Advanced Training in Sustainable Production Systems in the Northern Great Plains

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2003: $63,556.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Roger Gates
SDSU Extension

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, mentoring, networking, study circle
  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives
  • Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting
  • Sustainable Communities: social networks, sustainability measures


    Four trainings were held over three years at various locations in the target area for this project. The first training was held in Bismarck, ND and focused on introducing the Integrated Resource Management (IRM) approach to Community Based Ag educators for solving producer issues. Training was provided on farm and ranch management, range, livestock, and complex systems. The Balance Scorecard was introduced and IRM teams were organized and a Specialist was assigned to each team.

    The teams’ first assignment was to find a cooperating producer to work with management issues.

    The second and third trainings (2005 & 2006) focused in-depth about systems responses to management changes and were led by educators, and included hands-on use of the Balanced Scorecard.

    The final training held in December 2006 was an opportunity for each team to present their producer’s management plan and gain feedback from other IRM teams. The Balanced Scorecard, which was published in September 2006 was made available to all educators in the IRM process.

    Project objectives:

    ·Producers increased use of community based agricultural advisors (CBAA), management tools, and information in decision-making
    ·Producers helped train teams to analyze complex systems
    ·CBAA improved their awareness, understanding of key factors in sustainability
    ·CBAA developed strategic plans to incorporate production system knowledge into programs
    ·CBAA developed working relationships with other CBAA in ND and SD
    ·CBAA better understand adult ed, information dissemination
    ·CBAA enhanced presentation skills

    ·Producers improved decision-making capabilities
    ·CBAA gained knowledge/confidence to teach components and interrelationships of ranching systems
    ·CBAA developed network of coaches
    ·CBAA have begun using teach/coach/mentor in programming and teaching efforts
    ·CBAA developed regional integrative teams to work with producers to improve sustainability of ranching

    ·Sustainability of operations immediately impacted by project teams was enhanced
    ·Producers trusted CBAA and used their assistance to solve production problems
    ·Producers used CBAA as coaches in analyzing complex systems, identifying key leverage points
    ·CBAA experienced greater job satisfaction, improving longevity in their positions

    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.