State Training in Integrated Erosion Control Systems

Final Report for ES97-020

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1997: $70,013.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $51,710.00
Region: Southern
State: Oklahoma
Principal Investigator:
Gerrit Cuperus
Oklahoma State University
Expand All

Project Information

Abstract:

Project was designed in two phases. The first phase concentrated on training of agency personnel, educators, and others. Since soil erosion control issues differ considerably from eastern Oklahoma to western Oklahoma, this training was divided into two thrusts. The thrust in the western portion of the state focused on wind and water related erosion. The training in the eastern portion of the state focused on water erosion.

The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service conducted two training programs on Erosion Management and Riparian Protection during the reporting period. Planning committees consisting of representatives from several agencies, university personnel, NGOs, and farmers were formed to develop the agendas. The extension leader of the Plant and Soil Science Department served as one committee leader and a member of the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture served as the other committee. The training encompassed the basic science and technology of wind and water erosion. The value and use of water control structures, vegetative plantings, crop residue management of riparian areas were also discussed. The training for the western part of the state occurred on September 22 23, 1998 at Weatherford, Oklahoma. The eastern session was held on October 1, 1998 at the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

The training targeted county Extension Educators, NRCS and FSA agency personnel, land managers/environmental educators with American Indian Tribes, State agency personnel, nonprofit organizations, and others involved in conservation and environmental work. The training included individual presentations, panel discussions and work sessions. Demonstrations and a field trip helped to reinforce the classroom activities. A 3 ring binder was provided to each attendee as an office reference guide. Copies of presentations, handout material, published articles, fact sheets, etc., and other related written material were placed in the binder.

There were 66 individuals (not including the presenters) in attendance for the two days of training conducted on September 22 23, 1998. An evaluation of the training was conducted. Attendee’s were asked to rate various parts of the training and to estimate the value of the information in their job. Most felt that the training was worthwhile and would be valuable to them in their day to day operations

Thirty three individuals, in addition to the trainers, attended the workshop/tour conducted on October 1, 1998. An evaluation was conducted at the end of the training. Some key points learned included BMP’s uses of trees and forestation in erosion control, and value and potential application of riparian areas.

As an outgrowth of the western training, several different conservation tillage meetings and tours have been organized and conducted by County Extension Educators (see below). NRCS personnel attending also assisted with some of the post training meetings and tours.

A series of conservation tillage crop clinics were held in March, 1999 at Woods, Kay, and Noble counties. The Kay Co. meeting included a planting and tillage equipment display, and the Noble Co. meeting also had a planting demonstration where farmers could evaluate planting of various brands of equipment. The clinics covered various aspects of no till crop production and the value of crop residues in reducing wind and water erosion. Presentations were made by state specialists, extension educators, and agriculture industry representatives. Approximately 180 producers were in attendance at the three meetings. In April, 2000 a similar clinic was attended by 75 producers from Grant Co.

In November, 1999, 102 people attended a soil quality conference that was held in conjunction with SWCS. The objective of this event was to provide the attendee’s with a better understanding of how to measure and manage soil for soil quality. The speakers explained soil quality and identified ways of improving it. They talked about soil quality indicators and ways to quantitatively measure soil quality. Much of the conference was used to discuss how land use, cropping systems and erosion affect soil quality. A soil quality test kit and card were demonstrated.

In August, 2000 a moisture management/conservation day was held at Mangum, OK and was organized by the extension educators in Greer and Beckman Counties. The event was attended by 75 people, including the trainers. This event covered discussions on crop residue, riparian management, soil erosion and compaction. In addition, a rainfall simulator was used to illustrate the value of residue for erosion control and water runoff. Based on telephone inquiries and onsite comments, it was determined that the day was very worthwhile and educational.

Extension Educators in the eastern portion of the state incorporated much of the October 1, 1998 training information into meetings and tours designed to provide continuing education units for poultry producers. By law Oklahoma poultry producers must acquire three hours of CEUs in poultry waste management education every year. The soil erosion and riparian area management portions of the sustainable agriculture professional training could be directly applied to meetings for poultry and poultry/beef producers almost all of whom reside in eastern Oklahoma. Six separate meetings/tours were conducted in LeFlore, McCurtain, Delaware, and Cherokee Counties and with the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations. These programs were conducted from July of 1999 to June of 2000.

The development of an erosion management video began in the Spring of 2000. A decision was made to do a video on conservation tillage, not a “how to” but a video that highlighted producers who were actively practicing conservation tillage in different parts of the state. In addition, a fact sheet was developed on each of the producers’ programs. The producers worked with specialists and video crews so that their story was told. Some 600 copies of the finished videotape and 3,000 copies of the fact sheets were produced. These are being disseminated through the county extension and natural resource conservation service offices. Southern Region Agriculture and Natural Resources Leaders will be offered the opportunity to get a video and set of fact sheets. They will be used as educational tools to inform producers about conservation tillage, either by loaning or giving producers a copy to study. They will also be used as the “backbone” for future conservation tillage meetings. By highlighting local farmers in different areas of the state, producing crops using conservation tillage should accelerate the adoption of conservation tillage practices by other farmers.

Project Objectives:

1. Improve producer involvement in Sustainable Agriculture Training in Oklahoma consistent with the State Strategic Plan.

2. Improve curriculum development related to erosion control in Oklahoma to strengthen the State Strategic Plan.

3. Effectively train 120 professionals in Oklahoma in erosion control.

4. Development of new integrated curriculum that could be used effectively in other training events with emphasis on distance learning methods.

5. Build institutional support from a wide field of agencies and organizations for Sustainable Agriculture Training in Oklahoma.

Introduction:

In 1996, the State Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, coordinated jointly by Langston University and Oklahoma State University (OSU), determined that a high priority for professional training in the state was erosion control and that it was consistent with the specific goals as set forth in the Strategic Plan. To be successful such training had to be interdisciplinary in nature, provide for integrated management approaches; be part of sustainable management systems; and consider long term economic and environmental impacts.

In addition to being consistent with the Strategic Plan, the Working Group considered the following situation in identifying erosion control as a high priority need for training. About two million acres of Oklahoma cropland are at risk of harm from erosion (NRCS, 1996). Estimated annual average wind erosion on cultivated cropland is 4.4 tons per acre per year in Oklahoma (SCS, 1989). On the farm, erosion damage can directly reduce land productivity, crop yield, increase labor and capital requirements, and increase the need for fertilizer and other inputs. Wind erosion can result in significant off site costs to households in the form of increased need for interior cleaning and laundry and negative impacts to landscaping, recreation, automobiles, exterior paint, and health (Huszar, 1989). Wind erosion may have indirect on site costs such as damage to farm machinery and buildings, increased worker injuries and damage to water systems (Davis, 1989). In addition, there are over 33,000 miles of streambank in Oklahoma that are without trees and shrubs, further contributing to the risks of non point source pollution (Anderson, 1995). It is not surprising then that the EPA 319 State Non point Source Pollution Assessment Report identifies sediment as the agricultural pollutant of greatest concern.

The proposed training was also consistent with identified priorities by numerous County Extension Program Advisory Committees. In addition, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Area Office in Anadarko, Oklahoma identified erosion control and riparian management as high priority training needs for their forestry, soil conservation, natural resource officers and environmental educators.

A Steering Committee for these projects convened for a second time (February 26, 1998) to begin planning for sustainable agriculture erosion management workshops. It developed the overall strategy for the workshops, general topics and discussed location and speakers. At this point two working groups were established to form the committees to complete planning and conduct the workshops.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

Some 600 copies of the finished videotape and 3,000 copies of the fact sheets were produced. These are being disseminated through the county extension and natural resource conservation service offices. Southern Region Agriculture and Natural Resources Leaders will be offered the opportunity to get a video and set of fact sheets. They will be used as educational tools to inform producers about conservation tillage, either by loaning or giving producers a copy to study. They will also be used as the “backbone” for future conservation tillage meetings. By highlighting local farmers in different areas of the state, producing crops using conservation tillage should accelerate the adoption of conservation tillage practices by other farmers

As an outgrowth of the training in the western part of Oklahoma, several different conservation tillage meetings and tours have been organized and conducted by County Extension Educators. NRCS personnel attending also assisted with some of the post training meetings and tours. Some examples are described below.

A series of conservation tillage crop clinics were held in March 1999 at Woods, Kay, and Noble counties. The Kay Co. meeting included a planting and tillage equipment display, and the Noble Co. meeting also had a planting demonstration where farmers could evaluate planting of various brands of equipment. The clinics covered various aspects of no till crop production and the value of crop residues in reducing wind and water erosion. Presentations were made by state specialists, extension educators, and agriculture industry representatives. Approximately 180 producers were in attendance at the three meetings. In April 2000, a similar clinic was attended by 75 producers from Grant Co. An example of the program is included in the report.

In November 1999, 102 people attended a soil quality conference that was held in conjunction with SWCS. The objective of this event was to provide the attendees with a better understanding of how to measure and manage soil for soil quality. The speakers explained soil quality and identified ways of improving it. They talked about soil quality indicators and ways to quantitatively measure soil quality. Much of the conference was used to discuss how land use, cropping systems and erosion affect soil quality. A soil quality test kit and card were demonstrated.

In August 2000, a moisture management/ conservation day was held at Mangum, OK and was organized by the extension educators in Greer and Beckman Counties. The event was attended by 75 people, including the trainers. This event covered discussions on crop residue, riparian management, soil erosion and compaction. In addition, a rainfall simulator was used to illustrate the value of residue for erosion control and water runoff. Based on telephone inquiries and onsite comments, it was determined that the day was very worthwhile and educational. A copy of the program is included.

Extension Educators in the eastern portion of the state incorporated much of the October 1, 1998 training information into meetings and tours designed to provide continuing education units for poultry producers. By law Oklahoma poultry producers must acquire three hours of CEUs in poultry waste management education every year. The soil erosion and riparian area management portions of the sustainable agriculture professional training could be directly applied to meetings for poultry and poultry/beef producers almost all of whom reside in eastern Oklahoma. Six separate meetings/tours were conducted in LeFlore, McCurtain, Delaware, and Cherokee Counties and with the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations. These programs were conducted from July of 1999 to June of 2000. About 500 of the 1,200 plus poultry producers received CEUs from these educational programs. In addition, 65 other individuals, not part of the mandatory poultry education, were also present.

Outcomes and impacts:
Outcomes and Accomplishments

Project was designed in two phases. The first phase concentrated on training of agency personnel, educators, and others. This phase directly addressed objectives 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the project. Since soil erosion control issues differ considerably from eastern Oklahoma to western Oklahoma, this training was divided into two thrusts. The thrust in the western portion of the state focused on wind and water related erosion with only a limited discussion of other forms of erosion. The training in the eastern portion of the state focused on water erosion.

The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service conducted two training programs on Erosion Management and Riparian Protection during the reporting period. Planning committees consisting of representatives from several agencies, university personnel, NGOs, and farmers were formed to develop the agendas. The extension leader of the Plant and Soil Science Department served as one committee leader and a member of the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture served as the other committee. The training encompassed the basic science and technology of wind and water erosion. The value and use of water control structures, vegetative plantings, crop residue management of riparian areas were also discussed. The training for the western part of the state occurred on September 22 23, 1998 at Weatherford, Oklahoma. The eastern session was held on October 1, 1998 at the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The agendas for each were provided in an annual update.

The training was targeted for county Extension Educators, NRCS and FSA agency personnel, land managers/environmental educators with American Indian Tribes, State agency personnel, non profit organizations, and others involved in conservation and environmental work. A list of the attendees for each training session is attached. The training included individual presentations, panel discussions and work sessions. Demonstrations and a field trip helped to reinforce the classroom activities. Several producers were visited during the field part of the October 1st training in Eastern Oklahoma (objective 1). A 3 ring binder was provided to each attendee as an office reference guide. Copies of presentations, handout material, published articles, fact sheets, etc., and other related written material were placed in the binder (objective 2). Additional materials were later developed by Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service’s water quality (riparian management) and EQIP programs (objectives 2 and 5).

There were 66 individuals (not including the presenters) in attendance for the two days of training conducted on September 22 23, 1998. An evaluation of the training was conducted. Attendees were asked to rate various parts of the training and to estimate the value of the information in their job. Most felt that the training was worthwhile and would be valuable to them in their day to day operations. A summary of the responses and additional comments were included with an annual update report.

Thirty three individuals, in addition to the trainers, attended the workshop/tour conducted on October 1, 1998. An evaluation was conducted at the end of the training. Some key points learned included BMP’s uses of trees and forestation in erosion control, and value and potential application of riparian areas. A summery of the responses and additional comments were included with an annual update report.

The second phase included the development of an erosion management video and began in the Spring of 2000. This phase addresses objectives 1, 2, 4, and 5. A decision was made to do a video on conservation tillage, not a “how to” but a video that highlighted five separate producers who are actively practicing conservation tillage in different parts of the state. In addition, a fact sheet was developed on each of the producers’ programs. The development of the video provided considerable opportunity for producers to become involved in sustainable agriculture training (objective 1). The producers worked with specialists and video crews so that their story was told. Having producers tell their stories in a directed situation brings together the best of conservation tillage education and practical application that is believable and pertinent to other producers (objective 2). The separate segments of the videotape were designed to be used as part of curriculum developed by Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in conjunction with the EQIP and water quality programs (objectives 2, 4, and 5). A copy of the video and the fact sheets are included in the report.

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.