Train the Trainer: a holistic approach to Integrated Resource Management and Grassland Revitalization

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2004: $93,908.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Southern
State: Mississippi
Principal Investigator:
Charles Flowers
Mississippi State University Extension Service
Jane Parish
Mississippi State University Extension Service

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: cotton, peanuts, potatoes, rice, soybeans, sugarcane, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, feed formulation, feed rations, mineral supplements, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, range improvement, grazing - rotational, housing, stockpiled forages, vaccines, watering systems, winter forage
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, networking
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, cooperatives, marketing management, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, risk management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, riparian buffers, riverbank protection, soil stabilization, wildlife
  • Production Systems: holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: social networks, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    There is currently an unprecedented opportunity to initiate a train the trainer program that could have a significant impact on beef producers in the state of Mississippi. There is a unanimous desire to develop local sustainable beef teams consisting of producers, Extension Service Livestock/ Forage Area Agents, County Agents, Natural Resource Conservation Service Conservationists, local practicing veterinarians and local bankers. The expressed desire of the producers and potential team members is to increase their knowledge base regarding sustainable beef production and resource management in a holistic approach. The local sustainable beef teams would function in an ongoing advisory capacity emphasizing optimization of production, marketing, financial management, and environmental stewardship, while also enhancing wildlife habitat. The beef industry in the United States is in a unique transition that is encouraging producer accountability for safe, quality beef for the consumer. Profitability is and always has been a major challenge for beef producers, and with the current accountability trend, there will be profitability opportunities for producers who understand and participate in new marketing options. To remain sustainable in beef production in the near future, it will also be essential for producers to embrace a holistic approach to production and expense management while also maintaining and enhancing our environmental resources. The requesting trainers and producers recognize the need for working together to improve sustainability. This is truly a teachable moment!

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Behavior- Based Objectives

    A diversified, multi-disciplinary team of initial trainers will be trained in holistic beef production methodology. Once the initial trainers understand the economic, environmental, and social merits of holistic beef production methodology, the trainers will assist in the development of the program. The trainers will also actively participate in establishing local community-based Sustainable Beef Teams in their area of the state. The Sustainable Beef Teams will present and teach the holistic approach to beef producers in their local communities on an ongoing basis. The impact of this approach is to develop a program designed by a multi-disciplinary team that will demonstrate to Mississippi beef cattle producers the sustainability of holistic beef production methodology.

    Initial 84 trainers will include: 24 Beef Producers, 12 Area Livestock/Forage Extension Service Agents, 12 County Extension Service Agents, 12 Natural Resource Conservation Service District Directors, 12 Practicing Veterinarians and 12 Bank Loan Officers.

    Objectives/ Desired Outcomes and Behaviors:

    1. Train trainers by conducting training seminars, workshops and farm demonstration field days. Trainers establish and actively participate in local community-based Sustainable Beef Teams
    2. Develop holistic, sustainable beef production reference libraries. Reference library materials are to be selected by and adopted by trainers. Initially, reference libraries will serve as resource material to train trainers. Libraries will also be available for future producer use.
    3. Train trainers in establishment and facilitation of Producer Marketing Groups. Utilize Case Analysis educational activities.

    Affect producer attitudes by increasing awareness and understanding of the economic, environmental, and social benefits of holistic, sustainable beef production. Create interest in implementation of holistic, sustainable beef production practices. Develop a statewide, multidisciplinary program that provides educational tools and opportunities for: 1.) maximizing profitability by utilizing targeted marketing opportunities, value-added options, and risk management; optimizing investment in depreciable assets; controlling expenses; and balancing production parameters, 2.) improving impact on ground water quality and wildlife habitat by reducing overgrazing through utilizing improved grazing systems and creation of buffer and riparian zones, and 3.) considering income opportunities from wildlife.

    Enhance economic impact of beef production in the local community by influencing improved profitability and sustainability of beef cattle operations, local agribusinesses and service enterprises, as well as general community businesses. Enhance rural community land, water and wildlife resources through the use of environmentally responsible beef production practices. Establish relationships among program participants and associated organizations resulting in continued feedback and ongoing development of sustainable, holistic beef production educational efforts beyond the time frame of this proposal.

    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.