Increasing the Capacity of Agency Staff and Agricultural Professionals to Increase Farmer Adoption of Cover Crops in Wisconsin

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2015: $74,602.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2018
Grant Recipient: Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Dr. James Stute
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: annual ryegrass, barley, buckwheat, clovers, corn, peas (field, cowpeas), radish (oilseed, daikon, forage), rapeseed, rye, sorghum sudangrass, soybeans, triticale, wheat, Corn silage
  • Animal Products: Dairy manure


  • Animal Production: manure management
  • Crop Production: cover crops, cropping systems
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, workshop
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Soil Management: green manures, nutrient mineralization

    Proposal abstract:

    Project summary This project will increase the knowledge and capacity of agency staff and agricultural professionals including Technical Service Providers to help them increase farmer adoption of cover crops in the various regions of Wisconsin. Cover crops need to be demonstrated at a local level to encourage adoption since successful use is highly dependent on local soils and weather. We will host a series of professional development outdoor learning events at cover crop demonstration sites around the state to teach best management practices.  Agency staff and professionals will use the information that they learn at these outdoor learning events with their farmer clientele to increase farmer’s successful use of cover crops. Our goal is to increase the farmer’s initial success with cover crops in hopes of long-term adoption.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The Co-PI’s will work with Extension educators and host farmers to identify local agency staff and agriculture professionals that should receive invitations to the regional outdoor learning events. Personalized invitations will be emailed and mailed to the targeted audience. By personally inviting local agriculture professionals, this project looks to improve upon or begin cooperative efforts amongst agency staff in the regional PD training area.


    The PD events will be delivered to achieve these short-term outcomes with approximately 400 agency staff and agriculture professionals as the targeted audience.



      1. Heightened awareness, knowledge and skills about cover crop management.


      1. Heightened awareness, knowledge and skills about the benefits of cover crops (to crop, soil and water).


      1. Identify and define issues regarding best management practices (BMPs) for cover crops.


      1. Create localized networks of agency staff and ag professionals working together to increase farmer adoption of cover crops 



    These short-term outcomes will be measured immediately after the field days by using pre and post written evaluations. Local Extension staff will be tasked with helping to continue fostering local groups of agency staff and professionals after the PD learning events.


    Intermediate outcomes of the targeted audience anticipated as a result of attending the PD trainings include:



      1. Agriculture Professionals will apply knowledge gained by educating farmers on cover crops through recommendations and educational programs.


      1. Farmers will increase planting of cover crops:
          1. After winter wheat

          1. After corn silage

          1. After soybeans

          1. After corn for grain



    These intermediate outcomes will be measured at the end of this project in year 3 through the use of written evaluations and focus groups.





    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.