The Systems 360° Initiative: Curriculum development and delivery of land management educational tools for Alabama cattle producers

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2016: $74,298.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Auburn University
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Kim Mullenix
Auburn University/Alabama Cooperative Ex

Information Products

Alabama Beef Herd Planning Calendar (Decision-making Tool)
Systems 360 Discussion Group Curriculum - Water (Conference/Presentation Material)
Systems 360 Discussion Group Curriculum - Climate (Conference/Presentation Material)
Systems 360 Discussion Group Curriculum - Economics (Conference/Presentation Material)
Systems 360 Discussion Group Curriculum - Management (Conference/Presentation Material)


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. annual), grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: meat


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing management, grazing - rotational, pasture renovation, pasture fertility, stockpiled forages, watering systems, winter forage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, business planning, risk management, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities

    Proposal abstract:

    Agriculture represents Alabama's largest economic sector, generating more than $70 billion annually. Alabama released a statewide strategic plan for agriculture in 2015 that set a goal to increase agriculture's impact on the local economy by 10 percent by 2020. In order to meet this goal, the beef cattle industry will need to increase cattle numbers by 20 percent. The Beef Cattle Breakout of the Strategic Plan indicates that this goal must be met through enhancing end user focus on sustainable production practices. As the state population increases and competition for land intensifies, improved agricultural land use efficiency and science-based training for new and beginning farmers are a critical step to enhance the long-term productivity of livestock systems within the state.

    Educational programming that highlights region-specific management strategies that can be shared among local, state, and federal partners to improve production, profitability, and environmental health is needed. There is a lack of consistent land management educational material for the eco-regions of Alabama being delivered to new and beginning farmers from agencies including Extension educators, state and non-profit organizations.

    The Systems 360° Initiative will develop interagency curriculum such as webinars, e-publications, and slide sets for cattle producers. The technology transfer system for these resources will be managed using a train-the-trainer approach, followed by their use as supporting material in hands-on, statewide beef cattle programming led by educators and technical assistance providers.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Create decision tools (webinar series, management handbook, and PowerPoint templates)

    Provide in-classroom training and hands-on demonstrations to educators on the tools and related concepts to minimize environmental and economic risk in beef cattle production systems.

    These tools will address soil, forage, water, climate and economic considerations in different eco-regions of the state.

    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.