Modernizing Our Roots: Sustainable range and pasture result demonstrations to encourage local education and adoption

Progress report for SPDP23-017

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $78,924.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2025
Grant Recipients: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Department of Rangeland, Wildlife, and Fisheries Management; Prairie View A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Megan Clayton
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Department of Rangeland, Wildlife, and Fisheries Management
Dr. Jason Cleere
Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Servi
Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Dr. Jacob Dykes
Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Texa
J. Boone Holladay
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Fort Bend County
Truman Lamb
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Anderson County
Dr. M. Shane McLellan
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, McLennan County
Rogelio Mercado
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Jim Wells County
Ashley Pellerin
Prairie View A&M University
Larry Pierce, Jr.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Robert Pritz
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Dr. Jeff Ripley
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Roy Walston
Walston Ranch, Mill Creek Beef
Sam Womble
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Bexar County
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Project Information


This project trains multi-agency County Resource Professionals (CRPs) in every district of Texas on the development and application of modern, sustainable range and pasture result demonstrations for increased effective clientele education and practice adoption of sustainable agriculture. These CRPs, our train-the-trainer audience, include Texas A&M AgriLife Extension County Agents (1862 land grant), Prairie View A&M Agents (1890 land grant), and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) County personnel. Key project partners (18) include A) four diverse, successful Mentor Farmers, B) Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (specialists, county agents, regional program leaders), C) Prairie View A&M (specialist, county agents), and D) USDA – NRCS (state resource conservationist, county personnel).

Throughout Year 1, Key Project Partners will work together to establish, film, and evaluate 20 pre-training result demonstration sites throughout the state. Some demonstration locations will serve as sites for a two-day, in-person training in Year 2 where CRPs (32) will learn from mentor farmers who have successfully conducted these practices. Modern videos will be developed from all pre-training result demonstrations for use during the in-person training, as well as a virtual training open to all multi-agency CRPs across the state to be conducted in Year 2, after mentor farmers evaluate the videos. Post-retrospective evaluations of the in-person and virtual trainings anticipate an increase in CRPs’ knowledge and confidence in creating, implementing, evaluating, and interpreting demonstration sites. Videos will be available on agency websites and a publication on Best Practices for Sustainable Result Demonstrations will be developed and published by all key project partners.

Project Objectives:

This project will train multi-agency County Resource Professionals (CRPs; County Extension Agents from 1862 and 1890 land grant universities and NRCS county personnel) on completing local, sustainable result demonstrations. Result demonstrations have a long history of showing practices locally for increased adoption by other farmers/ranchers. A new influx of CRPs in the workforce, combined with a decreasing percentage of county agents using result demonstrations are incentives for these objectives.


Goal 1: To demonstrate best practices on planning, establishing, evaluating, and interpreting modern, sustainable demonstration sites, 20 pre-training, sustainable result demonstrations will be conducted by Key Project Partners.

Objective A: Establish a variety of pre-training, sustainable result demonstrations (examples in Section 5. Approaches and Methods) that can be completed in approximately 1 year to be relatable to diverse operations and farmer/rancher interests. We intend to cover at least 15 different practices.

Objective B: Create videos (20) outlining each pre-training result demonstration from start to finish for increased visibility and adoption. These videos will be used during the in-person and virtual trainings (Goal 2) to provide modern translation examples and assist CRPs with ideas for their projects. We anticipate at least 300 views per video (6,000 total views) by the end of the project.


Goal 2: Train multi-agency CRPs from every district of Texas on the use and application of modern, sustainable range and pasture result demonstrations for increased knowledge and adoption by farmers/ranchers of sustainable agriculture practices. This will be accomplished through an in-person (32 CRPs) and virtual (unlimited CRPs) training event.  

            Objective A: Increase the social, economic, and environmental knowledge of CRPs about sustainable agriculture practices. Mentor Farmers will be critical to achieve this objective. We anticipate an average increase in knowledge of 35%.

            Objective B: Promote opportunities to work across agencies, using result demonstrations to highlight potential cost assistance programs through federal and state programs and those for limited-resource farmers and ranchers. We anticipate a 50% increase in CRPs’ intention to partner with other agencies on result demonstrations.

            Objective C: Prepare CRPs to confidently plan, implement, evaluate, and translate sustainable result demonstrations for increased farmer/rancher adoption, with an understanding of how demonstrations fit into agency missions. We anticipate a 30% increase in confidence, 25% increase in intended implementation, and a 30% increase in ability to translate the results to farmers/ranchers.

            Objective D: Improve CRPs’ attitudes about the importance of emphasizing sustainability in result demonstrations by providing information on sustainability practices and defining terminology. We anticipate CRPs’ level of sustainability importance for their projects to increase by 2 points (on a 1-10 scale).


Goal 3: To create long-lived products to better train CRPs on the process of sustainable result demonstrations and modern translation. In addition to the 20 videos created in Goal 1-B, products produced during this project will ensure every new CRP in the future can receive detailed information on creating sustainable result demonstrations.

Objective A: Create a comprehensive Sustainable Result Demonstrations training video for new CRPs to include recordings from both the in-person and virtual trainings. Adoption of this training video by agency administration will be our goal.

Objective B: Create a Best Practices for Result Demonstration publication. This publication is a companion document with the training video to educate CRPs on the process of planning, establishing, evaluating, and translating a sustainable result demonstration. Distribution to agency employees and posting on agency websites for reference will be our goal.


Goal 4: Encourage trainees’ application of new information by providing New Result Demonstration Funds ($300) to county agent CRPs (20) who attend the in-person training to start a sustainable result demonstration project. These CRPs will serve as examples within their Districts. USDA-NRCS personnel (12) are not required to do result demonstrations but are encouraged to partner with an agent.

Objective A: CRPs accepting funds will be asked to develop a post-training result demonstration video chronicling their county project. We anticipate having at least 10 additional post-training result demonstration videos from county agents by the end of this project.

Objective B: CRPs accepting funds will be asked to hold a local field day to showcase their post-training result demonstration project. We anticipate 10 field days being held by the end of this project.

Objective C: CRPs accepting funds will be asked to evaluate clientele (farmers/ranchers) who attend their field day or view their post-training result demonstration video to determine the increase in knowledge and intent to adopt the practice. We anticipate a 40% increase in knowledge and a 30% intention to adopt the demonstrated practice by these farmers/ranchers.


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Rob Bass - Producer (Educator)
  • Andrew Edelen - Producer (Educator)
  • Charles Kneuper (Educator)
  • Mailyn Magaro - Producer (Educator)
  • Roy Walston


Educational approach:

Result demonstrations are an example project used to demonstrate a known outcome of a practice, as opposed to applied research where the results are largely unknown, or not yet proven. Result demonstrations are the foundation of Extension education, where farmers/ranchers see practice in action on another farmer’s land, before determining if it may be appropriate for their farm. Local, sustainable result demonstrations have the potential to increase farmer/rancher understanding of sustainable practices and increase the likelihood of adoption. County Resource Professionals (CRPs) from three Key Project Partner agencies have a large percentage of new (< 5 years employed) county workforce. Additionally, despite agent requirements to conduct demonstrations, they have been struggling to meet this target. Though Extension administration has a renewed focus on promoting result demonstrations, new CRPs lack examples and strategies for success.

This project will address that need by allowing CRPs to learn from successful and sustainable Mentor Farmers and see examples of modern, pre-training, sustainable result demonstrations completed. This will be accomplished with five tools.

1. Pre-Training Result Demonstrations (Goal 1-A,B): In Year 1, Key Project Partners will oversee the planning, establishment, evaluation, and interpretation of 20 sustainable result demonstrations. Each pre-training demonstration site will be videoed from start-to-finish and edited into a professional, modern interpretation video. Mentor Farmers will review and provide feedback. These videos will be used as examples during the in-person training (#2 below), the virtual training (#3 below), and reside on agency websites for future reference (#5 below). Potential projects for pre-training, sustainable result demonstrations include:


  • Economic comparison and strategy for using stockpiled forage (grazed) instead of last cutting for hay
  • Impacts of continuous versus rotational grazing
  • Comparison of management strategies post-weaning

Beef Cattle

  • Grazing for soil moisture retention – a comparison of Spring soil moisture in plots sustainably grazed with cattle vs. plots grazed more intensely the prior growing season
  • Soil sampling comparison after implementing long-term (20-year) high-frequency rotational cattle grazing
  • Stocking rate influence on weed encroachment and forage response – forage grass removal at varying levels/stocking rates
  • Use of temporary fencing to implement rotational grazing

Small Ruminants

  • Parasite monitoring (FAMACHA Scoring) and treatment in sheep/goats
  • Impact of maintaining forage height for parasite reduction
  • Livestock predator protection; a comparison of dogs, llamas, donkeys, and trapping
  • Best practices for grazing sheep behind cattle

Healthy Soils & Vegetation

  • Short-term soil sampling differences in rotational chicken house use
  • Comparison of soil fertilizer alternatives and resulting forage growth
  • Comparison of forage grass establishment – 3 introduced forage grasses, 1 native grass mix
  • Exclusive native grass plantings vs. native grasses + forbs and resulting species composition, forage biomass, and forage nutrition
  • Native seeding – Selecting a native plant mix, ordering based on pure live seed, calibrating a seed drill, selecting seeding method
  • Soil moisture and microbes comparison of fields deep soil ripped several years ago vs. non ripped
  • Comparison of mechanical renovation tools to increase soil moisture and grass production
  • Advantages of planting cool season legumes in a perennial warm season grass
  • Follow-up treatments after broadcast control methods for resprouting brush management in pastures

Wildlife Integration

  • Selective tree reshaping using half cutting methods to improve wildlife habitat types
  • Using game cameras to monitor wildlife use of agricultural areas
  • Fencing to reduce wild pig damage and disease – cost analysis versus other control measures
  • Mitigating wild pig damage in hay meadows and pastures – techniques for leveling and restoring soils


2. In-Person Training (Goal 2-A,B,C,D): In Year 2, an in-person training (2 days/2 nights) will be held in Palestine, Texas. Thirty-two CRPs will be selected for the in-person training based on their potential to serve as result demonstration mentors in their district, with preference given to those with less than 5 years of employment and those who serve a greater majority of underserved producers in their county. CRPs will include 12 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agents, 8 Prairie View A&M agents, and 12 USDA-NRCS county personnel. The agenda will include:

    1. Farm visits to see pre-training result demonstrations in place and learn about the practice from the Mentor Farmers.
    2. Viewing of videos for example pre-training result demonstrations that are not nearby.
    3. Small Group Discussions to highlight what makes a successful, sustainable result demonstration: planning, establishing, evaluating, and interpreting.

*Participants will be given a post-retrospective survey at the conclusion of the training to determine knowledge and behavioral changes and again six months later to determine how they have used the information.

If COVID-19 restrictions prevent travel for an in-person training, we will be prepared to offer an additional, more in-depth virtual training.


3. Virtual Training (Goal 2-A,B,C,D): Approximately one month after the in-person training, a virtual result demonstration training will be held, open to all multi-agency CRPs. This training will be structured similarly to the in-person training, except videos of pre-training result demonstrations and the in-person training will be relied upon in lieu of site visits.

*Participants will be given a post-retrospective survey at the conclusion of the training and again six months later to determine how they have used the information.


4.Post-Training CRP Result Demonstrations (Goal 4-A,B,C): At the conclusion of the in-person training, county agents (20; AgriLife Extension & Prairie View) will be offered $300/each to establish a new, post-training result demonstration in their county. USDA-NRCS personnel are not required to conduct demonstrations but will be encouraged to partner with an agent. Agents will be asked to create post-training result demonstrations with a sustainability focus, create a video of the project, host a field day for farmers/ranchers, and evaluate those clientele who attend or watch their result demonstration video.


5.Long-Term Products (Goal 3-A,B): In addition to the modern, result demonstration interpretation example videos (20), this project will create a Sustainable Result Demonstration Training video (from the in-person and virtual training) to be used in future agency new employee onboarding and a Best Practices for Result Demonstrations publication (electronic), ensuring the efforts of this project reach the intended audience for many years. Key Project Partners will work with agency administration to incorporate during onboarding and on agency websites.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Training for County Resource Professionals in Palestine, Texas

The objective of this training will be to educate County Resource Professionals on ways to standardize result demonstrations, including video documentation through both an in-person and virtual training opportunity.


The in-person training training, which will be held from October 21 to 22, 2024, in Palestine, TX, will emphasize small ruminants. The virtual training will follow on November 5, 2024. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Prairie View A&M Extension, and USDA-NRCS have started identifying participants who have less than five years in their positions and are located in areas where they have the opportunity to serve historically underserved clientele.

Educational & Outreach Activities

2 Consultations
11 On-farm demonstrations
1 Other educational activities: Collaborators (professionals and mentor farmers) met at three locations around the in-person training site location for this fall to record new result demonstrations and discuss potential opportunities at upcoming trainings.

Participation Summary:

8 Extension
2 Farmers/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.