Building Extension Capacity in the North Central Region to Address Agricultural Energy Use

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2009: $74,919.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Patrick Walsh
Scott Sanford
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: canola, corn, potatoes, soybeans, sugarbeets, wheat, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine, swine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Education and Training: extension, workshop
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, energy use
  • Production Systems: holistic management

    Proposal abstract:

    Agricultural producers in the North Central region spend an estimated $7 billion per year for energy. Rising energy costs are motivating agricultural producers to seek options for reducing energy consumption. Increased efficiency of energy use will contribute to long-term business viability with close to a $1 billion annual savings possible from adopting existing best practices and off the shelf technology. To make sound energy decisions, producers will require access to science-based information and financial resources. Our short term outcomes are to assemble the best existing science-based resources on agricultural energy issues and engage a group of agricultural educators (see Target Audience) from around the North Central Region in the application of these resources. Our intermediate outcomes are to engage agricultural educators in teaching of energy principles to farmers and to build farmer’s ability to make sound decisions by utilizing these resources. The proposed project will develop capacity by sharing expertise across the North Central Region. Project components will include: (1) assembly and sharing of our best farm energy conservation and efficiency educational materials (2) building capacity within the ranks of Extension and other agricultural educators for the inclusion of energy concepts in educational programs for agricultural producers (3) archiving these resources and supporting training within eXtension for future educator use and (4) evaluating educator and producer attitudes, knowledge and behavior changes. This 12 North Central States collaborative effort will rely on distance learning technologies for its delivery.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Extension educators in the NCR will have a collection of the region’s best energy conservation educational materials in the five practice areas available for local programming, with webinars in each area extending in-depth knowledge. The resources and training will lead to at least 50 local energy conservation programs conducted throughout the region.


    Short Term:
    (1) Extension faculty will assemble existing expertise and curricula on agricultural energy use and efficiency issues for sharing with educators in the North Central Region.
    (2) North Central Region Extension Educators will be knowledgeable of agricultural energy use and best practices (energy conservation technologies and management practices).

    Intermediate Term:
    (1) Trained Extension Educators will teach agricultural producers utilizing principles of agricultural energy use and best practices
    (2) Agricultural producers will increase their awareness and literacy of agricultural energy use and best practices.

    Long Term: (will not be measured during the proposed two year project)
    (1) Agricultural producers will implement farm energy best practices thus reducing energy use per unit of agricultural production will occur.

    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.