Building Knowledge of Sustainable Rangeland Management Using Information Technology - Northern Great Plains Partnership

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $16,719.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Roger Gates
SDSU Extension

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: grazing - continuous, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational
  • Education and Training: extension, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance
  • Pest Management: prevention

    Proposal abstract:

    The Western Rangeland Partners is a unique collaboration among rangeland professionals, primarily state Rangeland Extension Specialists, and librarians and other information specialists. This collaboration had led to the development of a regional web site, “Rangeland West”, which has become a model effort in providing current, reliable, science-based information in an agricultural discipline. It is arguably the best developed site among those in the comprising the AgNIC ) Agricultural Network Information Center) effort. In March 2004, the West Region SARE program announced funding to support a Professional Development Program proposal that will support continuing collaboration and development of Rangelands West, but will also incorporate training of Extension Specialists and county-based advisors. Web site development, for both the regional site and state pages will include an intentional effort to include and highlight sustainable rangeland management information. This proposal seeks to extend the effort of the 13 Western states to the 4 Northern Great Plains states of Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota through a funding request for similar support from the North Central Region SARE PDP program. Three workshops will be conducted. The first workshop will focus on training rangeland Extension specialists in “Web-Skills” to design viable Web sites and post information relevant to sustainable rangeland management. The second workshop will focus on “Information-Outreach” targeted at county-based Extension advisors, USDA personnel, and rangeland practitioners, improve participant’s knowledge of sustainable rangeland management practices and improving skills in using online resources to locate quality information. A summary workshop of all Western Rangeland Partners will involve: 1) revising Web modules related to sustainable rangeland management 2) incorporating ideas and suggestions from the participants of the information-outreach workshop 3) developing a strategy for promoting the Rangelands West website, connecting to appropriate Web sits and sustainable rangeland management efforts. States currently without the Rangeland West website will create one; all states will develop a content module pertaining to sustainable rangeland practices, and will place it on their state’s Rangeland West website. In addition, the project website will build an overarching structure for sustainable rangelands content, with introductory text and navigational pages leading to the content developed by each state. Finally, metadata for this new content will be entered into the Rangelands West website database, making it accessible to users of the national AgNIC site via a web services connection. Rangeland specialists, advisors, and practitioners who participate in the project will gain skills necessary to access, evaluate, and create web-based information.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    By the end of the web-skills workshop, 100% of the participants will demonstrate a general understanding of how to effectively package content (both original and references to already-existing materials) for websites (i.e. preparing original content that is intended to be read online, preparing content that is intended to be downloaded and read offline and preparing useful annotations for linked sites).

    100% of the participants in the information-outreach workshop will have greater awareness of the concerts and principles of sustainable rangeland management practices by the end of the workshop. They will also become familiar with the content of the Rangelands West web site and other reliable Web sources of information about rangeland ecology and management. 100% of the participants will demonstrate understanding of how to search for and evaluate web information to answer questions from their constituents, and 75% will be able to create a simple web page to post relevant information on the web. Interactions and evaluations during this workshop will inform the Western Rangeland Partners about the current value of the Rangelands West web site and additional resources necessary to meet the needs of information end-users. Participation will include 2-4 rangeland advisors and practitioners from each of the participating states.

    By the end of the project 100% of the Western Rangeland Partners in the SARE Western Region will have created or enhanced their state web site and created a module on their assigned topic of sustainable rangeland management for the Rangelands West Web site.

    Project leaders will add necessary content and weave state modules into a comprehensive searchable web site of information on sustainable rangeland management. This information will include, for example, resources on grazing practices, weed control, vegetation manipulation, water quality management, prescribed fire, and economic enterprise assessment. Information on the web site will include: 1) published research related to the ecological, economic, and social sustainability of rangeland resources and uses (primary ranching) 2) outgoing examples of viable and sustainable rangeland practices (case studies) and 3) management guidelines, practices, and programs to accomplish sustainable uses.

    The cumulative result of the proposed project will be a web resource for high quality information about rangeland ecology and management created by Extension specialists at Western Land Grant Universities, accessible to anyone in the world who seeks rangelanfd information on the web.

    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.