Training for the Pasture Land Management Research Extension – Education Program

2001 Annual Report for ES01-059

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $49,981.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $36,733.00
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
John Galbraith
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Training for the Pasture Land Management Research Extension – Education Program

Summary

A core group of trainers including VA and WV extension agents and NRCS staff were trained in November 2001 to serve as local Pasture Land Management System (PLMS) trainers to reach end-users and provide a feedback loop to the development team. PLMS users had the opportunity to preview and compare alternative grazing systems and operations. The software proved user friendly and technically accurate, although feedback from the group provided valuable suggestions for improvement. The PLMS web site was demonstrated as an easy method of feedback from users in the future. A session for NC participants is scheduled in January 2002.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  1. Train extension agents and NRCS staff in use of PLMS so they can become trainers themselves.

    Provide examples of successful rotational grazing systems to trainers and producers.

    Educate producers on the comparative advantages of rotational grazing and virtual farm planning.

    Establish and enhance the PLMS web site to serve as hub for user questions and feedback.

    Improve user understanding of the environmental and economic impacts of grassland production.

    Improve information and technology transfer to beef and dairy producers in VA, WV, and NC.

    Conduct software evaluation as an avenue to improvement and user acceptance.

Accomplishments/Milestones

  • Progress: Recruit Trainers & Develop/update Training Program, Form Cooperator & Trainer Advisory Board, Host Two Training Sessions, Evaluation of Training and Program Feedback, Trainer Evaluation, Maintain Online Resources, Surveying of Trainees, Coordinated Training with Extension and NRCS, and roject Report Prepared w/Survey Data.

    Complete: Develop Online Resources, Post Software and Training Materials on Web, Prepare Evaluations and Survey, and Collect Case Study Data and Develop Scenarios.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Beef and dairy producers in the Southern Region will benefit from this training activity because of the increased potential use of the decision support system software. The strategy to “train the trainers” has proven to be an efficient way to spread the word about PLMS and to encourage its use. The trainers were made to feel a part of the development team and process, and there was instant buy-in to the program. The enthusiasm shown by the trainers should carry over to the users, who will benefit from the opportunity to preview and compare alternative systems and operation alternatives without outlaying any capital. Hopefully, the advantages of rotational grazing will be evident enough that its use will increase in the region.

Collaborators:

James Green, Jr

Professor
North Carolina State University
Jim Cropper

PA Agronomist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Glenn Johnson

VA State Agronomist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Nick Stone

Professor
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Ed Rayburn

Extension Forage Specialist
West Virginia University
David Faulkner

VA State Resource Economist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Ray Smith, Jr.

raysmith@vt.edu
Associate Professor
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
425-B Smyth Hall (0403)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Office Phone: 5402319590
Gordon Groover

Instructor
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University