2018 University of Wyoming PDP Project

Final report for WSP17-016

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $37,990.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: University of Wyoming
Region: Western
State: Wyoming
State Coordinator:
Dr. Caitlin Youngquist
University of Wyoming
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Project Information

Abstract:

Anticipated Topics for Wyoming’s WSARE Development Program in 2017-2019:
• Soil Health, Fertility and Sustainable Cropping Management Practices.
• Sustainable Livestock Grazing Management Strategies.
• Assessment of Climate Variability and Extreme Events on Agricultural Production in
Wyoming.
• Wildlife Habitat Management.
• Irrigation Water Management and Conservation.
• Invasive Species Management.
• Economic Sustainability and Agricultural Enterprise Management Strategies.
• Native Plants, Specialty Crops, and Pollinators.
• Travel Scholarships to Enhance Technical Knowledge and Teaching Capacity of Agricultural
Professionals and Producers on topics including: sustainable livestock grazing; invasive
species; regulatory policies; rangeland assessment and monitoring; working with “new”
audiences; and others.

Context, Justification and Assumptions for Wyoming’s WSARE Development Program in
2017-2019:
In 2016, UW Extension continued our statewide effort to identify emerging educational needs
and contemporary issues for our stakeholders in Wyoming. This process engaged diverse focus
groups of stakeholders associated with our Agriculture and Horticulture and Rangeland initiative teams. These focus group sessions were conducted at several locations throughout Wyoming.
   Our analyses of the outputs from this process clearly indicate that irrigation water; invasive
species; soil nutrient and fertility management; continued access to grazing on federal lands;
regulatory constraints on agricultural production; public scrutiny of agriculture; farm and ranch
succession; and the influence of “new” landowners were important issues to individuals involved with agricultural and natural resources in Wyoming. The anticipated topics and educational activities in the following proposal reflect these explicitly identified needs.
Wyoming is a small population state and relative to other states has a small agriculture sector
dominated by livestock production. The majority of farming is concentrated along river corridors and is irrigated. Much of the farming is for hay production for on-farm animal feed. The agriculture sector clientele has generally been in business for many years, surviving droughts and periodic low prices and would argue that their operations are “sustainable”. The professionals that serve Wyoming agriculturalists come from a variety of backgrounds and regions to serve UW Extension, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and Conservation Districts (CD’S) predominantly. As indicated in the results of the 2004 regional SARE PDP survey, those WES professionals surveyed in Wyoming had a higher interest in the areas of livestock, grazing management and marketing. Their knowledge and utilization of sustainable agriculture programming provided in the state was limited probably because the programming was not specifically advertised as “sustainable ag” or did not fit their  preconceived notions. The survey did not address other agricultural professionals such as NRCS and CD’S.
   In Wyoming, agriculture professionals and agricultural enterprises are particularly influenced by public land, and environmental policies. Management policies to address issues such as
threatened or endangered species, federal grazing, energy development, water quality, air quality, predator control, and wildlife/livestock disease interactions have a profound impact on the economic viability of Wyoming ranches. Geographic isolation and the generally low level of
resource productivity provide lower limits than many other locales to the opportunities for the
agricultural sector to adopt practices that could enhance the stability of existing family
operations. The demographics of the agricultural sector and changing land ownership patterns
further complicate identifying clients and their needs. Horticulture and small acreage landowners have increased interest in servicing these interests. Wyoming ES and SARE-PDP needs better targeting of educational topics and methods to reach professional educators, NRCS and CD advisors, and subsequently the producers.
   In past years, Wyoming’s WSARE Development Program had a decided and well-justified focus on travel scholarships to agricultural professionals to participate in professional development opportunities. This approach continues to produce meaningful educational impacts for the professionals and positive impacts to their associated clientele. However, our needs assessment discussed previously and feedback from our advisory committee indicate continued opportunities to expand our programmatic approach. In this project year, we will continue our successful soil health/fertility workshops, and video-based peer learning experiences. We will also implement regional workshops to provide experiential learning opportunities for Wyoming agricultural professionals in the coming year. These multi-day educational events will increase the technical knowledge and capacity of Wyoming agricultural professionals in topics such as wildlife habitat management, sustainable livestock grazing, irrigation water management, and invasive species management. These educational outputs will be in addition to our continued efforts to provide a limited number of travel scholarships associated with professional development opportunities for Wyoming agricultural professionals.

Project Objectives:

Target Audiences for Anticipated Educational Activities:
a. Soil Health, Fertility and Sustainable Management Practices.
• Agricultural professionals and producers (80-100 participants estimated).
b. WESTI Ag. Days—Worland, WY
• Agricultural professionals, producers, municipalities, irrigation districts, rural
residents, planners, public officials, and general public (200 participants
estimated).
c. Farm and Ranch Days—Riverton, WY
• Agricultural professionals, producers, municipalities, irrigation districts, rural
residents, planners, public officials, and general public (600 participants
estimated).
d. Eastern Wyoming Farm Days—Torrington, WY
• Agricultural professionals, producers, municipalities, irrigation districts, rural
residents, planners, public officials, and general public (50 participants
estimated).
e. Southwest Wyoming Agricultural Education Days—Evanston, WY
• Agricultural professionals, producers, municipalities, irrigation districts, rural
residents, planners, public officials, and general public (100 participants
estimated).
f. Travel Scholarships
• Agricultural professionals (3 estimated).

Advisors

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  • Dr. Kelly Crane (Researcher)

Education

Educational approach:

Our state programming strategy for SARE fosters the development and delivery of regional educational events with the explicit objective of engagement with agricultural professionals in Wyoming.  These event promote awareness, enhanced teaching capacity, and peer-to-peer learning experiences on topics related to agriculture sustainability.

In 2018/2019 SARE funding provided critical support for Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days, WESTI Ag Days, the Southeast Wyoming Beef Convention, and WY/UT Ag Days.  These multi-day educational events provided over 800 agricultural professionals with learning experiences focused on sustainable agriculture.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Sustainable agriculture practices
Objective:

Include more topics related to sustainable agriculture in established annual UW Extension programs.

Description:

SARE funds were used to support travel and speaker fees for specialists, producers, and UW Extension educators at 4 regional programs.

Outcomes and impacts:

Attendees at these events learned more about sustainable agriculture practices.

Soil management for horticulture professionals
Objective:

Increase knowledge about soil management and provide teaching tools for UW Extension Horticulture educators

Description:

WSARE funds were used to purchase eight soil and compost teaching kits for UW Extension Educators. These kits included books and manuals, soil test kits, a compost thermometer and pH/EC meters. Training will be provided for all educators that receive these kits.

Outcomes and impacts:

UW Extension educators increased their knowledge and are better equipped to teach classes and answer questions in the field.

Livestock management
Objective:

Incentive for rancher participation in educational events.

Description:

WSARE funding supported and distribution of 250 “branded” NCBA-IRM pocket calendars. The demand for these “red books” is well established among livestock producers in Wyoming and they provided an outstanding incentive for rancher participation in our educational events.

Outcomes and impacts:

These "red-books" are used for record keeping by ranchers and are branded with the WSARE logo. They provide an opportunity for discussion with producers about the WSARE program and resources, and are used by producers to improve record keeping.

Educational & Outreach Activities

4 Workshop field days
1 Other educational activities: Teaching a resource kits

Participation Summary:

30 Extension
30 NRCS
10 Researchers
15 Nonprofit
25 Agency
15 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
700 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

800 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
125 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

12 New working collaborations
25 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
400 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

WESTI Ag Days in Worland, WY:

Twenty four students from the local high schools presented their ag science projects to an audience that included producers and ag professionals. The FFA Agriculture Marketing Team shared their project of raising crickets for human consumption and provided samples.

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

There were minimal outreach efforts this year.

12 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
16 Ag professionals received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
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.