Colorado 2018-20 PDP project

Progress report for WSP18-005

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $28,636.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2021
Host Institution Award ID: G172-19-W7506
Grant Recipient: Colorado State University Extension
Region: Western
State: Colorado
State Coordinators:
Dr. Ioannis Minas
Colorado State University
Co-Coordinators:
Adrian Card
Colorado State University
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Project Information

Abstract:

Colorado PDP goals during the next year (2019) are to: 1) assess the knowledge level and educational needs of professionals associated with sustainable agriculture, 2) provide sustainable agriculture in-depth training for agricultural educators and producers across the state through mini-grants and training, 3) provide support promoting and potentially hosting educational workshops, 4) and facilitate proposal development in response to grant opportunities. Specific topics that will be covered include, but are not limited to, food and cropping system diversification, energy efficiency, farmer networks, and range and livestock integrated resource management.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1) Enhancement of the knowledge-base and skills of Colorado agricultural professionals interested in sustainable agricultural practices: In 2019, provide a competitive-mini grants program in sustainable agriculture. We expect to support six competitive mini-grants to conduct demonstrations projects, workshops, and/or farm tours. Provide five travel scholarships to regional and national conferences/workshops related to sustainable agriculture.

Objective 2) Increase clientele’s understanding of sustainable agriculture practices through educational methods: A comprehensive review of the knowledge gaps existing among the Colorado’s sustainable community will help design approaches to develop and deliver information related to alternative management practices. This will be accomplished through workshops, training, and interaction with professionals and producers by, a sustainable conference focusing on the effects climate variability on range, livestock and crop production.

  • Meat Summit work to advance market opportunities, build connections, and support collective skills development and learning across many segments and scales of Colorado and the Western U.S.’s agricultural and food system. Western U.S. Meat Summit: 1.5 day event in December 2020.
  • Programs developed to present sustainable management principles & long-term ranch management to both local and state government, NGOs, agency personnel, and ranchers.

Objective 3) Promote awareness of WSARE grant opportunities: To increase the level of involvement of agricultural professional across Colorado we will distribute materials and promote activities related to sustainable agriculture through the CO-WSARE web page which will require extensive updating. The Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference and educational conferences by providing information about SARE.

 

Advisors

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Adrian Card (Educator)
  • Kara Harders - Technical Advisor (Educator)
  • Kara Harders - Technical Advisor (Educator)
  • Dr. Rebecca Jablonski (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Rebecca Jablonski (Educator and Researcher)
  • Brian Kailey (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

 *Enhancement of the knowledge-base and skills of Colorado agricultural professionals interested in sustainable agricultural practices: In 2019, provide a competitive-mini grants program in sustainable agriculture. We expect to support six competitive mini-grants to conduct demonstrations projects, workshops, and/or farm tours. Provide up to five travel scholarships to regional and national conferences/workshops related to sustainable agriculture.

 *Increase clientele’s understanding of sustainable agriculture practices through educational methods: A comprehensive review of the knowledge gaps existing among the Colorado’s sustainable community will help design approaches to develop and deliver information related to alternative management practices. This will be accomplished through workshops, training, and interaction with professionals and producers by, a sustainable conference focusing on the effects climate variability on range, livestock and crop production.

 *Promote awareness of WSARE grant opportunities: To increase the level of involvement of agricultural professional across Colorado we will distribute materials and promote activities related to sustainable agriculture through the CO-WSARE web page which will require extensive updating.

Inputs. Financially, funding will support: 1) mini-grant program, 2) travel for extension educators to attend conferences and training 3) Program coordinator’s travel to WSARE PDP meetings, and 4) provide support promoting and potentially hosting educational workshops. Additional funding will come from state and federal grants, partnering states and local The state PDP coordinators, Extension, stakeholders, and agency staff will provide human resources to participate in meetings, grants, and workshops. Facilities and equipment for events will be provided by county extension offices when possible.

Target audience. Extension agents and faculty (30), PDP coordinators (2), other professionals (8), as well as producers, stakeholders and NGOs.

Activities and methods. Participants will submit proposals for projects that provide education about and/or demonstrate sustainable agricultural practices. An Agriculture Conference is proposed to examine changes, explore approaches and methods of sustainable agriculture, the environment and food systems production, water and climate change. An evaluation will be conducted to assess audience’s knowledge gained.

Products. Attendees for the agents training will improve understanding of SARE principles. Agent and participant information, knowledge gained, partnerships, and behavioral change will be evaluated and shared with the SARE reporting system.

 

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Colorado Meat School
Objective:

Starting in October 2019, CSU Extension will offer its first ever Meat School, designed to expose producers to the skills and resources required to access new markets for improved profitability, including understanding and building relationships in the meat supply chain. We will offer facilitated sessions of the Meat School in several areas: Routt County, San Luis Valley and La Plata County, and hope that this pilot course can then be adapted to other regions of the state.
List partners and/or collaborators:
National Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN), Colorado Association of Meat Processors (CAMP), Oregon State University Extension, CSU Dept. of Animal Sciences, Fort Lewis College, San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, CSU Dept. of Ag and Resource Economics, CSU Extension.

Description:

Our target audience is new and beginning livestock producers, or experienced livestock producers, both of whom are interested in accessing and developing the supply chain for specialty and differentiated livestock products sold primarily through direct to consumer markets. In the first year we expect to work with 25 participants over the course of 6 weeks.

We have multiple channels for promoting this class series: 1) our website foodsystems.edu; 2) our Food Systems newsletter; 3) through our community and state partners such as San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, Community Ag Alliance, Colorado Farmers Market Association, Colorado Department of Agriculture, CAMP, NMPAN; 4) social media such as partner Facebook pages; 5) direct communication with livestock producers on CSU Extension email lists.

We are developing a 6-week class that, during its pilot period, will be held in 3 different locations: Routt County; San Luis Valley (near Alamosa); and La Plata County. The class covers the following six modules to provide producers with production, processing and marketing information designed to build the skills and connections they need to be successful in direct to consumer markets.

Module Learning Objectives

Marketing #1: Understanding and developing new markets for meat • Understand the range of market opportunities for meat and value-added meat products

  • Learn about consumer tastes and preferences for meats
  • Develop a competitive advantage in marketing your products

Production #1: Breed selection, range/pasture management and animal nutrition for sustainable meat production • Understand how breed influences rates of gain, meat quality and profitability

  • Learn the basics of animal nutrition
  • Understand how forage quality influences meat production and quality
  • Learn about tools to develop a grazing plan

Production #2: Meat quality and safety • Understand carcass quality on the hoof

  • Learn how finishing influences final meat quality
  • Learn about disease prevention and biosecurity

Processing #1: Basics of meat processing • Understand how to identify and work with a processor

  • Understand processing costs
  • List the information a processor needs to deliver the product you will be selling
  • Calculate yield of packaged product

Processing #2: Processing for specific markets • Understand meat cutting requirements for different market channels

  • Learn how to provide specific cutting instructions to meet your customers’ needs

Marketing #2: Pricing and selling to your target markets • Develop pricing strategies for your meat products, by market channel

  • Learn how to educate your customers on meat cuts, handling and preparation
  • Understand state and federal regulations around meat sales

The 6-week course will focus on increasing the awareness and knowledge of livestock producers to help them better understand market conditions around the state and the changing demand for differentiated products in direct-to-consumer markets. Based on this knowledge, the course will teach producers specific production attributes that will help them raise more consistent, high-quality products that will yield cuts desired by different types of buyers (individual consumers, restaurant buyers, retail grocers). The course will also help course participants understand how to work with their meat processors in order to ensure that the animals they deliver to be slaughtered and processed always yield the desired packaged products.

Based on knowledge gained in this class series, producers will make the following changes in decision-making with resulting actions: 1) know how to adjust feeding, grazing and handling of their animals to positively impact meat quality and yield during processing; 2) establish differential pricing for different cuts of meat and meat products, based on their market outlets and their costs of production; and 3) select markets that offer the highest and most consistent return to their business.

This course will emphasize the benefits of land and water management of livestock production, some of which will be entirely grass-based systems. Stewardship of the resource base is essential for continued production of high-quality meat products. In addition, we will focus on the costs and returns of direct to consumer markets for differentiated meat products, and discuss strategies for accessing these markets such as developing processor and buyer relationships.

To evaluate outcomes resulting from course participation, livestock producers will: 1) complete assessments of their knowledge of production, processing, marketing and other business topics, both before and after the course; and 2) characterize community resources, connections and new market opportunities they have identified since beginning the course and that they hope to build upon following completion of the course. These evaluations results will then be used to help us plan the next round of courses in other parts of Colorado, and help other states replicate this model should they wish to.

Outcomes and impacts:

CSU Extension’s first Meat School had 49 total participants, of whom 39 were meat/livestock producers and 10 were ag professionals interested in hosting a similar class for stakeholders in their geographic area. The Meat School was offered online via webinar and in facilitated sessions at three Colorado locations (Routt County, Alamosa and Durango). The online attendees were either ag professionals from out of state or from a region where we were not offering an in-person class, or they were ranchers who preferred to access the educational content online due to their respective distance from an in-person class. Overall the Meat School drew in participants from 7 states (Colorado, Oregon, New York, Minnesota, Montana, Virginia and Maryland), and the District of Columbia. Forty participants were from Colorado, 33 of whom were producers and 7 of whom were Extension staff.

Of the participating meat/livestock producers, 36 completed an intake questionnaire to help us better plan the curriculum and resources to support the course. Of those producers, 61% raised beef cattle, 17% raised swine, 17% raised sheep, 6% raised goats and 6% raised other species such as poultry (these percentages sum to greater than 100% since 9 producers raised multiple livestock species). Thirty-three percent had no meat production at the time of the class. Of those selling meat (and some through multiple channels):

  • 88% were selling directly to consumers
  • 59% were selling directly to other end buyers
  • 12% were selling to wholesale buyers
  • 18% were selling in other channels

When asked what resources they used to evaluate a new market opportunity, most responded that they talked to other producers, or they tried to figure it out on their own. Other pre-course evaluation questions included:

  • If they had a system to track the costs and returns of their livestock business (18% said they did not, 42% said they had a system in place, and 21% said they used this system effectively);
  • If they knew their costs of production (only 18% said they did); and
  • How they developed their meat product pricing (most said they priced their products similarly to the competition’s products, some said they based their prices on their costs of production, and a few said they negotiated their prices with their buyers).

This general lack of data from which to make business decisions motivated CSU Extension to design the class to help producers reduce risk in three specific areas: production (animal nutrition and health); processing (maximizing carcass value and obtaining marketable cuts); and marketing (understanding how to identify and engage customers). The course was developed and conducted as follows:

Module Speakers Learning Objectives

Marketing #1: Identifying and developing new markets for meat (Start with the market in mind)

October 30, 2019 • Dawn Thilmany, Colorado State University Department of Ag and Resource Economics

  • Understand trends in niche meats and the role of certifications
  • Learn about consumer tastes and preferences for meats
  • Conduct and integrate market research into marketing plans
  • Adrienne Larrew, Corner Post Meats • Understand the range of market opportunities for meat and value-added meat products

Production #1: Breed selection, range/pasture management and animal nutrition for sustainable meat production

November 6, 2019 • Beth LaShell, Fort Lewis College • Learn about appropriate breed selection for your resources and markets and the basics of animal nutrition

  • Jim Gerrish, American Grazing Lands Services, LLC • Understand how forage quality influences meat production and quality
  • Learn about tools to develop a grazing plan, given your resource base

Production #2: Meat quality and safety

November 13, 2019

  • Jennifer Marting, Colorado State University Animal Sciences Department • Understand carcass quality on the hoof
  • Learn how finishing practices/methods influences final meat quality
  • Michele Pfannensteil, Dirigo Food Safety • Learn about disease prevention and biosecurity in livestock operations

Processing #1: Basics of meat processing

November 20, 2019 • Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network • Understand how to identify and work with a processor

  • Understand state and federal regulations around meat sales
  • Holly Zink, Sunnyside Meats Colorado Meat Processor • Understand processing costs
  • List the information a processor needs to deliver the product you will be selling
  • Calculate yield of packaged product

Processing #2: Processing for specific markets

December 4, 2019 • Bob Delmore, Colorado State University Animal Sciences Department • Understand meat cutting considerations for different market channels

  • Learn how to provide specific cutting instructions to meet your customers’ needs

Marketing #2: Pricing and selling to your target markets

December 11, 2019 • Shannon Hayes, Grassfed Gourmet • Learn how to educate your customers on meat cuts, handling and preparation

  • Matt LeRoux, Cornell University • Develop pricing strategies for your meat products, by market channel

 

Following six class sessions and 11 separate modules covering the primary areas of risk, producer participants reported the following:

  • 50% increase in understanding consumer tastes and preferences for meat products;
  • 43% increase in understanding the steps that go into conducting and integrating market research into their marketing plans;
  • 50% increase in ability to identify the factors that determine their animals’ meat quality at harvest;
  • 29% increase in understanding how to safely deliver animals to the processor;
  • 50% increase in understanding how to effectively work with a processor;
  • 57% increase in understanding how to clearly communicate types of cuts, labeling, and packaging needs to a processor; and
  • 57% increase in understanding how to price meat products for different market channels.

 

Overall, on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is strongly disagree and 5 is strongly agree, producer participants agreed they gained the following level of understanding on:

Indicator of knowledge gained: Average understanding gained from the course

how to engage customers who buy their meat 4.21

how to maximize the carcass value of their animals for the markets where they sell meat 4.09

how they can influence pasture quality to improve animal nutrition and meat quality 4.08

the process for selecting the species and breed of animal for their operations and markets 3.78

balancing an animal’s nutritional needs with the feedstuff available 3.77

 

This pilot course helped CSU Extension:

  • develop initial content for its online Meat School;
  • build out a website to serve as a reference for meat producers (https://foodsystems.colostate.edu/educational-impacts/meat-supply-chains/);
  • illustrate to other Extension staff and to funders how a dual online and in-person course can be conducted;
  • identify additional courses that can be offered to support producer learning in the spring/summer of 2020; and
  • begin initial planning for a 2021 Rocky Mountain Meat Summit to bring together meat producers and processors with the goal of enhancing communication and business transactions along the meat supply chain.

 

2020 Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference
Objective:

CFVGA provides educational outreach to growers and ag professionals through an annual conference in Denver. Ag professionals will learn the latest related to food safety, worker health, risk management, farm succession, business development and ag tech aspects of fruit and vegetable production. The February 24-25, 2020 conference is anticipated to attract more than 300 growers, ag professionals, produce buyers and input suppliers to Denver. New in 2020, we will a closing plenary session exploring the Risks and Returns of the Colorado Hemp Industry, featuring both public and private sector panelists. Also in 2020, to meet the increasing risks of an unpredictable labor supply, this conference will feature 5 different breakout session for labor supply and management for large and small growers. Continuing from the 2019, this conference will also feature Specialty Crops Block Grant recipient reports, allowing participants to learn from the outcomes of this grant program. See more at https://cfvga.org

List partners and/or collaborators:
CSU Extension, CSU Ag Experiment Station, CSU College of Ag Sciences, FFA, Colorado Dept of Ag, Western Growers Association, LiveWell Colorado, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Food Bank of the Rockies, Rocky Ford Growers Association, Colorado Onion Growers, Colorado Potato Admin Committee

Description:

The target audience? Specifically, identify the group or groups that will be targeted for participation in your project.

Commercial fruit and vegetable growers are the primary audience

Ag professionals are the secondary audience

How will you promote the event to insure reaching this audience?

Email listservs from CFVGA, agencies, producer groups, etc.Flyers, Website https://cfvga.org

 

Describe briefly what you’re going to do, such as hold an educational event, produce educational materials, etc.We will offer a two day educational conference with networking and breakout sessions.

  • Ag producers and professionals will increase knowledge regarding the challenges and opportunities facing the fruit and vegetable industry in Colorado.
  • Ag producers and professionals will show intention to implement or create programs for growers to implement best practices for food safety, labor, production and business development.
  • Ag producers will increase farm resiliency and realize business goals through improved access to appropriate resources and best practices.

Paper evaluation at the conference to all attendees.

Outcomes and impacts:

Learning and action outcomes and impacts are not yet available.

 

Bee Curious-Introductory Course for Beekeepers
Objective:

This 2-day course is designed for new and novice beekeepers. In this class participants will learn how to prepare and manage bee colonies in order to help insure the health and sustainability of pollinators.

List partners and/or collaborators: CSU Extension and Pueblo County Beekeepers Association

Description:

In this inaugural year we will be targeting beginning and novice beekeepers. Included in this group are current backyard beekeepers who are relatively new and have a desire to learn more as well as those that have not raised bees in the past but would like to.

An aggressive social media advertising campaign has been designed to reach an audience that includes gardeners and those interested in pollinator issues. Print media will also be utilized including flyers in home and garden stores. Finally, the word will be spread to regional Bee Clubs to expand the audience to their friends, neighbors and contacts that may have expressed an interest in beekeeping.

A 2-day course covering topics in which an aspiring beekeeper would need to know to be successful and sustainable has been designed. Local, experienced beekeepers as well as Extension professionals will be leading these classes. A course book for participants will be designed and printed to provide participants with reference material to review as they need. By having both the classroom and book the desire is that the information presented will be remembered and utilized as attendees begin or continue in their beekeeping endeavor.

The expectation is that participants in this course will leave with the knowledge and resources to become successful beekeepers. They will be more aware of management practices and health issues that currently affect the sustainability of bees. As we create more awareness and successful beekeepers we hope to also increase the population of pollinators in the area.

Our desire is to show that with the proper knowledge and management, bees can be successfully kept by those willing to put forth the effort. The hope is that those with intentions of raising bees would become more aware of what is required and make more educated decisions when it comes to managing their hives.

Pollinator’s and the honey bee in particular have been a hot topic the last several years. The struggle to maintain the population and importance in food production has been well documented. This has led to many people having a desire to do their part and not only keep bees but to also improve their practices in order to provide better habitat and better health of bees. The education and mentoring that will take place as a result of this school will help to insure the future sustainability of pollinator’s in the area. Those in attendance will learn from local beekeepers and experts about management and health of bees therefor better equipping them to begin or continue in their beekeeping aspirations.

Surveys will be administered at the conclusion of the class to assess the knowledge gained and intentions of use of this knowledge by participants. By utilizing a digitally based survey system we hope to be able to track knowledge and intentions with demographic data in order to assist instructor’s in targeting future educational needs and marketing.

Outcomes and impacts:

Learning and action outcomes and impacts are not yet available.

Travel Scholarship to attend Organic Seed Growers Conference
Objective:

This will be my 3rd time to attend this conference. Extension Agent hopes to continue to learn creative ways to teach on this subject and to support regional seed efforts. The thing that has always stood out about this conference are the examples of effective collaborations between University Plant breeders, Extension professionals, farmers, local seed companies, chefs, consumers.

Description:

Agent have been teaching Seed Saving Classes for the past 4 years in our region (Norwood, Ridgway, and Montrose (More than a dozen). The plan is to continue. Some of these classes are in support of regional seed libraries (Norwood, Ridgway and now maybe Telluride).

  • Agent will collaborate with a fellow seed saving teacher (we attended a teacher training together several years ago) and a local small produce/seed farmer and seed company (High Desert Seed) to offer classes in support of regional seed libraries.
  • With High Desert Seed, and Agent hopes to do an advanced class for farmers in Montrose area.
  • Agent is starting Grower Meetings in the area and will share on regional seed systems, seed saving, small farm breeding, etc. at least one of those meetings this year. I think farming seeds is something that has potential in our area.
Outcomes and impacts:

Learning and action outcomes and impacts are not yet available.

Travel Scholarship: Natural Resources Extension Professionals (ANREP) national conference, May 3-6, 2020.
Objective:

This will be the second ANREP national meeting I’ve attended. Since our state doesn’t have an ANREP chapter, the only contact I have with other members is through email and webinars. I think one of the primary benefits will be to meet with and create relationship with other members. Another think I hope to find are tools, trainings, exercises, programs, etc. that other ANREP members are using effectively to work with natural resources. Finally, climate issues are becoming something we are beginning to discuss at CSUE and there are several ANREP members who host monthly climate webinars and I would like to discuss with them how CSUE might benefit from their connections and the work they’ve already done. I currently am on two national ANREP committees so it will be beneficial to meet in person with the committees and identify strategies moving forward.

Description:
  1. When you return home, with whom will you share the learned information? (Who is your target audience?)

Since I’m still active with the Natural Resources Program Reporting Unit (PRU), I will certainly bring it back to this group for future planning.  Also, I’ve worked extensively with other natural resources agencies in Teller County and the surrounding region including the Colorado State Forest Service, NRCS, Coalition for the Upper South Platte, and the US Forest Service to create programs for land, water, noxious weed control, and fire mitigation.  The information from the conference will certainly benefit this group as well.  Finally, I’m working with several Departments on CSU campus regarding Natural Resources, including CNHP, CSFS, CEMML, SoGES, and Warner College of Natural Resources. The information from the conference could really assist these partnerships.

  1. Do you have a specific activity in mind, such as meetings, demonstrations, work sessions with specific producers or other programming that you plan to organize in this subject area?

I will share with the NR PRU and to the larger PRU at Forum. I’ve also been working with a five-state team on climate change and will bring back pertinent information for that group. I am also working with a horticulture PRU team on developing a Pollinator App based on the Colorado Woody Plant App I chaired and launched in 2019.  Dean Hayes in the Warner College of Natural Resources has invited our NR PRU to continue working with them on programs and projects and this would be an opportunity to share new ideas and possibilities. These meetings are more than just gatherings to discuss policy, we are adamant about establishing deliverables to the users, including Ag, Natural Resources, and small acreage managers. 

I will also be presenting at the national meeting on the development of phone Apps such as the Colorado Woody Plant App and the Emerald Ash Borer App that I chaired. 

  1. Do you have plans to incorporate this topic or subject area into existing programming or projects? If so, please briefly describe:

Yes, the information will be incorporated into the Natural Resources PRU at our annual Forum and will be blended into the climate change group as well. Also, my county advisory committee identified defensible space and school-wide understanding of forest health as part of what they would like me to focus on over the next several years.  I’m hoping to find programs that other states have incorporated into their school systems that I can adapt for us in Teller.

  1. Do you have an estimate of how many people you might reach with knowledge you gain from receiving this scholarship? If so, please share that estimate:

This is hard to tell but at the very least, 75-100 other agents and professionals and I would anticipate several hundred Ag and NR clients. If I can get something into the schools, there could be several thousand youth affected by the information and programs I develop for our community.

Outcomes and impacts:

More resources for Climate Smart Ag and Natural Resources.  Meet with several Extension agents from around the country who are doing climate work which should help us at CSUE.  Also met with the Western ANREP region and decided to host a PIC on opposite years of the ANREP biannual national meetings. I hope to find out what others are doing within schools to educate on defensible space and healthy forest initiatives that I can incorporate within our schools and possibly share with others across CO Extension.

 

Colorado Section of the Society for Rangeland Management (CSSRM)
Objective:

The project will be focused on a two-day November conference hosted by the Colorado Section of the Society for Rangeland Management (CSSRM) developed to present sustainable management principles & long-term ranch management to both local and state government, NGOs, agency personnel, and ranchers.
Presenters will be a balanced mix of active producers and researchers/agencies.

List partners and/or collaborators:
Annie Overlin – Regional Extension Specialist (Range) – Peaks and Plains Region
Emmett Jordan – Rancher Greeley, CO
Josh Tashiro – NRCS Canon City, CO
Kandee Nourse - District Manager, West Greeley Conservation District
Ray Tschillard - Executive Director, Poudre Learning Center
Matt Pollart - Regional Manager, Colorado State Land Board
Tip Hudson – Associate Professor, Rangeland & Livestock Management, Washington State University
David Augustine – USDA ARS Fort Collins, CO
Justin Derner – USDA ARS, Cheyenne, WY
Don Hijar – Pawnee Butte Seed Inc. Greeley, CO
Clare Hydock – USFS Delta, CO
Josh Saunders – NRCS Ft. Morgan, CO
Ben Berlinger – NRCS Rocky Ford, CO
Dan Nosal – NRCS Franktown, CO
Kim Diller – NRCS Pueblo, CO
Lana Pearson – NRCS Rocky Ford, CO
Baili Foster – NRCS Steamboat Springs, CO

Description:
  • Who is the target audience? Specifically, identify the group or groups that will be targeted for participation in your project.

1) Ranchers

2) Land managers (both public & private)

3) NRCS employees

4) Forest Service employees

5) BLM employees

6) CSU Extension employees

7) Soil Conservation District employees

8) Colorado Section of Society for Range Management members

9) CSU Range students

10) Open Space managers

We hope to have between 100 & 150 people in attendance.

  • How will you promote the event to insure reaching this audience?

The CSSRM will distribute conference information in a variety of newsletters, social media, and email list serves that committee members have access to. The section will also look for promotional assistance through partners such as the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s monthly statewide newsletter.

Additionally, the section will provide an electronic flyer via the CSSRM list serve. In addition to these methods, Barn Media may be willing to provide an announcement on their website and we might be able to get it onto their radio broadcast around the state.

  • Describe briefly what you’re going to do, such as hold an educational event, produce educational materials, etc.

An educational conference will be hosted to discuss topics such as animal health, land health, grazing management, family communication, ranching enterprise diversity, and other critical issues and topics facing ranchers and land managers today. The key focus of this year’s conference will be breaking down communication barriers on the range and encouraging conversation on tough social topics. This will encourage all stakeholders to focus on collaborative land management for the betterment of our resources. Presenters will be a mix of communication experts in the field of natural resources and specialists throughout the field of range. Additional topics will include a tour of the Poudre Learning Center short grass prairie restoration, agricultural leasing opportunities, a young professional focused session, native seeding for reclamation with Don Hijar, interviews with Maria Fernandez-Giminez (CSU) and Nick Trainor (Trainor Cattle Co), and presentations on the Rangeland Assessment Platform presentation and the CARM Grazing Calculator.

  • What changes in awareness, knowledge or attitudes are expected to occur as a result of the target audience participating in the project? 

1) The audience will become familiar with restoration practices available to practitioners on the short grass prairie.

2) The audience should gain knowledge in animal health, range science, & animal

behavior principles which can help improve productivity and keep a ranching operation both sustainable and environmentally sound.

3) The audience should increase their awareness in social relationships and build a stronger knowledge base in how communications can impact the ranching operation. This information should be valuable both within the family and for interconnected relationships working towards improving and building upon current range practices.

4) The audience will become familiar with new tools available to them to improve range-related practices.

  • What changes in decision-making, intentions or action do you hope will take place among the target audience?

1) It is hoped that as a result of this conference the audience members will be better equipped to engage in communication with family members and partnering entities in their ranching operation. We also hope that they will seek to understand differences and find common ground when communicating.

2) As a result of attending this conference the audience should better understand animal health and range management principles that can allow them to make smart decisions for animal/land interaction.

3) As a result of attending this conference, it is hoped that the audience will be more informed on best available science and tools to understand grazing threshold and rangeland health.

4) It is hoped that audience members will utilize knowledge gained from this conference to apply some principles of short grass prairie restoration in their land management techniques and utilize native seeds in restoration efforts.

  • What is the intended benefit from these changes (e.g. improved stewardship, economics, market access)?

1) Better stewardship of both the land & the livestock.

2) Greater potential for profitability and/or efficiencies through use of new tolls in rangeland management.

3) A foundation for starting conversations with people from different backgrounds and differing opinions to better create relationships to benefit rangeland management

  • Evaluation plan – How will you determine if your educational outcomes have been achieved? 

Audience members will be asked to evaluate the program at the end of each of the three days. This way we do not miss feedback from participants who only attended one or two days of the conference. The program evaluation will be conducted either in a paper form or else using clicker technology.

Outcomes and impacts:

Learning and action outcomes and impacts are not yet available.

Educational & Outreach Activities

65 Consultations
4 Minigrants
2 On-farm demonstrations
1 Study circle/focus groups
15 Tours
7 Webinars / talks / presentations
12 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

55 Extension
45 NRCS
40 Researchers
44 Nonprofit
34 Agency
325 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

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

Project Outcomes

3 Grants received that built upon this project
10 New working collaborations
30 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

Face of SARE

Face of SARE:

Colorado Sustainable agriculture, research and education values diversity and diverse farming/ranching systems that incorporate a variety of basic concepts around culture, plants, animals, water, and our soils. Such diversity leads to greater resiliency in the face of drought, diseases, pests, and economic issues. SARE provides principles to maintain the health of the planet, and sustain livelihoods of local communities. Outreach and promotion of our programs are accomplished through:

  • one on one contacts,
  • face to face programming,
  • web pages
  • government agencies,
  • non governmental organizations,
  • university systems,
  • Extension,
  • and associations.
210 Farmers received information about SARE grant programs and information resources
65 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.