- Education and Training: general education and training
A training program will be conducted teach extension educators and other professional agriculture educators in the Northeast to use a proven educational design called Tactical Agriculture (TAg). While most extension educators conduct in-field workshops to disseminate current information and strategies relative to integrated crop management (ICM) and integrated pest management (IPM) to producers, programs are generally not set to maximize advantages of sound educational design for adult learners. The TAg program is an experiential, hands-on season-long training program for small groups of producers in local areas. The TAg program has been used successfully in New York to teach producers to better manage field crops, protect the environment, reduce health risks, and enhance long-term farm viability by implementing specific targeted IPM and ICM practices. Producers are actively integrated into the growing-season-long educational program in which data is collected from their fields. On-farm meetings are timed to discuss critical pest and crop management issues that arise during the growing season. Impacts of the program are measured by pre- and post-testing of subject matter and an exit survey to determine the percentage of adoption of IPM and ICM practices taught to producers. We plan to conduct a 2-day workshop to teach educators in the Northeast to design, plan, implement, and evaluate a TAg program. The following topics will be addressed at the workshop: 1. What is TAg; 2. Effective Small Group Teaching Dynamics; 3. Introduction the Use of and Designing Teaching Modules; 4. Effective teaching aids and handouts to use the field; 5. Evaluation and Impacts of a TAg program; 6. How to use impact information in your county, region or state; 7. Establishment of a shared website for TAg educators on development of their TAg program. Of the 40 educators targeted for the training, 10 will implement one TAg program in their county or region in the year following the training workshop.
Performance targets from proposal:
Forty educators will be identified as potential beneficiaries of a workshop designed to train educators to use an innovative IPM educational program. Of these 40 targeted educators, 20 will participate in the workshop. From this group, 10 extension educators will successfully design and administer at least one TAg program during the year after the completion of the training workshop. As a result, 40 to 80 producers will be reached with the TAg program during the year following the training workshop.
We will design a program to train Extension Educators and other professional agriculture educators in the Northeast US to design and implement Tactical Agriculture, or TAg, programs in their county, region or state. This project involves identifying educators who seek innovative educational opportunities for IPM programming. Recruitment of these individuals will begin with communications with state IPM coordinators across the Northeast. Experts in adult agricultural education will be identified as instructors, and they will work directly with members of NYS IPM who use the innovative TAg program to design a curriculum for training educators to use a TAg program. Workshop participants who implement a TAg program will report back to the workshop trainers to indicate the usefulness of the program in their setting, improvements needed, and behavior changes that take place with targeted producers.