the train the trainer program. Program efforts included educational information via face-to-face training sessions, field days, short courses, Extension and popular press articles, PowerPoint presentations, interactive video-based distance education, radio, news releases, e-mail, and the Internet: http://msucares.com/livestock/beef/. Topics addressed included cattle reproduction, end product, marketing, nutrition, forage production and utilization, NRCS programs, herd health, and genetics. Multi-county local groups or sustainable beef teams continued to thrive throughout Mississippi as “Cattlemen’s Exchange groups”. These groups interactive locally and across groups on a regular (usually monthly) basis and share research and production information. Program awareness is increasing in Mississippi and attracting new participants. Program evaluations have been very positive and continue to provide good input for future program planning.

2006
The trainer the trainer concept wrapped up by exceeding expectations in its final months of the Mississippi beef and forage focused project. Livestock/ forage specialists, area agents, and county directors from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, veterinarians, and numerous other leaders and educators in the Mississippi beef and forage industries have gained valuable information via the train the trainer program on a large selection of topics. Program efforts included educational information via face-to-face training sessions, field days, short courses, Extension and popular press articles, PowerPoint presentations, interactive video-based distance education, radio, news releases, e-mail, and the Internet: http://msucares.com/livestock/beef/. Topics addressed included cattle reproduction, end product, marketing, nutrition, forage production and utilization, NRCS programs, herd health, and genetics. Multi-county local groups or sustainable beef teams continued to thrive throughout Mississippi as “Cattlemen’s Exchange groups”, which now appear to be sustainable as long-term producer education resources. These groups interactive locally and across groups on a regular (usually monthly) basis and share research and production information. Program awareness continues to expand in Mississippi and attract new participants. Program evaluations have been very positive and continue to provide good input for future program planning. Long-term beef and forage educational efforts have a solid foundation of educational materials, methods, and trainer resources that will sustain impacts well beyond the funded life of the project.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

2004
Major educational events for area and local trainers:
May 21, 2004 – Beef short course addressing genetic improvement, marketing options, national animal identification system attended by over 150 participants
August 17-18, 2004 – Cattle short course addressing in-depth cattle nutrition topics attended by over 130 participants
August 31, 2004 – Intense cattle marketing and economics workshop attended by over 25 participants
October 21-22, 2004 – Grazing school offering environmentally responsible research-backed forage production and utilization training attended by over 40 participants
October 22-24, 2004 – Artificial insemination school offering intensive classroom and hands-on education on a variety of topics attended by over 25 participants

Trainers produced detailed educational materials for each educational event as well as educational materials on additional topics for reference purposes.

Multi-county sustainable beef teams (Cattlemen’s Exchange groups) developed across the state began meeting regularly starting in May 2004 and continue to expand. Topics addressed in group meetings included nutrition, herd health, forages, marketing, bio-security, genetics, cost of production, building alliances, retained ownership, ultrasound, culling cow marketing, cattle facilities and handling, group purchasing, and alliance marketing. Cattlemen’s Exchange efforts were endorsed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Beef Cattle Improvement Association, and the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association.

2005
Major educational events for state, area, and local trainers:

January 11-12, 2005 – Beef and dairy cattle reproduction short course addressing reproductive diseases, calving management, estrous cycle, estrus synchronization, heat detection, artificial insemination, heifer development, bull fertility and management, fall versus spring calving, and developing a controlled breeding season conducted over distance education system to eleven sites in Mississippi and three sites in Louisiana attending by over 150 participants

April 12, 2005 – Live beef carcass fabrication demonstration and discussion at the Mississippi State University meats laboratory under the Cattlemen’s Exchange program broadcast live over interactive video to 24 sites in Mississippi, three sites in Alabama, and one site in Louisiana to over 200 participants

April 22-23, 2005 – Cattlemen’s Exchange statewide beef tour of over 50 participants toured model beef cattle and forage production operations over a two-day period. Lasting interactions across local Cattlemen’s Exchange groups were formed as a result of this statewide tour.

August 8, 2005 – Stocker cattle/ heifer development short course addressing health programs for growing cattle, nutrition and management considerations for the transition from weaning to grass, forage systems for growing cattle, stocker cattle marketing options, working with feedlots, heifer breeding management, electronic ID demonstration, identifying sick cattle, hospital pen considerations, and injection site and necropsy demonstration to over 200 participants from Mississippi and Louisiana. The broadcast can be viewed on the Internet at http://msucares.com/livestock/beef/exchange.html.

November 1, 8, and 15, 2005 – Beef cattle genetics short course utilizing presenters from six states covering beef cattle genetics and measurement basics, expected progeny differences and indexes, selecting cattle for the environment, heterosis and crossbreeding systems, custom sire ranking programs, and technology in beef cattle breeding broadcast live over interactive video to 27 sites and 103 participants in Mississippi, 10 sites and 129 participants in Alabama, and three sites and 30 participants in Louisiana.

Trainers produced detailed educational materials for each educational event as well as educational materials on additional topics for reference purposes.

Multi-county sustainable beef teams (Cattlemen’s Exchange groups) continued operation across the state. These groups met regularly (monthly to bi-monthly) and grew in attendance. Cattlemen’s Exchange educational efforts continued to be endorsed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Beef Cattle Improvement Association, and the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association.

2006
Major educational events for state, area, and local trainers:

January – March, 2006 – Mississippi/Alabama Master Cattle Producer Training Program including eight three-hour sessions. Session topics were 1) Beef Quality Assurance/National Animal Identification System, 2) Reproduction, 3) End Product, 4) Marketing and Management, 5) Forages, 6) Herd Health/Handling/Facilities, 7) Nutrition, and 8) Genetics. Broadcast live over interactive video to 10 sites each in Mississippi and Alabama to over 400 participants

April 18-21, 2006 – Beef Improvement Federation 38th Annual Research Symposium and Annual meeting hosted by the MSU Extension Service broadcast over interactive video, Internet, and recorded on DVD. Live crowd of 465 participants heard presentations on cutting edge topics such as feed efficiency and genetic markers. 95 attended Mississippi beef industry tour.

May 2006 – Beef Cattle Source Verfication Short Course broadcast over interactive video to 52 sites across Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

Trainers produced detailed educational materials for each educational event as well as educational materials on additional topics for reference purposes.

Multi-county sustainable beef teams (Cattlemen’s Exchange groups) continued operation across the state. These groups attracted new interest and participation from local producers. They met regularly throughout the year (monthly to bi-monthly). One of the teams in Southwest Mississippi organized a producer tour in Wilkinson County. Alliance building for cattle marketing and group purchasing began coming to fruition through the efforts of the Cattlemen’s Exchange program.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Beef Cattle Improvement Association, and Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association continued to join together in supporting these educational efforts.

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

A more effective communication system and working relationship amongst Livestock/ forage specialists, area agents, and county directors from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, veterinarians, and numerous other leaders and educators in the Mississippi beef and forage industries was created. Educational information resources on a wide variety beef cattle and forage production topics were created in a large array of formats and media to serve as a reference library for current and future educational programs. Educational delivery and feedback systems were challenged and refined to target the most effective means of information dissemination to the beef and forage industry.

Future Recommendations

Continue to develop educational resources based on producer evaluations of educational programs. With continuing challenges on Extension resources it is increasingly important to leverage personnel time and expertise with neighboring states in regional educational efforts. The train the trainer concept is also becoming vital to sustaining effective educational programming efforts in the area of beef cattle and forage production. Utilization of efficient program delivery technologies is critical as well. Distance education videoconferencing shows great promise for program delivery well into the foreseeable future.

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.