- Agronomic: corn, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Animals: poultry
- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: free-range, grazing management, manure management, pasture fertility, grazing - rotational, feed/forage
- Education and Training: extension, workshop
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, marketing management, value added, whole farm planning
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, organic agriculture, integrated crop and livestock systems
Agricultural professionals are often trained in specialized sub-disciplines of agriculture such as agronomy, business management, animal health and management, or environmental resource management. Because of this specialization, agricultural professionals often make recommendations about one part of a farm system without full knowledge or full consideration of how that recommendation may affect other parts of the system. For example, heavy potassium fertilization of silage or forage crops can lead to a nutritional imbalance in the feed for dairy cows. In the “Reading the Farm” project, twenty agricultural professionals with diverse areas of expertise will participate in a 3-day workshop in the summer of 2010 that focuses on how interactions between components of the farm system influence farm sustainability. In the workshop, participants will conduct an integrated assessment of two dairy farms led by a team of specialists. Through the farm assessment process and discussions among the farm families and participants, the workshop participants will increase their knowledge of how the components of a farm system interact. During and following the workshop, participants will engage with project leaders to develop content for educational materials on interactions within the whole-farm system that include case studies, a website, and power point presentations. As a result of the project: 15 agricultural professionals from Cooperative Extension, government agencies, and non-profit organizations will deliver educational programming on how interactions between components of a farm system affect farm sustainability to 200 other agricultural professionals, who in turn, will deliver this information to their clientele.
Performance targets from proposal:
15 agricultural professionals from Cooperative Extension, government agencies, and non-profit organizations will deliver educational programming on how interactions between components of a farm system affect farm sustainability to 15 other agricultural professionals, and at least 400 of their clientele will receive this information.